Online Reviews and SEO: What’s the Connection?

Online reviews do more than attract new customers — they help your business make friends with search engines too.

Think about it: Wouldn’t you like online reviews if you were a search engine? Your job is to deliver the most accurate, beneficial results to the user as quickly as possible. What better way to identify exactly what the consumer is looking for than by depending on online reviews?

Google and all other search engines reward businesses that have lots of online reviews for one central reason: It makes their job easier and helps them become more successful, since they deliver results that encourage user trust.

Review Signals: What Are They?

According to Moz, a leading SEO marketing software organization, review signals account for 8.4 percent of local business search engine ranking. What are review signals and how can you work on improving this aspect of your digital presence?

Review signals include different features of a local business’ online review profile. Some of the key characteristics that search engines look at are as follows:

Volume: How many online reviews does the company have?
Velocity: How quickly are they being posted?
Keywords: Do the reviews contain keywords that directly relate to the company’s products and services?
Third-Party Sites: Does the company have a lot of reviews on many different third-party review websites?

You want lots of reviews, but you don’t want them all published all at once — it looks contrived. Keywords in the reviews help clarify what your company’s all about for the search engine, and a solid identity on a third-party site also contributes to your “review signal” authority.

Your Game Plan

What can you do to boost this area of your local SEO score? Here is the recommended step-by-step approach:

1. Start Encouraging Customer Reviews

Does your business have only a few online reviews, or worse, none? You need to take action right away. Try to make it easy for your clients to express their satisfaction by sending SMS or email links to sites where they can post about their experiences.

2. Ensure They’re Posted Continuously Over Time

If a large volume of reviews is posted all at once, this looks bad to Google and other search engines. A steady stream of authentic feedback is necessary for good SEO.

3. Quality Matters Along with Quantity

A simple “good” or “excellent” isn’t enough — search engines want reviews that are specific about what your company does. That way, the keywords can help the search engine target results better for future users.

4. List Your Business on Third-Party Sites

A Google listing is essential, but don’t negate the power of third-party sites like Yelp or Zagat. Set up a profile on these sites as well for the maximum SEO payoff.

As a business owner or manager, you have enough on your mind. Taking time out of your day to manage online reviews could cause some serious frustration. Instead of neglecting this essential task, find out what Accrue Reviews could do for you in your efforts to improve SEO, and ultimately increase sales and success.