You might think that local search engine optimization only extends to content on your own website, but you’ll find local SEO content related to your small businesses throughout the web. One of the most common places to check for it is review sites.
Not only do you need to know what people say about you, you know how to leverage it to make it work for you. Search engines like Bing and Google track your own posts to your site but also track reviews on sites like Yelp, Yahoo and Google. A recent study of 30,000 online businesses showed that over a nine-month period, customer reviews boosted organic traffic. The same study analyzed why reviews benefit SEO and produced five reasons.
The Five Ways Reviews Help SEO
- A review provides new and relevant SEO content to search engines. It provides authentic, consumer-created, value-driven content. Since your customers mention and link to your company online, reviews create organic backlinks for you.
- Review sites use forms that order information in the manner that search engines like – keywords, titles, back-links, and internal links. That results in numerous perfectly formatted posts that increase SEO rank.
- A review provides natural long-tail keywords that help your site rank. These low search competition long-tail keywords make it easier rank highly.
- Each review also contributes to boosting your social SEO, social media optimization (SMO), optimization only related to social media sites. The most significant portion of SMO is built through user-generated content.
- Each review helps with both automatic and manual optimization. Automatic optimization occurs when a search engine algorithm spiders the web for a search term. Manual optimization occurs when a human search quality rater conducts a manual evaluation of a site, analyzing its reputation, for aspects including authenticity, authority, and expertise.
Other Facts to Understand
While your customer service department rightly worries about bad reviews, they will not hurt your SEO as long as they are not the only reviews. It employees manual raters who investigate sites with bad reviews to determine their actual reputation.
In addition other the natural ways it boosts your SEO, you can further leverage the power of user-generated content like reviews by further optimizing it. Search engines have a tough time matching product reviews with product pages due to AJAX, iframes, and subdomains. You can overcome this by embedding review content using HTML code which helps it become in-line SEO. You can also create a mini-site or static webpage containing the product reviews.
The importance of reviews keeps growing. In fact, after the Google local Pigeon update of 2014, your company’s business page on a business directory could rank higher than your actual website. That’s because post-Pigeon, sites like Foursquare, Citysearch, Yelp and YP have greater influence over the rankings.
What to Do
You can do a few things to increase the chances of customers leaving reviews. Each is a simple, non-technical item.
Register with each applicable review site. The top general business sites include Google My Business, Yelp, and YP. Also, register with those that specialize in your area or industry. For example, a restaurant should create a profile on Urbanspoon. Customer reviews on these pages help your SEO efforts.
Make sure your business name and address used on your web site and on each business directory page match exactly. This is a basic of local optimization and it helps the search engines match up the reviews of your business with the official website. Local content has become increasingly important as mobile users increase and search engines tweaked their algorithms to provide local results first. To top the search engine results, you need to optimize locally.
Encourage reviews by letting your customers know that you’re on the site. Yelp provides businesses with free promotional items to help you get the word out that they can leave reviews there.
Monitor mentions of your business using the free Google Alerts. This lets you continually add positive reviews to your mini-site or static page, plus quickly address bad reviews with great customer service.
Getting started with customer reviews to increase your SEO is easy. You probably already have the reviews online. Today’s consumers naturally want to express their opinions on various matters, especially the products they use and the businesses they frequent. Some sites, like Yelp, make it easier than others to promote your business listing on their site. You can easily direct customers to these sites to help yourself obtain more reviews.
Your registration on these sites and presentation of their content on your own website goes a long way toward making them count more toward your SEO ranking. Of course, you do not have to go it alone. At eSasson Studios, we help Miami businesses improve their local SEO every day. Contact eSasson Studios today to discuss your business and make sure you properly implement SEO. We can help you increase your search engine ranking using the reviews you already have, plus grow it further. Get started today.