Reviews And SEO: How To Get More Clicks And Show Up On The First Page Of Google
If there’s one company that everyone knows, it’s Google. The most popular search engine in the world, it accounts for an enormous 92% of the market share (1). It’s clear that showing up on the first page of Google search results can be huge for your business. Yet many companies are unsure how to reach that coveted top spot. In this article, we’re going to explore how reviews can boost your SEO, get more clicks on your website and ultimately improve your revenue.
What is SEO?
Let’s start with the basics. Search Engine Optimization, usually shortened to SEO, is a set of practices designed to improve the positioning of your website in search engine results. In other words, the better your SEO, the easier it is for people to find you online.
The gold standard of SEO is for your website to appear in the top three results on Google when people search for terms related to your business. For example, if you own a hotel in Paris, then you want to be showing up near the top when people Google things like ‘hotels in Paris, ‘best hotels in Paris’ or ‘where to stay in Paris’.
Why top three? While being on the first page of results is a great place to be, research has shown that the top three search results get the highest number of clicks (with the top spot getting 27.6% of them!) (2). The further down you go, the fewer clicks you get, with very few users visiting the second page and beyond.
Reviews And SEO: Why Google Loves Reviews
Now we know all about SEO. But what exactly does it have to do with reviews? There are a few different reasons why good reviews can get you higher rankings on Google results.
Google Trusts Your Customers
Of course, everyone wants to present their business online in the best possible way. But customers aren’t afraid to give their honest opinion about your service or your product.
That’s why when a customer leaves a good review, Google sees it as an endorsement of your company and a show of trust in your brand. Because Google wants to show its users the best, most relevant results for their query, they reward well-reviewed businesses with greater visibility.
Reviews Help Google Understand Your Business
The more content there is about your company, whether it be from your own website or from others, the more complete a picture Google has of what you are all about.
Every review you receive is a fresh bit of content. In those reviews, customers describe your product or service. Search engines scan this new content to find more and more relevant keywords about your business. Just as in our previous point, this helps them to provide better results for users and helps you get found online.
Good Click Through Rates = Better Rankings
All business owners know that people trust online reviews. Naturally, this means potential customers are more likely to click on a business that has four or five stars over a business that has a low star rating.
In some cases, those with mostly bad reviews may not even be seen! One study showed that 70% of people use rating filters when searching for businesses (3). The most common filter was for companies with 4-star ratings and higher. So chances are that if you are well-reviewed, you will be getting a much higher click-through rate than those with poor or very few reviews.
If you are getting a lot of clicks, that is one of the best ways to signal to Google that you are doing something right. In other words, it shows them that your website is worth seeing by their users and can result in a higher position in search results.
The reasons above are why it’s so important to consistently generate new reviews for your business. With so many new things being published online every day, Google is constantly searching for new information to update its search results. New reviews give Google current data to work with, making sure that you don’t get left behind when it comes to attracting organic traffic.
Reviews And SEO: The Power Of Local Search Results
When we talk about search results, don’t forget that we aren’t just talking about the list of sites on the page, but also which websites show up in the Google Map Pack. You may not have heard the name before, but you’ll definitely have seen it. This is the section of Google that showcases the top-ranking local listings for your location (or the search location) alongside a map.
Businesses with a higher star rating tend to see up to a 35% higher click-through rate within these results (4). It’s worth noting that data from the map pack is also shared directly with Google Maps. That means when people are searching for directions to local businesses, yours is all the more likely to show up. To help you get the best results from this strategy, there are a few other things you need to do:
- Make sure that all your Google Business Profile information is correct and up-to-date
- Double-check that your business name, address and phone number are consistent in your google Business Profile and elsewhere online (including not just your own website but also social media and any other third-party site or review site where you’re listed)
- Respond to all your reviews, both positive and negative
Commit to your new review strategy and it won’t be long before you see the impact on your local SEO rankings.
So, How Do I Actually Get More Reviews For My Business?
The number one mistake businesses make when it comes to getting reviews is to simply sit back and wait for it to happen. While this approach may get you a few reviews once in a blue moon, taking a proactive stance is so much more effective at upping your review quantity both quickly and consistently.
An invitation to leave a review (usually via email) allows you to reach every single customer with almost no manual work. You may be surprised at just how many people are willing to leave customer feedback when you ask them directly. No, not everyone will make the effort, but keep a few best practices in mind and your average rating will go up in no time.
Ask Sooner Rather Than Later
It’s best to ask for a review shortly after someone has finished their interaction with your company (whether that be making a purchase, checking out of a hotel or leaving their appointment). The experience will still be fresh in their minds, and as a result, they’ll be more likely to want to share their thoughts. Leave it too long, and they’ll be unsure of what to say and unlikely to complete a review.
Make It Simple
People have hectic schedules, so make it too difficult to leave a review and they will simply give up trying. Ideally, you want your customers to be able to click a single link and be taken to where they can leave their feedback.
This is also what makes email invitations so effective. Rather than asking for a review in person (only for them to forget by the time they’ve arrived home), email shows up where your customers are going to see it (how many times have you checked your inbox today?) By appearing right in front of them and providing a low-effort interaction, you are reducing friction for your customer, making them far more likely to complete the task.
Pro tip: Not sure how to direct customers directly to leave a Google review? Good news! Google has recently made this much easier to do. On your computer, sign in to your Google My Business account, click ‘Home’ on the left menu, and click the ‘Get More Reviews’ card. A window will pop up with a short version of your listing’s URL. Click the link and it will automatically be copied to your clipboard for you to share however you like.
You may be tempted to offer something to your customers in exchange for a review, for example, entry into a prize draw or a discount code. However, this is against Google’s terms and conditions and is a good way to be penalised in search results. An automatic review request, as we outlined above, is more than enough to generate results. And remember, both positive reviews and negative reviews can work in your favour (as long as you respond appropriately), so don’t worry too much about only asking happy customers.
Take Advantage Of Automation
While it’s always a good idea to put a review strategy in place, there’s no question that manually sending review invitations can take a lot of time and effort. Even with the best will in the world, there will be times when you cannot keep up. That’s why finding a software solution is a great way to ensure positive results from the start. Save the hassle and manual work, and use automation to your advantage.
Conclusion: Reviews and SEO
Reviews are just one part of a successful SEO strategy. But the bottom line is that focussing on increasing your customer reviews can be hugely beneficial for your business. If you’d like to get your review collection on autopilot, Customer Alliance are here to help!
Our software enables you to automatically send review requests to help you quickly boost your quantity of reviews and boost your online visibility. With the option to distribute reviews to your industry’s most relevant platforms and a seamless review stream, Customer Alliance helps you save time and resources so you can get back to what you do best. Want to find out more? Book a personalised free demo and one of our experts will show you what we can do.
In the meantime, why not check out our other helpful resources and learn more about reviews:
- Oberlo, ‘Search Engine Market Share In 2022′
- Backlinko, ‘We analyzed 4 million Google search results. Here’s what we learned about organic click-through rate’
- Reviewtrackers, ‘Online Reviews Statistics and Trends: A 2022 Report by ReviewTrackers’
- CXL, ‘Do Review Stars on Google Help Click-Through Rate? [Original Study]‘