Online reviews can affect a business’ reputation and search engine rankings, like it or not. Positive online reviews can result in high conversion rates – a factor search engines use to rank websites.
But all it takes is just ONE negative comment or experience on (your website or a 3rd party site) to turn potential customers away and cause your website ranking to take a nosedive.
Managing your online reputation is not entirely out of your control, though. Here are a few proactive steps to ensure your online reviews are helping to improve your search engine rankings.
1. Update Content Regularly – This does not only apply to your web page information and images. You can update your website by adding newer testimonials, reviews (from other online platforms), and even create case study articles with quotes from satisfied clients. Updating can also mean removing outdated reviews and feedback. Dedicate a day at least once a month to browse your website and other platforms like LinkedIn and Google My Business.
2. Organic Visibility – Google favours highly-rated websites so it’s not enough that you receive positive feedback from your customers, it’s vital that the star ratings are displayed on search results. If you aren’t already selling online, it might be time to start thinking about joining the e-commerce club. (Get our free Ecommerce Checklist.)
3. Online Engagement – Don’t wait for someone to send you a review or feedback. You can solicit or remind customers to review your business through your website, business sites (LinkedIn, Google My Business) social media pages (Facebook, Twitter), e-commerce sites (Trip Advisor, Booking.com) or even a friendly email.
4. Close the Feedback Loop – And don’t forget to reply to those who do take the time and effort to send feedback (even the not so nice ones) as this helps drive engagement and foster a better image for the company. If you’re not in the habit of engaging with your online audience, delegate the task to another team member.
4. Use a 3rd Party Review Sites – Without resorting to backlinks and risking the ire of Google, you can leverage on reviews posted on 3rd party sites such as Foursquare and Amazon and by incorporating them into your website. These review sites are more credible as they can’t be edited and often require a proof of purchase to verify feedback.
What can you do if you get negative online reviews?
No matter how hard you try, there is no pleasing everyone.
At some point in your business you will come across some negative feedback – whether expected, unexpected, random or simply a case of mistaken identity (yes, it has happened to us!).
What we did was we emailed the person and explained to him that he might have mistaken us for Redbox Karaoke. This happens all the time because we used to get calls in our office for karaoke room bookings as many google us (and we’re so much more visible online than the karaoke people) that they immediately think we’re the same people as the Redbox Karaoke folks!
It might hit you hard at first but keep in mind that a) there is no ‘hiding’ from bad reviews and b) it could be a second-chance at client conversion.
Stay polite – thank and apologise where appropriate – and ask them to contact you directly to discuss a remedy to the situation.
If all goes well the client may even update his negative review with the resolution making you (and your company) look like a superstar!
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