Customer reviews are already a well-understood mechanism for enhancing a company's digital marketing. They allow a business to collect customer feedback simply, gain insights from that feedback and to adjust the customer experience accordingly.
However, what many marketers still don’t understand about customer reviews is the search marketing opportunity they present. Marketers today will realise that content marketing has become one of the primary mechanisms to engage audiences digitally, whether through blogs, social media or even GIFS. Review content can also be thought about in this way, it’s user generated content that prospective customers engage with. What’s more, it’s content that has high authenticity and is widely trusted. For a search engine seeking to present and rank pages with high authority, it makes sense to factor review content into that decision making, and they do.
How reviews can build SEO value
Search engines work according to algorithms that index vast amounts of information to present an ordered screen to the consumer. What a lot of people don’t realise is that review data plays an incredibly important role in how the information is organised. Why? Because Google has correctly identified that user-generated reviews are a great way of determining which sites have high credibility, and has reflected that in its algorithm. In particular, Rich Snippets - the structured data markup of your site’s content - allows better search indexing.
This might seem like a minor adjustment but it typically results in a traffic increase of 35% to those sites that integrate review Rich Snippets in this way. Similarly, review content is also aggregated by Google and used in paid search results. In this context, the accompanying stars are known as Google Seller Ratings and can help you stand out against other PPC ads on the Google search page.
So the humble consumer review can actually be one of your most powerful search marketing weapons; increasing conversions, boosting organic search rankings, generating more clicks and helping your ads stand out.
Differentiate or die? How reviews can help your brand stand out
Online marketing today is all about content. Whether you’re a B2C or a B2B business it’s great content that engages audiences and encourages them into a digital journey that ultimately ends in purchase. Reviews can be a powerful content marketing weapon too. Afterall, authentic customer testimonials have always offered some of the most compelling insights for other prospective buyers, whether that’s online or a chat with a friend in a coffee shop.
Transparency drives conversion
Cart abandonment is one of the biggest issues in the eCommerce industry with an average abandonment rate of 69.23%. We’re all consumers, so we know the feeling of being stuck between three different options after doing extensive research. How can consumers make the final decision?
At a crucial point in the purchasing journey, customers are looking for proof that you’re the right choice for them. Online trust is key and helps customers finally make their decision. By including third-party validation on your website, customers are more likely to trust you and your ads. They’ll also be encouraged to leave positive reviews after having a good experience, further demonstrating your company’s commitment to trust and transparency.
An improvement in your company’s reputation will turn your traffic into revenue. A Harvard study found that a one star rating increase in Google search results and review sites can cause over a 9% increase in sales. Displaying your reviews on your site and ads gives potential buyers more confidence and
Displaying your reviews on your site and ads gives potential buyers more confidence and trust in your business’s product or service. For example, Just Mortgage Brokers found that by integrating customer feedback on their website, they automatically lowered their bounce rate and boosted their conversion rate by 57%.
It’s time to re-frame how your organisation treats its customer reviews, they aren’t just a customer feedback mechanism, they’re actually a rich source of authority for your brand and should form part of a coordinated search marketing strategy.
By Alan Duncan, European marketing director at Trustpilot
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