Online Reviews: Your Secret Weapon for Higher Rankings

You’ve probably heard it many times – getting your business reviewed is an important step in your search engine optimization strategy and a great opportunity for customer service. But why is that?

Recent algorithm changes put user experience in the focus. Namely, search engines rank websites based on whether they offer relevant and useful content, as well as positive experience to users. So, when a customer reviews your business, it tells Google that your business is legit and useful.

Still not getting it? Let’s explore the major benefits available to businesses who open themselves up to online reviews and how you can get the most out of it.

Online Reviews: Your Secret Weapon for Higher Rankings

How User Reviews Affect SEO?

According to recent SEO statistics, reviews account for 7% of the total ranking factors, which means you cannot afford to ignore them anymore.

The steady flow of content posted by consumers reviewing your brand creates fresh and relevant content, which is necessary if your aim is stellar ranking. As a matter of fact, over 25% of the search results for the 20 largest brands in the world are linked to user-generated content.

What is more, reviews are tremendously important in persuading people to make a sale. In fact, they are often the decisive factor whether people will do business with the company or not. According to recent studies, 94% of customers read online reviews and 93% of local consumers use reviews to determine if a local business is good or bad. Additionally, a staggering number of 72% consumers say that they trust more businesses with positive reviews.

Less Known Benefits of User Reviews

We’ve seen the facts and stats about the importance of user reviews. But, what exactly makes them so special as an SEO strategy? Let’s see some of the most overlooked benefits reviews offer.

  • Minimal effort and zero risk

Reviews are written by clients; therefore, you don’t have to do any work yourself. You just have to give your clients the opportunity and let them know on which platforms they can review your service, encourage them to express their honest opinion, and continue offering great service. What is more, using reviews as a marketing tool brings zero risks, taking you’re not employing black hat practices.

  • Multi-channel visibility

Google gets a lot of traffic, but you can also take advantage of third-party sites, which serve as additional traffic channels. Don’t worry – this doesn’t require an ongoing management.

  • Problem solving

If your business doesn’t include online reviews from your customers, clients don’t have an option to voice their opinion. Consequently, you won’t know which areas need improvements to serve them better in the future. By listening to your clients and making your services better, you will show that you care and win their trust; thus, converting them into loyal customers.

Online Reviews: Your Secret Weapon for Higher Rankings

  • Micromarketing opportunity

Reviews help businesses where most marketing campaigns fail. In fact, they act as micro-marketing campaigns that provide huge benefit in the long run. To put it simply, reviews offer a hyper-targeted promotion which reaches the demographic valuable to your business.

  • Builds confidence in your brand

The number one benefit from reviews is building brand trustworthiness, especially if your business is new and not established yet. Reviews give potential clients a better understanding of your services and help convince them that you’re a better choice than your competitors.

  • Discover what customers are happy about

Apart from being a vast resource of information for potential clients, reviews help you discover which areas of your business excel and take advantage of those points of your services clients rave about. For example, if your clients are praising your transparency in communication – use it as the main selling point.

  • Lead generation

Third party sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List are a powerful lead generation resources, as more people are using these sites when making a research. Consequently, ranking high on such review sites is important. To get started, complete your profile and ask for reviews.

How to Use Reviews to Grow Your Business

Reviews enable your customers to use their creativity and express their opinion. Such content directly reflects the effect your services had on them. When satisfied, customers will rave about it. But, reviews aren’t always perfect – oftentimes, they contain suggestions and even negative feedback. However, you can use this to your advantage and grow your business. Below you can find five ways to use reviews and make your business thrive.

  • Optimize ads and customer reviews

Did you know that displaying reviews on your website can increase conversion by 270%? This number jumps to 380% if the products or services in question are high-priced. In the long run, this translates to an overall improvement of the brand’s reputation.

If your business has been operating long enough, chances are you already have reviews. Leverage their potential and enhance your service ads with those reviews. Also, you can add a star rating for each of your services. Oftentimes, users prefer this form of review because it summarizes their opinion in an effective medium which is less time-consuming.

  • Success stories and social media

Nowadays, social media is the main method of sharing and getting information, communicating with our friends, buying goods, and finding businesses online. So, naturally, social media grew to become the best way of business promotion.

