Search Engine Watch recently posted an article discussing the importance of online customer reviews and how they can support a business’s credibility, brand, and marketing initiatives. Some of the highlights include using reviews to engage customers and to create better customer experiences.
Here’s a little of what Search Engine Watch had to say:
Turning Reviews into Opportunities for Reputation and SEO Impact by Miriam Ellis.
Published in Search Engine Watch, 2/17/2021.
“Customer reviews have played a significant role in customer choices for decades, and they aren’t specific to restaurants. In recent years their importance has increased exponentially and can even decide a business’s fate. With 93% of consumers using the internet to search for businesses — and 34% of those reading more reviews than before due to the coronavirus — it’s impossible to understate the importance of a good review.
Good reviews positively affect business exposure. The perceived quality of a company will contribute to a consumer’s eventual decision, and very rarely will a customer trust a three-star repair shop over a five-star one. Often, the three-star business will rank too poorly to be featured in Google’s sets of three local results, called “local packs”. Google’s local packs are meant to make it easy to find top results that match a customer’s query while suppressing less-recommended options. Exposure alone is helpful, but reviews impact both visibility in the packs and searchers’ ultimate decisions…
Staying honest and relevant
Faking positive reviews is nothing new in the business world. While review platforms like Google and Yelp have some safeguards in place for catching or filtering out fake reviews, they don’t automatically discover every review that violates their guidelines. This means that it’s often up to business owners to do their part by asking themselves whether it’s right to intentionally mislead consumers with false advertising.
The answer is, of course, no. Brands that lean on fake reviews in hopes of a quick gain in rankings or foot traffic may find themselves on the wrong end of lawsuits, legal penalties, business listing removal, and permanent reputation damage.”
Here is our take on the above excerpt and overall article:
The author makes it abundantly clear how consumers are relying on customer reviews to help them make their purchase decisions whether they’re getting ready to order take-out or buy fitness equipment. In short, consumers flock to review platforms to get the 411 on companies they’re considering transacting business with, and these companies have a tremendous opportunity to engage them on platforms like Yelp simply by responding politely and authentically to each posted review.
However, this article got especially interesting with its frank discussion of fake reviews and how their disingenuousness can actually undermine a business’s attempt to convince consumers (and search engines) that they’re a terrific company. In short, customers can smell fake reviews a mile away–and the search engines have safeguards in place for spotting them too.
Using Reviews to Your Advantage
Every review isn’t going to be a grand slam. Some are strikeouts. However, how you respond to negative reviews (and that you respond at all) will not go unnoticed by other customers. An apology and attempt to make amends will do more for your brand image than a whole passel of fake reviews.
If you’re concerned about your online reputation and want to engage customers more authentically on review sites and by other means, rely on Blue Interactive Agency and our team of experienced digital marketing professionals. We can tailor our solutions to suit your marketing goals and budget. If you would like to know more about how Blue can help you, reach out to us on our contact form or give us a call at 954-779-2801.