Most business owners and marketers alike understand the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and having a strategy in place to consistently improve it.
Any business with a website or digital presence wants to appear at the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), and there’s a good reason why. The first five organic results from a search inquiry receive 67.6% of all clicks.
If your business has made every effort to stay up-to-date with SEO practices, then it’s important for you to understand the impact of voice search.
Thanks to devices like Siri, Alexa, and Google Home, people are using voice search more than ever. In fact, 42.7% of adults in the U.S. use it on a regular basis.
Customer reviews represent another powerful component of your SEO ranking. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, even if it’s done digitally.
People trust the input of other people who have worked with your business before. So, how are these two areas of SEO linked? What is the importance of voice search as it relates to customer reviews?
Let’s learn a bit more about how customer reviews impact voice search, why reviews are so important in the first place, and what you can do to boost customer engagement to get more/better reviews.
Why Are Reviews So Important?
Customer reviews are one of the most powerful SEO tactics you can use to your advantage. Google employs over 200 ranking signals to rank websites, and reviews are one of them.
Beyond that, customers look at reviews as a way to determine whether or not to trust a particular business or product. In fact, a study done by Bright Local found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews in the same way they would trust a recommendation or review from a close friend.
Customer reviews are a good way to see where your business can improve, as well as what people are enjoying about you. It’s also a great way to collect data. Many companies only analyze about 12% of the data they have at their fingertips.
While reviews might not seem like the obvious way to obtain data, they can be beneficial when you choose to analyze the numbers, including age groups, locations, etc.
It’s not just positive reviews that make a difference, either. Having too many 5-star or “perfect” reviews might actually seem suspicious or fake.
So don’t worry too much about having a few negative reviews online. It makes your business seem real and more authentic.
Take the time to respond to those reviews and try to fix the problem(s). You’ll be showing potential customers that you’re invested, and that you care about their overall experience.
People are looking for connections and relationships with businesses they frequent.
If people see that your business is willing to change — and appear less “corporate” and stiff — they might be more willing to give you a chance or even change a negative review to a positive one.
Showing your personal side through reviews can help your business to stand out above the competition.
The Impact of Voice Search
What’s the first website or app that comes to mind when you think about reviews? If you said Yelp, you’re one of over 100 million people who think that way.
According to Review42, 45% of consumers check Yelp before trying a new business, in order to read reviews and learn more about other people’s experiences.
Because voice search is becoming so prominent, it’s also affecting how people receive reviews. For example, if someone asks Amazon’s Alexa for Thai restaurants nearby, the device will usually give the highest-rated restaurant on Google near them. It will also include information about the business, as well as the average star rating.
Review sites like Yelp have taken advantage of how important voice search is, by integrating with Apple Maps, which can be used when connecting with Siri.
When you search for a business with Siri, you’ll not only get its information and location, but you can see a few of its Yelp reviews. By simply adding your business website to your Yelp listing, you can increase page views by 129%.
Yelp isn’t the only review site people use when it comes to voice search. The following are some of the most popular customer review sites in the U.S. and their Alexa ranking:
- Google My Business — 1
- Amazon — 3
- Facebook — 4
- Trip Advisor — 118
- Better Business Bureau — 647
How to Boost Your Customer Reviews
It’s easy to understand the importance of customer reviews. It’s harder to put a customer experience strategy in place.
It’s crucial to take customer experience seriously if you want to engage your customers, boost your reviews, and increase your spot on the SERPs.
A customer experience strategy involves knowing who your customers are and establishing an emotional connection with them. What better way to do that than by responding to reviews and letting them know they’re being seen and heard?
In order to reap the rewards of reviews, you have to build them up. Even if someone has a great experience with your business, they simply might not think to leave a review.
So, what can you do to boost customer engagement via reviews?
One easy way is to ask them! If they purchased something from your store, send a follow-up email referencing what they purchased and asking for a review of their experience.
You won’t always need to use an incentive, however, they can sometimes be helpful in getting people’s attention to leave a review.
You can get someone to share thoughts and opinions about your business with something as small as a 10% discount off a future purchase.
You can also encourage reviews by showing comparisons. Take a look at your closest competitors and compare your reviews to theirs.
Where does your business excel? Don’t be afraid to showcase those comparisons on your website or social media. It will help potential customers to trust you more and can encourage them to post something of their own on your review page.
People want to be seen and heard. They want to feel as though they can trust the companies they’re buying things from. And people are changing the way they search.
If your business takes the time to jump on board with voice search and capitalizes on the reviews you receive to boost SEO, you can remain relevant in the SERPs. Then you will, in turn, build stronger relationships with interested consumers.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.