6 Smart Ways to Generate More Positive Reviews

6 Smart Ways to Generate More Positive Reviews

positive reviews -- man pointing to five stars as a customer review

We have 6 tips for you to generate more positive reviews in a smart way. Who doesn’t love receiving positive reviews from a satisfied customer? Every business owner knows the value of positive reviews – and they’ve never been more important than they are right now.

Did you know that more than 80% of all consumers say that they trust a product review from a stranger as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend. Not only that, people trust user reviews more than the official descriptions of products.

If you’re thinking of customer reviews as something that you can’t control, think again. Business owners can do a lot to encourage reviews – and of course, you can increase the chance that you'll have mostly positive reviews by providing excellent quality and service.

Still, those things aren’t enough. You can’t afford to sit back and hope that customers leave reviews of your business.

Fortunately, you don’t have to take a backseat to your customer’s whims. Here are six smart ways you can get more positive reviews online.

#1: Email Customers After a Purchase

Do you send customers an email after they make a purchase?

I’m not talking about the confirmation email where you send them an order number if they order online. I mean an email where you specifically ask them how they like your product and request that they write a review.

This is a practice that’s become increasingly common – and for a good reason. Some people automatically leave reviews for everything. They’re the well-known Yelpers who have thousands of reviews.

Many people need a reminder. They’re not going to leave a review of their own accord – but they just might if you ask them nicely. This is the review version of the call to action on your website. It’s a specific request to take a specific action.

Try sending your review request email a week to ten days after the purchase. That way, the customer will have had a chance to use your product and may be ready to offer an opinion.

#2: Empower Your Employees to Ask for Reviews

Sometimes, making the right request at the right time is all it takes to get the reviews you want. That’s why it makes sense to have your employees ask for reviews.

Some Uber drivers do this. Just before they arrive at their passenger’s destination, they ask about the review. The simple request puts the idea of leaving a review in the customer’s mind and greatly increases the chances that they’ll comply and leave a review.

Why ask at the point of service? When a customer has just made a purchase or used your service, the experience is fresh. A cashier who provides a friendly checkout and some banter is ideally placed to ask for a review because they have an opportunity to build rapport with the customer.

If you decide to use this method of getting reviews, consider printing cards asking for reviews and putting links to your review pages on your website. You don’t want customers to be confused about what to do – so eliminate the guesswork and you’ll reap the rewards.

#3: Use a Reviews Provider

Are you selling products from well-known brand names? If you are, you might benefit from using a reviews provider like Bazaarvoice or JVI Mobile to build up reviews on your product page.

The benefit of using these providers is that they can get you a bunch of reviews at once. They’re real reviews from real people and they can give your page instant credibility.

The downside is that the reviews aren’t from your customers. They’re from people who have bought the product – and they’re all verified. That’s the good part. The less-great part is that they can’t and won’t be providing reviews of YOUR business, including your ambience, customer service, and other key drivers of business.

These providers are a good option for start-up businesses because they can make your website appear to be well-established and popular. As you go, you can supplement the reviews you get through a service with new reviews from your customers.

#4: Try to Get a Google Local Guide to Review Your Company

Google Local Guide is a program owned by Google that designates certain reviewers as local experts. The process of getting a local guide can be a complex one, but here are some tips to help you do it:

 Make sure your Google My Business listing is up-to-date and active

 Join Google Local Guides on your own – you can write reviews of local businesses and raise your visibility provided you don’t use the platform to promote or favor your business

 Attend local events with other guides

 Invite other guides to come to your business

This isn’t a quick fix, but the nice thing about Google Local Guides is that when a local guide reviews your business, their designation shows up in the review and that gives it more weight than it would have otherwise. Another benefit is that Google requires guides to use their real names, so there’s less of the anonymous ranting that shows up on Yelp.

#5: Automate the Asking Process

If there’s a way for you to automate the process of asking for reviews, why wouldn’t you do it?

Automation means that there’s no worry that a stressed-out employee will forget to ask. It turns the process into part of your customer service – a hands-off way of encouraging customer feedback and garnering the kinds of reviews you want.

Here are a few suggestions to help you automate your system:

 Set up an autoresponder to send an email requesting a review. Instead of manually sending those emails, link the date of a customer’s purchase to their email and have it go out on schedule. If you link customer purchases to your email marketing provider, you can rest easy knowing that every customer will get a request for a review.

Print up review request cards and put them in the customer’s bag at checkout. This method eliminates the need for your cashier to ask for a review, and makes it simple to do even at times when you’re busy and have a line at the register.

 Put review links on your product pages. That way, when a customer makes a purchase they can easily read reviews of it – and it may help to remind them to leave a review after their purchase.

Automating your review request system makes good business sense because it eliminates the guesswork.

#6: Set Up a Review System in Your Company

Even if your business is small, you shouldn’t fly by the seat of your pants when you’re requesting reviews. The method you use to ask for reviews should be part of your company’s standard operating procedures.

Your review system should:

 Specify whose job it is to ask for reviews

 Specify the language to be used when requesting a review

 Specify methods to be used (email, conversation, links and printed cards, to name a few)

 Specify the timeframe for requesting reviews

 Lay out procedures for responding to both positive and negative reviews

If you codify your system for requesting and managing reviews, you can be sure that there isn’t any confusion and that customers always get the request you want them to get.

