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Online reviews are crucial for success for any size company. As more and more people are reaching out to Yelp, Google My Business, or even Facebook to find if a company comes recommended from previous customers, you’ll want to know exactly what your online reviews can do for you and how to use them to the most advantage.

With this guide, you will learn more about:

Reviews and Your SEO Strategy

  • See how your reviews online are contributing to your SEO strategy.
  • Understand why positive or negative reviews could be helping or hurting your business.
  • Create a plan for how to use reviews to your advantage in 2017.

The reviews that previous customers leave for you online has the power to help or hurt your SEO strategy. Even with all other components of your SEO strategy in place, too many negative reviews can pull you down into the oblivion of the second or third page of results.

In an effort to ensure users select a business that can provide excellent service, Google uses the reviews posted online to move a company’s listing higher up or further down a list. If a company has consistently positive reviews, they may find their names higher up. A company which consistently delivers poor service may find they are towards the bottom of a list of results, even if they’ve otherwise created a strong SEO strategy.

Reviews and Your Online Reputation

The success of your SEO strategy isn’t the only thing relying on positive reviews. If you have too many negative reviews of your company posted online, it could also be damaging your online reputation.  In fact, 86% to 90% of consumers use reviews to make the final decision when it comes to purchasing a product or service.

Say a potential customer stumbles across a review page for your company. They’re considering purchasing items or services from you, but they want to know if you can give them what they’re looking for. If they see that there are a number of negative reviews but not many positive reviews, they will most likely decide that you aren’t worth doing business with.

More than that, there is a strong chance that they will remember your company name and that you do not provide a reputable service. This may prevent you from doing business with them in the future, regardless of what changes you make.

Using Reviews in Your 2017 Marketing Strategy

As we begin to prepare for our 2017 marketing strategies, we need to consider how our company reviews will come into play. If you want your SEO strategy to perform as strongly as possible, you will need to get a number of positive reviews that vouch for your company, products, and services.

Here are some ideas you may want to include for getting more positive reviews in 2017:

Use Schema Markup

If you’re not already familiar with Schema markup, it allows Google to pull additional information to include in your results listing. Rather than only displaying the meta description for the page, Schema markup shows rich data, including your rating and number of reviews. The use of Schema markup makes it easy for searchers to see how popular your company or products are. Rather than needing to click through to a review page to see how you’re rated, they can view your information right from the results list. While they will need to click through to read the details of each review, they can get an idea of how strong your page is before leaving Google.

Implement Reputation Management

As we already discussed how your reviews posted online could influence your reputation, you will want to incorporate a plan to manage how you are perceived online. While you can’t control the reviews someone leaves and you should never delete a review someone posts of your company, you should understand the proper ways to respond to reviews online. If someone should leave you a less-than glowing review, you will want to develop a strategy for what to do to solve the situation. It may be to respond to the customer and ask them to contact you through a private source, or it may be to apologize for the poor experience. Find what works best for you and your company.

Never Stop Asking for Reviews

There is no set number of reviews that will keep you on the top of your list of results forever. If you are serious about using reviews to push your business into more success, you need to always seek reviews from your customers. Asking for reviews is a simple way to ensure they’re always coming in. When someone has a great experience or leaves your store particularly pleased, let them know how much you would appreciate them sharing their experience with others online. Every few months, consider hosting a review party or other event with the main goal of adding to your online reviews.

Don’t Focus on One Review Site

You may be tempted to focus all your review efforts to one page. While this may help you get a lot of reviews on one site, you want to appear well-rounded. If happy customers are willing, ask them to leave you reviews on more than one review site.

Putting It All Together

Reviews online will continue to be important to your SEO and marketing strategy in 2017. As always, if you want to see your positive reviews grow, you need to provide customer service worth talking about. If you aren’t willing to go above and beyond to show your customers and clients that you are worth doing business with, you shouldn’t expect them to take time out of their busy schedules to leave you a positive review.

Don’t allow your business to miss out on opportunities because you’re not taking advantage of sites like Yelp, Travel Advisor, or Google My Business. Give your SEO strategy a leg up against the competition with these review strategies.

About the Author:

Eric Welke is a Cofounder and the President of RenegadeWorks. RenegadeWorks provides online reputation management software and referral marketing software for small businesses. Eric is passionate about helping businesses succeed in an ever-changing digital world. Follow Eric and the RenegadeWorks team on Twitter @ RenegadeWorks

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