If you’re running a business, you’ll know how important SEO is for your website, particularly local SEO. One of the biggest aspects of local SEO is reviews. After all, everybody likes to have good reviews of their business. But what impact do reviews actually have?
Why are reviews so important?
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is highly influential when it comes to a customer’s purchasing decision. If you’re wanting to influence your potential customers, you will need to gain positive reviews. It’s so influential, that research has found 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Increase in conversions and sales
Because reviews are so influential, they are going to cause an increase in conversions. 61% of consumers read online review prior to making a purchase. With so many options of stores online, it’s easy to quickly scan through reviews and visit the website with the highest reviews. In fact, Reevoo found reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales.
Reviews help SEO
Online reviews actually help your SEO. In fact, online reviews make up 10% of how Google decides to rank search engine results. Google is constantly changing it’s algorithm, and the significance of reviews continues to rise. If you’re a local business, it’s going to be very important to try and get as many positive reviews as possible.
If your business sells products, there’s even more opportunity for reviews to help improve your SEO. Each new review on a product means there’s more unique content on your website. This will help you to gain authority, relevance, and improve your search engine ranking.
However, businesses can often run into trouble when trying to gain lots of reviews. While you want to gain a lot of reviews, you also want to make sure they are real and honest. If you undertake any questionable activities when obtaining reviews, you could find yourself in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has laid out guidelines for managing online reviews to ensure you don’t mislead customers.
If you want to avoid any legal drama, here’s what you need to avoid doing:
Involve family members
If you are getting family members to write reviews, they will need to disclose their relationship to your business within the review.
Google’s guidelines state that employees shouldn’t leave a review for the business they work for. It’s pretty much just common sense!
It’s tempting to offer incentives to gain reviews of your website. While this isn’t completely banned, you have to be careful. You have to ensure you offer the incentive to customers no matter what their review, whether it is positive or negative.
It’s misleading to write a review, or to solicit someone to write a review, for a product or service which they have not experienced. This goes for reviews on your business, as well as competitors. So just don’t leave fake reviews on the competitor’s and you’ll be ok.
Omitting and editing
You may mislead customers if you delete or edit reviews. The reviews need to reflect the overall views of the customers, not just the positive reviews. It generally looks pretty obvious that a business has been deleting bad reviews if they only ever have 5 star reviews, or other users have posted saying their comment or post was deleted. A study undertaken by Reevoo found 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores. So sometimes it pays to leave the negative reviews for everyone to see. Just make sure the negative reviews don’t overwhelm the positive.
Sometimes people will genuinely leave glowing reviews and mention a staff members name. However, they normally do not mention both a first and last name, or the full names of multiple staff members. If they do, this is generally a sign of a fake review, or ones that are written by the businesses staff members.
What are some ways to legitimately gain honest reviews?
- Ask: sometimes if you want something, the best thing to do is ask. If you have a physical store, you can ask them face to face, or ask within an email sent to existing customers. Chances are, if you’re sending an email to loyal customers, they will be able to spend a few minutes giving you a good online review.
- Make it easy to leave reviews: have an area of your website dedicated to leaving reviews, or have easily accessible links throughout your website to pages where consumers can leave reviews.
- Make profiles: know where your customers go to leave reviews? Make sure you create profiles on review apps and websites, or else you may miss out on potential reviews.