We all appreciate how building links from authoritative sites can skyrocket any site’s search engine rankings. Link building, therefore, gets most of the love in the SEO world.
That does not mean that we should ignore the other factors that can lead to better search rankings.
One of the things we can leverage for better search rankings is customer reviews.
Only a handful few marketers view customer reviews as something that can help them boost their marketing campaign. However, the effects of this type of user-generated content cannot be denied – 70% of consumers prefer peer recommendations over professionally written content to help them with their purchasing decisions, among other glaring statistics.
Aside from content marketing, customer reviews offer SEO benefits that can help achieve high rankings for your site, some of which are discussed below.
Fresh User Generated Content
User generated content is content that has been written and posted on your site by your website’s visitors.
Requesting users to review your products and services is one of the ways you can get user generated content.
The reviews are legitimate content, and Google will rank them for relevant keywords.
These reviews on your product pages, because they are written by real users who understand your product and market, contain LSI keywords you would miss if you were just writing the content yourself.
These keywords are a huge relevancy factor and will make the search engines better understand what your page is about.
Improved Google Appearance with Rich Snippets
Search engines, in particular with the advent of microdata and the extensive use of schema markups, are now showing a lot of rich snippets to their users.
One of the things you can leverage to get a rich snippet are star ratings that come with reviews.
Yelp is one of the companies that have mastered this art.
Rich snippets increase click-through rates in a big way. Better CTR leads to more traffic to your site.
When Google figures out that your site is giving its users what they want, it will reward you by boosting your rankings.
Increased Traffic and Time on Site
Research shows that users trust content written by real customers and users like them more than they trust those written by your content marketing team. Millennials, for instance, trust user generated content 50% more than other media.
Knowing this, a good marketer will leverage user generated content to draw in prospective customers.
When your website visitors spend much time reading customer reviews, your time on site will increase.
As with all user experience factors, this will affect your rankings. You stand to gain from a boost in rankings, especially if you already have the other on-page, and off-page SEO factors handled.
Minimize Bounce Rate
Assuming your reviews are positive, your visitors will explore more of your products and offerings to compare specs and prices.
The good reviews get them in a shopping mode by proving that your products are useful. The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications reports that more than 2/3 of customers rely on user generated content when making purchase decisions.
Making your visitors trust you will decrease bounce rates in a big way. Bounce is when someone lands on your page and bounces back to the search engines without clicking to another page on your site.
Bounce rates and time on site are two user experience factors that Google uses to evaluate the usefulness of your content. You can find how you score on these two from your Google Analytics Dashboard.
Having customer reviews on your site affect your SEO by influencing how users interact with your site and also by filling your page with extra content and LSI keywords that will boost your rankings in the search engines.
Visitors will trust your brand if their peers have used your products and services and are willing to recommend them. You may also want to have customer reviews on your site because they give you much social proof that you can leverage for more sales.