By posting user-generated content and reviews, you can get even more from this phenomenon. In fact, you’ll be creating an engaging experience for users which will positively influence their buying decision. This way you’ll also show positivity and appreciation of clients, which increases customer loyalty.

Online Reviews: Your Secret Weapon for Higher Rankings


  • Set up a testimonials page

Compile your glowing reviews and feature them on a separate page of your website. This will add credibility to the site, but it will also become the main resource for all questions about your service quality that potential clients might have. If you get the permission, you could use a photo of the client to make the review more authentic and credible.

  • Share reviews in promotional emails

Let’s start off with some stats – an average person receives 72 emails per day and spends up to 30% of the working day checking their inboxes. So, yes, email is still a powerful marketing tool. To spice things a bit, you can include customer feedback on your promotional emails and encourage potential clients to do business with you.

  • Turn customers into brand ambassadors

Creating an engaging and entertaining content on a regular basis can be challenging for your business. So, why not use your customers as brand ambassadors? Clients have an authentic voice and a unique approach that sounds genuine. This practice will help you humanize your brand, without sounding pushy. The key is to let clients generate an authentic content with their own words which goes beyond crafting a simple review.

How to Make the Most out of Getting Reviews?

It’s safe to say that reviews can make or break your business success, so shifting your focus on building up positive testimonials will help you create a solid foundation for the future. Once you get reviews, don’t stay passive. Keep in mind that user-generated content has a strong potential to grow your business. Continue reading to learn how to make the most out of getting reviews.

  • Be responsive

As we already mentioned, Google’s search algorithms take into consideration the reviews from third-party sites. This is why it’s important to be attentive and respond to reviews and comments on every platform, be it YouTube, Yelp, Facebook, or Google My Business.

If someone takes time to review your products or services, the least you can do is to respond. Not only will this make the customer feel appreciated, but it will also inform other customers that you’re a true professional. Even if you come across a negative review, respond to it, explain the situation and apologize if necessary. This will show that you care deeply about your customers.

Online Reviews: Your Secret Weapon for Higher Rankings

  • Ask for feedback

Many people won’t leave a review simply because they’re busy. So, the best way to get a review is to ask for it. In addition to using straight lines such as “Tell us what you think” at the end of your offer or post, you should consider some alternatives too.

For example, you can prompt your customers to leave a review through email or take advantage of the review software systems such as Reputation Builder, Reputology, and Podium. Or, you can offer a reward for people taking the time to share their experience. Think discounts, giveaways, and coupons.

  • Make reviewing easy

As we already said, people don’t really have time to deal with a complicated reviewing process. So, the more streamlined the review process is, the more reviews you will get. Keep the interface user-friendly and mobile-optimized. Also, include a star rating.

What to Keep in Mind

Before we wrap up our guide, here are three things about reviews you should always keep in mind:

  • Freshness of Reviews

Potential clients appreciate fresh reviews. In fact, 77% of them don’t consider reviews over three months old relevant. What is more, 18% of potential clients don’t believe reviews for more than two weeks old. So, it’s important to keep reviews coming and have fresh user-generated content at all times.

  • The minimum number of reviews

Many potential clients won’t even consider doing business with you if your company doesn’t have at least five reviews on major sites like Facebook and Yelp. Do your due diligence and get those reviews as soon as possible, so that potential clients know your business is legit.

  • Those 5 Stars Aren’t That Important

Star rating is also an important indicator of the company’s quality for potential clients. Five stars are generally the best you can do, but a recent study has shown that customers are actually suspicious of businesses that have perfect ratings. They showed the most trust in companies rated between 4.2 and 4.5 stars. So, don’t try to get the perfect reviews, instead, encourage clients to leave you an honest review.

Wrapping It Up

Online reviews are bound to play an even greater role in driving customers towards or away from your business.

In today’s world, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. On the other hand, reviews can determine your search engine placement, especially in local listings, because they serve as a tool for search engines to provide people the information they want.

True, getting people to review your business doesn’t come without challenges, but once the results come in you’ll enjoy a greater trust from clients and increased revenue, which is the ultimate goal of every business.

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