January 30, 2014
Customer testimonials can help your local business rank in search engine results.
In Part 1 of this series on customer testimonials, we looked at how you can go about getting great reviews from your customers. We all know that getting customer testimonials can be a great asset to your business, and word of mouth can do wonders for bringing in new customers. But did you know that having customer reviews online can be just as important to your marketing efforts?
Having several good reviews on sites like Google Places, Bing Places, and YELP for business can help make your business more relevant in the eyes of search engines. The goal of a search engine is to display the most useful content possible for a user, based on what they are searching for. The search engines know that users love to read product, service, and local business reviews, and that’s why they love them too! If you have online customer reviews for your small business, you will often be rewarded when it comes to appearing in localized search results.
How Do Customer Reviews Impact Your Search Engine Rankings?
The way that your website and online review listings will rank and display in Google or Bing local search results depends on a number of factors. Some of these factors include:
Keywords Used in Reviews – if your service, product name, or keywords are used in your customer reviews, search engines will find these more relevant and are more likely to display them.
TIP: If you’re asking a customer to leave you a review, suggest that they include a keyword that you are already targeting. For example, I might ask my reviewers to include the phrase “Toronto marketing company” in a review they leave for me on my Google+ page.
Number of Reviews – The number of reviews that you have on various profiles across the web does matter. A decent amount of reviews (think at least 5, not 20!) will be helpful to your rankings.
TIP: Don’t go crazy on getting a bunch of customer reviews all at once. Since they are all posted within a short time frame, Google may flag these as spam and delete them from your business profile.
Your Competitors – Your competitors will also have people reviewing their services. If you don’t do the same, you’ll fall behind the pack.
TIP: Don’t worry if you haven’t yet collected any online reviews. There’s plenty of time to put together a strategy, get quality reviews, and be more relevant than your competition.
Your Ratings – You don’t have to have perfect 5-star reviews. But remember that Google looks at quality, not only quantity, when looking at customer testimonials.
TIP: Don’t be afraid of a few negative reviews. Take the time to respond to them each professionally and see if you can address the individual’s concerns. This will show other reviewers and site visitors that you care about your customers.
Warning: Fake Reviews Won’t Help!
You may be tempted to submit a few testimonials yourself on your business’ Google Places page in hopes of impacting your ranking in local search results. There are even companies out there who will put glowing reviews on your listings in order to boost your visibility in search engines. However, in an effort to crack down on spam, Google will remove these posts — it’s not worth your money!
Remember, all of your business’ reviews should come from firsthand experiences by real customers.
Ready to make those reviews work for your rankings? Read How to Get Great Customer Reviews Online: Creative Strategies Part 1 to learn how to get customer reviews, and stay tuned for more parts!
I suggest you check out the other blogs in this series; after all, you wouldn’t want to miss one juicy morsel. Or better yet, subscribe to my blog!
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