Customer reviews are critical to the success of your business.
At 2 the Top’s free Online Reputation Management meetup—the final installment of our 8-part “Learn Digital Marketing” series—we addressed key topics like:
- Why reviews matter
- Which review sites are most important
- How to deal with negative reviews
- How to solicit and encourage good reviews
If you missed the Online Reputation Management meetup (“Why Customer Reviews are Critical & How to Get More”), following is a quick overview of the key questions, concepts, and tips we covered.
Why Reviews Are Important
First and foremost, feedback helps improve a business.
Moreover, displaying good reviews on site builds trust, improves conversion rates, and has direct and indirect SEO benefits. Getting good reviews off site also builds trust and helps a business gain more exposure, not to mention the SEO benefits.
How important are positive customer reviews? BrightLocal’s ‘Local Consumer Review Survey’ tells us that “57% of consumers only use businesses with 4 or more review stars.”
How Many Reviews Do You Need?
Knowing that you need 4 or more review stars, how many customer reviews are necessary to rank in positions 1-3 on Google?
According to BrightLocal’s ‘Google Reviews Study,’ the highest-ranking businesses have an average of 47 reviews, though businesses in some industries—like hotels, restaurants, and auto dealerships, average many more online reviews, while businesses in other industries average a lot less.
The same study also tells us that the average Google Reviews star rating is 4.42 stars, but again, the average rating varies widely by industry, with auto dealerships having a much lower average rating than, say, dental practices.
It’s also worth noting that there are different types of starred reviews. Google recently announced that the starred reviews that appear in search engine results pages (SERPs)—which are based upon actions the website owner has taken to make the starred reviews show up—are going away.
Tip: Your website should have a page dedicated to reviews, so you can rank for that page. In other words, you want to be the #1 result for reviews about your business, as opposed to, say, Yelp, which might only display your negative reviews.
Do Product Reviews Matter?
As you might expect, the answer is “yes.”
How many product reviews do you need? Spiegel Digital & Database Research Center tells that the likelihood of a purchase for a product with five reviews is 270 percent greater than a product with zero reviews. That pretty much says it all.
Should You Pay for Reviews?
The short answer is “no.”
Do not incentivize reviews, either. Providing something in exchange for a review—even something trivial—needs to be disclosed. When it comes to digital marketing practices, blurring the lines can have consequences.
For example, the New York Attorney General conducted a massive sting operation called “Operation Clean Turf,” bringing an action against 19 marketing companies—with fines ranging from $2,500 to $100,000—for facilitating fake online reviews.
What Percentage of Reviews are Fake?
A good rule of thumb is that 20 percent of online reviews are fake.
Following are a handful of red flags that may be indicative of fake reviews.
- All of the reviews are positive.
- The reviews are too general.
- Many of the reviews come from the same IP address.
Which Review Sites are Most Important?
Generally speaking, Google, Facebook, and Yelp are most important.
But there are many industry-specific sites that may be mission critical, too. For example, Avvo, an online marketplace for legal services, is incredibly important for lawyers and law firms. And Trip Advisor is critical for those in the travel and tourism industries.
Should You Respond to Reviews?
As a general rule, the answer is “yes.”
BrightLocal’s ‘Local Consumer Review Study’ notes that 89 percent of consumers read business’ responses to reviews. ReviewTrackers’ ‘Online Reviews Survey’ provides further insight, noting that “53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week.”
How to Deal with Negative Reviews
First and foremost, don’t respond to a bad review while you’re angry, or if you suspect the reviewer is a lunatic.
Do respond if:
- You screwed up.
- If the review presents incorrect facts.
- You can fix the situation.
Make sure your response is professional, and take the conversation offline ASAP. Don’t get into a back-and-forth online.
In general, if a critical review is false, consider direct messaging the user and politely presenting your side of the story.
If the review is a simple misunderstanding, consider responding publicly, clearly stating your business’ policies and clarifying any inaccuracies.
If the reviewer has raised a legitimate concern, consider addressing their concerns publicly and invite them to come back.
3 Secrets to Getting Great Reviews
- Ask for feedback from clients and customers. Feedback is useful; not only can it help you do better work, it provides the opportunity to intercept bad reviews.
- Schema. If a review is positive, post it on your site with schema markup.
- Make it easy for your customers to provide reviews.
An Example of How to Automate the Process
For an example of how to automate the process of getting customer reviews, see bit.ly/reviewross.
Need Professional Help with Online Reputation Management?
If you need help with online reputation management—or another aspect of digital marketing—2 the Top Web Design and Marketing can help you achieve the marketing results you are looking for. Give us a call at (615) 874-1455.
Meanwhile, be sure to attend our next Nashville SEO Group free meetup, in which some of the top SEO experts in Nashville will do live SEO audits, providing explicit instructions about how the site’s owners can:
– improve the visibility of their sites
– improve their bottom-line results
Want your website—or one of your client’s sites—to get a free, in-depth SEO audit? Submit your URL at bit.ly/seo4free for consideration. (Selected site owners/marketers will need to provide limited access to tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console to take advantage of this offer.)
In addition, anyone who attends will have the opportunity to volunteer their site during the meetup, and the team will do a 5-10 minute speed audit of their site, time permitting.
RSVP here for the “SEO Audits 4 Free” meetup, which will take place on Thursday October 17, 2019, at 6:30 pm at Emma Bistro, 9 Lea Ave., on the south side of downtown Nashville.
If you can’t attend on Thursday evening, Ross will be doing an encore Lunch and Learn presentation at noon the next day. RSVP here for the Lunch and Learn ($20), which will be held at 2 the Top Web Design & Marketing (615 Main Street in Nashville) the Google Partner Agency that Ross founded in 1997.
See you then!