How do Reviews Affect SEO?
Though many people incorrectly assume that your organic search rankings are only controlled by ranking signals such as social media, backlinks and mobile-friendliness, reviews also carry a bearing on your rank in the SERPs. While it’s true that Google doesn’t have algorithms incorporated into their metrics that evaluate the subjectivity of reviews, they can certainly spot spammy and fake reviews. Having said that, reviews do have the power to help your website rankings through auxiliary factors. If you lack honest and positive reviews on your website and on places such as your Google + page, you should take a closer look at how reviews can help benefit your overall SEO strategy.
Bounce Rate and CTR
One way that reviews help augment your rankings in the SERPs is through decreasing your bounce rate. People tend to place their faith in products and services that have helped other people in the same situation. Customer reviews help bolster the credibility of the product or service your business provides and if people see your reviews and believe them, they will spend more time on your website instead of dismissing it as untrustworthy – thereby improving your rankings by decreasing your bounce rate and increasing your CTR.
People also tend to distrust large corporate entities and more easily identify with those who have similar challenges and problems. Sales and marketing copy can only take you so far, and people are more inclined to trust others that share their perspective. Instead of blindly trusting a business and taking their word at face value, a potential customer is going to be inclined to trust the service that has more positive reviews – even if both companies provide a quality service.
Keywords and Long-Tail Research
There are also a lot of keywords for various industries that follow the same formula when a person wants to see what their peers thought of a specific product or service. The formula for these keywords typically follows the format of product or service name + review, and you could me missing out on a lot of traffic in your industry without targeting these types of keywords. You might also find that some of these long-tail keywords aren’t as competitive as some of the other shorter terms, so it may be easier to rank for them than other highly competitive keywords in your industry or niche.
User Generated Content
Also, if your website is properly indexed and user generated content takes the form of HTML, your reviews can actually add SEO value by boosting ranking signals to the Google algorithm. Though ideally you want positive reviews, even a bad review can help you gain higher rankings if they use the right keywords or product descriptions in their review. This has the potential to snowball if you have a lot of traffic visiting your site that leaves comments, messages, and reviews. And the best part? You didn’t have to lift a finger for the added SEO benefits from the reviews – your visitors did it for you.