Reviews and How to Deal With Them in SEO

| November 26, 2015

Reviews and How to Deal With Them in SEO

These days, no one purchases a product or hires a service without checking the reviews first. That’s just a common, widespread habit. To some customers, even one bad review can be a deterrent. To others, a good number of genuine sounding positive reviews are enough to make a purchase. While reviews are considered to be of vital importance for SEO, very few know how to handle them well.

The Type of Business Matters

You might not realize it, but industry determines the influence of reviews. For example, if you run a business that heavily relies on customer service, like a restaurant or a cafe, a bad review can be a big deal. If people post negative feedback of the food or service, it might keep customers away from your establishment. However, if you run a grocery store, most people won’t even bother to check the reviews for your establishment.

The point is that some industries are more affected by buyer feedback than others. Of course, you shouldn’t stop caring about negative reviews about your grocery store if they do appear online. Any negative review, whether relevant or not, should be addressed immediately after you become aware of it. However, when it comes down to search engine rankings, reviews of the restaurant would matter more than reviews of grocery stores.

They’re Not As Important As Other SEO Elements

While reviews are very important, they’re not as important as other elements of your business. This is especially true for rankings. The search algorithm will check things like backlinks, site structure, content, user-friendliness, keywords, etc, before it looks at your online reputation. These need to be your primary focus in the beginning. One might consider these a very basic foundation of SEO. Once you have laid the foundation, you can build your reputation with reviews and other available mediums.

If the foundation isn’t right, eventually that’s going to affect your client’s feedback as well. For example, if your site is very slow to load and isn’t easy to navigate, not only would you rank low in the SERPs, people who visit your website would write negative things about it. So have the basic elements in place before you start to look at improving reviews.

The Importance of Reviews

Until this point, this article has focused on showing you that customer feedback might not be as important as you first assumed. However, you mustn’t forget that they are important. Here are some reasons why:

  • They have a great impact on local searches. For example, if a customer is searching for ‘great bookstore in Cape Town’, Google will display results with the most number of positive reviews at the top of the SERP.
  • Potential customers will always check published reviews before they make a decision. This means that even if your company ranks among the first few results, if customers have rated unfavorably, people will look elsewhere.
  • More reviews lead to more business, which would lead to more reviews. This is a cycle that would only increase your reputation overall.

So while obsessing over ratings and ignoring other aspects of SEO wouldn’t get you anywhere, ignoring it isn’t recommended.