10/10 Would Recommend: Leveraging Reviews and Testimonials in the Digital Age
October 10th, 2019 by
This post was updated by Anita Shah. It was originally written by a Search Influence alum on January 12th, 2016.
Before you book a room at a hotel or make a reservation at a new restaurant, do you read the online reviews? According to a study conducted by BrightLocal, “86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34).” But don’t worry, this statistic is not limited just to businesses like restaurants and hotels; these numbers apply to businesses across industries.
How You Can Use Feedback for Brand Awareness
Reviews and testimonials have traditionally provided insights into how a business can better serve its customers. With the evolution of digital marketing, the role of reviews and testimonials has also evolved. Feedback about customer experiences is now critical for gaining new clients. With so many consumers turning to the internet before opening their wallets, reviews and testimonials are user-generated content that drives consumer decisions. A review and testimonial webpage showcases real customer experiences and creates a new, powerful platform for interaction between businesses and customers.
Having a regularly updated review or testimonial page on a website is a great way to communicate the quality of your services and to get the individuality of your business across to potential customers. Authentic reviews throughout social media and review sites like Yelp or BBB will also promote your brand. In the digital age, consumer interaction via these platforms is an affordable and necessary method of gaining new leads.
How Reviews and Testimonials Impact SEO
SEO rankings are not just based on what you have to say about your business. As Google continually alters its algorithm for increased transparency, consumer content—or what other people have to say about your company—is impacting SEO.
In fact, the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors study by Moz states review signals are the third most important maps pack ranking factor. Some other examples of review signals include the following:
- Review quantity
- Review velocity
- Review diversity
Keyword-rich onsite content is one of Google’s most important ranking factors when it comes to organic search. Customer reviews are likely packed with those high-yield keywords for which you want to be ranking. Utilizing these reviews on your website allows you to put customers to work for you, so you can secretly shape your SEO structure without lifting a finger.
The Importance of Authenticity
Remember that reviews and testimonials are real-life recommendations. There may be some negative ones, and that’s okay. Econsultancy reports that 68% of consumers actually trust online reviews more when they can see a mixture of both positive and negative feedback. As long as the negative reviews make up a minority of the input, a business should expect beneficial outcomes.
Since a review and testimonial page should be a space that helps reduce the risk of duplicate content, a quality review would not be a simple, bland statement. Comments such as “Great service!” or “Quick response time” may not help with an SEO campaign. These reviews also fail to highlight what makes your business unique, superior, and reliable. An effective review or testimonial does not necessarily have to be lengthy, but it should showcase what makes your business stand apart from the competition. Particularly good reviews can be placed in a spot of prominence on a website or even repurposed as a social media post.
How to Garner Positive, Effective Reviews
The idea of positive reviews is great, but what about those inevitable few detractors? To minimize negative input, there are three things to consider when asking for a review. You must ask for the review at the right time, with the right messaging, and through the right platform.