Customer reviews are not only signals of trust for your customers, they can also provide potential improvements in SEO rankings when used effectively.
“They [reviews] build trust in your brand, âsaid Kyra Sammis, Customer Success Manager at Trustpilot, during her session at SMX Next. âReviews are an opportunity for anyone who knows your brand to publicly share what they like about your products, services and customer experience. Having publicly available notices is a sign that it is safe for you to do business.
Presenting reviews – even if they’re bad reviews – is vital for brands who want to build customer trust in today’s competitive SEO landscape. And with 53% Of all the trackable website traffic coming from organic search, marketers would be wise to capture some of that share with customer reviews.
âReviews are a powerful marketing engine in their own right – they are a way to build trust in your brand,â she said. âYou can turn that brand confidence into a measurable ROI through increased sales and revenue from web traffic. “
Here are five ways Sammis says marketers can help improve their rankings by leveraging customer reviews.
Focus on offsite SEO
âOffsite SEO describes all of the actions you take to create a digital footprint outside of your actual website,â Sammis said. âWhether it’s building credible backlinks to your page, staying active on social media platforms, or even creating a profile on a third-party review platform. “
âMost businesses have an on-page SEO strategy to help organic search, but less spend a lot of energy on off-page opportunities,â she added.
Google and other search engines use offsite signals to measure the relevance, authority, and trustworthiness of your brand. Reviews are among the most consistent channels marketers can use to improve these signals.
âGoogle is changing, but the reviews are most likely here to stay,â Sammis said. âAccording to Moz.com research, factors related to offsite SEO, such as third party reviews, account for over 50% of the ranking factor’s weight. Factors like relevance, trustworthiness, and authority will likely always play a role in a page’s ability to rank, and bolstering your online presence with reviews can help businesses squeeze all three of these criteria.
Don’t overlook referral traffic
âIn addition to the benefits of off-page SEO for your current website, building a profile on a third-party site can also lead to a huge increase in referral traffic,â Sammis said. âThat’s because when someone searches for brand reviews, a lot of those third-party sites can end up at the top of the search results. “
Many third-party review sites have high levels of authority and trust, which allows branded reviews to share their high rankings. Focusing on referral traffic can boost your SEO efforts by establishing a strong flow of visitors alongside your organic traffic.
âThis could be your competitive advantage because referral traffic is so often overlooked even though it is a free source of qualified leads and can even improve your organic search performance,â she said .
Display reviews on your website
âPresenting customer reviews on key landing pages is easy to achieve with review widgets,â Sammis said, âAnd that little addition to your website can improve how often your pages appear in organic search results. “
Customer reviews are potential sources of content for your web properties. By displaying them on your website, you can diversify your content while adding relevant text to your pages, which can help improve organic page rankings.
âReviews increase the amount of text on each page,â Sammis said. “This extra text makes your page more valuable to Google because you give them more context about the subject of the page and whether it should appear for that user search query.”
âUltimately, Google wants to display the most reputable search results in the hopes of providing the best experience for its users,â she added.
Pay attention to the number of stars
âWhen marketers think of star ratings and search results, paid ads usually come to mind,â Sammis said. âBut most marketers don’t realize that they can also get stars on their organic search listings and attract savvy customers who might be less likely to click on an ad. “
Star review ratings – the symbols displayed in SERPs – help build searchers’ confidence by giving them visual representations of their average ratings. This feature was less common, but Google now allows more site owners to display them using schema markup.
âCollecting product reviews can help you qualify for the review snippet in organic search,â Sammis said. “Those shiny golden stars in your listings can help drive more attention to your product pages and even improve your click-through rates by up to 35% in organic search.”
Use long tail search queries
Examining the ultra-specific, long-tail keywords that your customers use when researching your products, services, or brand is essential to capturing the audience for your niche. But marketers can also take advantage of the queries used in business reviews, which are highly relevant and amplify customer voices.
âLong-tail keywords generate less search traffic, but will generally have a higher conversion value because they are more specific,â Sammis said. âThinking of all the descriptors, use cases, or problems your product solves can be difficult to say the least. Fortunately, product reviews allow your customers to become the copywriters, allowing them to share their own unique experience with your products in their own words.
âThe icing on the cake here is that it all happens automatically – no additional writing or content creation for you,â she added.
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