In today’s mobile-first world, reviews drive awareness and consumer decisions about where to eat, where to shop, etc. A recent study found that a business listing with a similar rating, but with more reviews than a rival business, captures over 50% more clicks on average for a given search. This means, that for businesses to beat the competition, they need a comprehensive review strategy.
Search platforms — especially Google — have not overlooked the opportunity to deliver a more relevant and useful experience to their users by incorporating ratings and reviews. Most local searches on Google today serve up no fewer than three permutations of online star ratings:
- Reviews from the merchant’s own website. These are reflected as a star rating on the search rich snippet or the Knowledge Card.
- Reviews from third-party sites, like Yelp, displayed as rich search snippets. These reviews are often among the top three search positions and the Knowledge Card.
- Google My Business ratings, displayed in the Knowledge Card, which are derived from your Google reviews.
For tips on how to leverage reviews:
In order for reviews from your own website to be displayed in the organic search results, they have to be first party – feedback that is organically generated and is not pulled via a widget from sites like Yelp. To maximize this opportunity, reach out to your consumers and ask for reviews, and then post both the good and the bad reviews directly on your website using tools like Stellar Reputation. This ensures that you will get full credit for review content on your website, so you can “star in search.”
Google gives prominence in search to third-party reviews – feedback that is generated on sites other than your website, like Yelp and Facebook. Fresh content is the key to maximizing this opportunity. You must constantly ask customers for feedback specifically on these third-party sites in order to sustain a positive online presence.
Make it easy for your customers to give you feedback in the right places, and ask regularly. People don’t think to review you until they’re asked. But when you do ask, 7 out of 10 people will leave a review for a business. Asking will help you sustain a presence on third-party review sites, protect your positions and reputation in Google search results, and build a whole lot of goodwill with your customers.