Search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, are just like every other business – they are built for profit. And that profit stems from the revenue generated by ads shown on their platform. Without people on their platform searching and seeing those ads, they would have no business.
Keeping people satisfied and directing them to the best possible search result for their query is the primary goal of every search engine. Creating happy and satisfied searchers may be the goal, but many factors go into reaching that goal. Search engines use algorithms. Algorithms that take into account those many factors.
The one-factor this article will focus on – is online reviews and how they impact Google’s Search Results.
What are Customer Reviews?
Online reviews are customer feedback that comes in the form of star ratings, reviews left on third-party websites and or company websites – or a combination of them all. In other words, they are the opinions of your customers.
How do Customer Reviews Impact Google’s Search Results?
One of the many algorithms that search engines use is to do with the number of hyperlinks from credible sources that your company has linked to it. The more hyperlinks linking back to your website from external sources, the more visitors to your site and the more search engines deem your site to be credible.
If you’re unfamiliar with what a hyperlink is, it is the blue clickable text- outlined here. When this hyperlinked text links back to your site from external sources, the content on your website is deemed useful to search engines. After all, someone else found it useful enough to link to it.
Getting displayed across as many third-party review websites as possible will result in increased traffic to your website, more credibility for your company and increased trustworthiness from search engines.
Here’s How to Use Customer Reviews to appear on Page 1 of Search Results.
- Use Free Online Directories.
Getting listed in free online directories where your profile is linked to your website – results in more web traffic, which results in more business and eventually into more reviews.
Free directories include everything from Yahoo to Yellow Pages. Here users will be able to review your company’s products, services and even hiring policies.
As a recruiter, claiming your free profile with Sourcr is the best way to gain customer reviews.
- Create a Google My Business Account.
Without question, Google is the largest and most used search engine on the internet. Google also offers a number of free tools designed to help your company display on their search engine.
One of those tools is ‘Google My Business’. Google My Business allows your company to receive reviews directly on Google’s interface.
With the amount of web traffic Google receives, to not be displayed openly there is a mistake.
- Local Web Traffic.
If you Google ‘the best coffee shop in Sydney’, a bunch of results will appear in front of you. Those results displayed aren’t random.
Firstly, Google takes into account the location of the searcher and their proximity to the business.
Secondly, Google takes into account the quality of the business that they will be suggesting. This is based mainly on the total number of reviews and the number of positive reviews the business has received. Typically in the form of star ratings on a scale of 1-5.
Google will initially only display businesses with a star rating above a 4 out of 5. If your business is ranked lower than a 4, you are missing out on traffic and potential customers.
- Respond to and Encourage Customer Reviews.
With reviews influencing purchasing decisions and affecting your perceived trust, you can’t ignore the power of them. With that said, there are two ways that you can enhance your current reviews and obtain more reviews moving forward.
The first is to actually ask for them, consider your timing when doing so. Look for customers who have been delighted by your service and are thus more willing to take the time and energy to leave a review. You’ll be surprised by how many respond accordingly.
The second is to respond to both your positive and negative reviews that are already displayed online. Responding to negative reviews empathetically shows compassion and your eagerness to improve. The responses aren’t for the reviewers themselves, but for the people who read your responses after. The same can be said for your positive reviews, it is a nice gesture to acknowledge and thank them accordingly.
Search engines are so prominent in modern culture that even the language we use has evolved to include them in our everyday sentences – “just Google it”.
Failing to have a strategy to optimise your business for search engines means to be left behind in an increasingly digitally reliant world. While there are many factors that influence a search engine algorithm – online reviews are definitely one of them.
Optimise them, encourage them and plan for them by:
Using Free Online Directories
Creating a Google My Business Account
Generating Local Web Traffic
Responding to and Encouraging Customer Reviews
RECOMMENDED READING If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper why not check out the following posts on Reviews and how they can help grow your business. - Six Tips For Building A Personal Brand As A Recruiter - 10 Customer Review Stastics You Might Not Know - Six Tips For Building A Personal Brand As A Recruiter - Here's How You Can Recover From Bad Customer Reviews