Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective ways to advertise your business. Another person’s recommendation has a lot more impact than comments from a company itself. Since we live in the digital age, today’s “word of mouth” system is now online customer reviews. Everyone uses websites to market their businesses, and people use comment sections to share their experiences. It’s beneficial to leverage online reviews in your SEO strategy. We’re going to show you how!

The impact of online reviews in the 21st century

To adapt and thrive in the changing world of online technologies, utilize the most effective tools possible. Online customer reviews have the strength to make or break a business. They can be your strongest asset or your most fearsome enemy. It depends on the level and quality of service you provide.

Today, an average consumer is bombarded every day with online offers. Various companies try to sell their products online. Customers have many options to choose from. It’s not always easy to make the right choice. With that in mind, people turn toward fellow shoppers for recommendations or information that will indicate if they should buy from a specific option. Online reviews offer that information.

If a business doesn’t have reviews, the customer is taking a risk. It might still be a quality business. However, if a company has many negative reviews, the consumer will look somewhere else.

Online buyers usually read 10-20 reviews before making a purchase. Furthermore, a substantial number of online buyers only look at the most recent reviews. That is, those from the past few weeks. And, if the review isn’t positive, buyers are less likely to convert.

How to use online reviews in your SEO strategy

Now that we understand how the impact of online reviews, let’s see how to use online reviews in your SEO strategy.

Research your business

The first step is to research review platforms for your industry. Without a doubt, Facebook, Google, and Yelp are the most prominent collectors of customer reviews. Assess your current situation. Search for your business on a search engine and see if you have any reviews. There may other platforms to explore like TripAdvisor, Yahoo Local, etc.

Besides checking your business, search for your competitors as well. See what kinds of ads come up and what words they use. This can provide inspiration for your own ads. Once you know how you rank and where your toughest competitors are, it’s time for the next step.

Focus on the right platform(s)

Focus on whichever platform has the most reviews of your business. Make that the highest priority and review what customers wrote about you.

And remember, you don’t want to look only at the good reviews. You need the bad ones too. If you find a few, accept them and see what went wrong. Analyze what your customers wrote and use that information to strengthen your business. Address the negative reviews as well, and respond to any comment with understanding rather than anger.

When it comes to the positive comments, make a list of things that went well. Use that list to optimize your keywords, and accentuate those positive values in your ads. You might attract more customers through SEO by playing on your strengths. SEO can help grow your business, so use all the information at your disposal to make it better.

Claim your business

Almost all customer review platforms allow you to claim your business. If you do find yourself, reveal your presence. Customers value businesses that reply. If they leave a comment, be it a positive or a negative one, they want to hear back.

Browse through the reviews and write a few words to each one. Be active and engaged because that will also help your SEO. Google values activity. They want to see something is going on, that your business presence isn’t static.

Emphasize reviews if you’re a small business

If a large brand like Coca-Cola gets a negative review, that won’t leave the same impact as if a small company gets trashed online. Large brands have the power of the masses; they have a vast customer base, which may help cushion the blow. They also have years of experience. Unless something extreme happens, like a massive scandal, they will continue to do good business.

However, for a small, local company, one negative review can be a terrible thing. That’s why small businesses need to be extra careful about their customers. You need to use online reviews in your SEO strategy and focus on strengthening local SEO. A considerable advantage is local businesses can develop more personalized relationships with customers.

Do the research, tweak, and repeat

To effectively use online reviews in your SEO strategy, understand it’s an ongoing process. Once you check the results of your SEO efforts, repeat the steps regularly. It is a continuous game of tweaking results to your benefit. The moment you relax and skip it, everything can go downhill.

Be persistent

As key takeaways, here are a few of the best practices to follow:

  • treat every online review with the same care and dedication
  • all customers are unique, and they all need a different approach
  • turn negative reviews into a positive experience by addressing the issue
  • optimize SEO keywords based on the feedback from customers

If you follow these steps and use online reviews in your SEO strategy, you’ll build a strong foundation that will help your business grow and expand.