Don’t Sweat the Negative Reviews…

We’ve focused here on garnering positive reviews for your business, but don’t get too stressed about negative reviews. If you handle them properly, they can help your business too!

Respond quickly and graciously and offer solutions. Don’t get defensive. Many businesses use negative feedback to demonstrate that they care about their customers.

If you’re getting so many reviews that you’re having trouble keeping up, you may want to consider using an online review management system to help you – and having too many reviews is the problem you want to have! That’s how businesses grow.

Can Reviews Affect Your SEO Rankings?

Can Reviews Affect Your SEO Rankings?

Can Reviews Affect Your SEO Rankings? You already know that local SEO is the name of the game. It’s essential to send Google signals – through keyword use and other SEO techniques – that your business is local. You also want them to know who it serves and where it is.

What you might not know is this:

Your online reviews play a direct role in your business making the cut to appear in the Google local three-pack.

In case you don’t know, that’s the collection of businesses that appear at the top of Google’s SERP when someone searches a keyword. It turns out that one of the keys to landing a coveted spot in the three-pack is getting good reviews. Here’s what you need to know.

The Proof That Reviews Matter

How can we tell that reviews make a difference in SEO rankings? Google’s algorithm is proprietary and the known ranking factors (keywords, links, and Google Rankbrain, to name a few) don’t include reviews.

Local SEO experts have been saying this for a years, but it’s actually fairly easy to see that reviews are important. Google any local business category and you will get a list of results with a three-pack at the top. When you look at the businesses that made it into the three-pack, you’ll most likely see the following:

  • Star ratings pulled directly from online reviews of the business
  • Keywords in those reviews

For example, if you searched for the keyword “Spokane hair salon,” you would see reviews that related to that keyword. That’s all the proof we need to know that reviews make a difference in determining which businesses appear at the top of the SERP.

It’s also worth noting that the Local SEO Guide found that local reviews were the second most influential factor in determining search rank in their 2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors study. The influence in this study appeared to be limited to reviews that specifically included the keyword searched. Customers, however, are likely to use the most commonly searched terms naturally.

In addition, LSI keywords that are related to the search term may also play a role. Try Googling your top keyword and looking at what’s highlighted in the reviews in the three-pack. You may notice that reviews that use semantically-related words show up even if they don’t use the precise term you searched.

Reviews Affect Your SEO Rankings
Photographer: henry perks | Source: Unsplash

The Reasons Google Likes Reviews for SEO Rankings

There are some concrete reasons that Google thinks reviews matter. They’re directly related to the ways that Google’s algorithm has evolved. In the early days of the internet, it was possible to get a page to rank highly on any search engine by stuffing it with keywords.

That changed because it omitted any concern for the experience of a user who clicked through to a site. After all, if you could click on a site because it ranked for a keyword only to find that it was useless to your needs, you wouldn’t revisit it. You might even resent the search engine that directed you to it in the first place.

With that in mind, here are:

The Top Three Reasons Google Likes Reviews for SEO Rankings

  1. It trusts outside sources more than it trusts you (at least when it comes to the relevance of your site.) This first reason is related to the ongoing importance that Google places on authority backlinks. It stands to reason that it would accept mentions and references from other sources as proof that your site is relevant to certain keywords and topics.
  2. Google uses written content as a way of determining authenticity. When customers write reviews, they describe your business. They may even include information that’s not on your website. Even if you don’t list reviews on your site, these things can help flesh out the information on your site and give Google more context for its interpretation of your site.
  3. Click-through rates also influence Google’s ranking algorithm. That might seem obvious, but what you need to know is that a business with lots of good reviews is, inevitably, going to get more clicks and traffic than a business with a few mediocre reviews. It’s in your best interest to encourage reviews if you want to boost your Google rank.

These three things explain why reviews matter to Google. The key takeaways here is that Google takes outside resources into account to help it determine the authenticity and usefulness of your website. Users “vote” for your site by writing reviews and describing your site. Just as web users trust peer reviews to help them make buying decisions, Google trusts them to help it make recommendations of which sites are most likely to be useful for the keyword searched.

How to Make the Most of Your Reviews

Here are some quick tips to help you make the most of your reviews:

  1. Claim your listings on all relevant review sites. This includes Yelp and Google My Business, as well as local review sites. You want to make sure that you use keywords in your listing, link to your site, and include relevant information that will help people find you.
  2. Link to your review pages directly from your website so customers can leave reviews if they want to.
  3. Put a reminder about reviews on your receipts or comment cards. Remember that dissatisfied customers are often motivated to leave reviews, but happy customers will do so if you make it easy for them.
  4. Send a note to your email list with a link to your review sites and ask them to leave a review.
  5. Reply promptly to negative reviews to try to resolve them and get the reviewer to update their review.

These things will help you dial up the impact of your reviews and help you get into the coveted local three-pack for your most important keywords.

Reviews matter…

You know that, and now you can do something about it. Organic traffic is increasingly difficult to come by but encouraging and highlighting your reviews can help you get the biggest possible bang for your marketing bucks.

To learn more about how we can help generate more reviews that will positively impact your SEO rankings, fill out the form below and we will reach back out to you.