6 Easy Ways to Get Online Reviews

The past few weeks we’ve been discussing why online reviews are a critical part of your online marketing and SEO. What we haven’t talked about is how to get them. Enter this week’s blog! When you’re focusing on your online reviews, it’s easy to get caught up in one or two bad reviews you may have. But the easiest way to combat negative feed back is by loading up on positive reviews. Below are 6 easy ways to get online reviews from happy customers, as outlined by Nellie Akalp in Forbes.

1. Set Up Profiles on Multiple Review Sites

Consider all the sites that are relevant to your business: Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Local, Yahoo Local, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, and CitySearch. Even if you don’t think you are in a review-driven industry like restaurants and hospitality, general review sites like TrustLink and Trustpilot are great (Trustpilot has the added benefit of showing up on Google).

2. Ask Your Customers

Want to know the best way to increase the number of reviews for your business? Just ask. Your customers understand how important reviews are to your business, and as long as you provide an excellent product or service, they won’t be annoyed if you ask for a review. Don’t wait too long: customers are more likely to give you feedback right away.

The next time a customer compliments you via email, phone, or in person, mention that you’d appreciate if they left the same feedback in an online review on Trustpilot, Yelp, or the review site of their choice.

3. Make It Easy to Leave Reviews

Unless someone has a negative experience to share, the average customer is not going to look for ways to leave your company a review. That’s why you need to ask them to post a review and make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Put direct links to your review profiles in multiple places; for example, a follow-up email, newsletter, and your website. Yelp offers downloadable “Find us on Yelp” banners that you can use on your website or print out for your store.

4. Incent (but Don’t Buy) Reviews

Sometimes even your most satisfied customers need some extra incentive to take time out of their busy schedule to write a review. Offering a small incentive is a good way to show your appreciation. You just need to make sure your offer is for writing a review, and not for writing a good review. Monthly giveaways, where you choose one reviewer at random, are effective ways to encourage reviews, and there’s no semblance of a transaction where you are paying for a review.

5. Thank Your Reviewers

If the review site allows it, thank each person who reviews your product or service. In addition, you can even surprise a top reviewer by sending them a discount code or freebie after they’ve posted a review. This simple act will turn a satisfied customer into an incredibly loyal evangelist.

6. Make Reviews a Part of Your Work Processes

Make sure that all customer service and sales employees understand the importance of soliciting reviews from the customers they work with. At our company we saw the number of reviews rise after implementing an incentive program where employees receive a cash bonus for any reviews (for example, 3 reviews=$100; 15 reviews=$750).

Choose whatever kind of bonus and program makes sense for your business. It’s just an added incentive to help employees remember to ask for a review. Given the importance of reviews in the customer decision process, this is one of the most effective ways to spend your marketing dollars.

Do Online Reviews Affect SEO?

Customer reviews and ratings are essential items in the SEO’s tool belt, especially for optimizing local businesses. A Moz survey predicts that reviews make up almost 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank you. And it makes sense.

Like I said in last week’s blog, search engines love reviews because consumers love reviews.

Search engines are in the business of providing users with the most accurate information to help them predict and make decisions around their future purchases. The faster they can do that, the more consumers will turn to them time and time again.

But what do they take into consideration regarding reviews? Review signals. What’s a review signal? you’re asking. Good question. Entrepreneur describes review signals as different aspects of a company’s review profile online and include:

1. Review Quantity

The more reviews you have, the better. According to BrightLocal’s survey, you need seven to 10 reviews before most people trust you.

2. Review Velocity

How quickly reviews are posted for your business. Too fast, and you’ll get dinged.

3. Review Diversity

How many sites have reviews for your business

4. Quantity of Third-Party Traditional Reviews

How many reviews your business has on sites not owned by Google

5. Authority of Third-Party Sites Where Reviews are Present

Some customer review sites have greater authority with Google than others.

6. Overall Velocity of Reviews (Native and Third Party)

How quickly your business is accruing reviews, both on Google properties (a.k.a. “native”) and other review sites.

7. Volume of Testimonials in Review

This refers to the reviews used in microdata, also called “rich snippets.” Here’s where to see that:

8. Quantity of Native Google Maps Reviews with Text

Google’s reviews started out on Google Maps.

9. Diversity of Third-Party Sites that have Reviews

How many different customer review sites have reviews for your business?

10. Product or Service Keywords in Reviews.

It helps to have keywords in reviews, but don’t overdo them.

11. Quantity of Authority Reviewers

Some sites, like Yelp, give certain reviewers more influence than others. New reviewers on Yelp don’t even get their reviews published until they’ve submitted five reviews. Getting a review on any site from an “authority reviewer” could help your search rankings.

Ratings and reviews are a huge conversion factor, more influential for getting users to click through and make a purchase than business citations or most other elements of local SEO. If your search result has 4.5 stars and 14 reviews (compared to fewer for your competitors), that’s strong social proof that your product or service is trustworthy. But besides increasing users’ trust, recent search innovations have created new reasons that SEO-minded local businesses need reviews and ratings.

These three benefits: improved SEO, improved conversion, and increased brand trust, working together, clearly illustrate the value of attracting good reviews online. If, between two otherwise equal competitors, one business pursues better reviews while the other ignores them, the business that pursues better reviews will undoubtedly win out in terms of traffic and eventual purchases.