What does it mean to have a “good” online reputation?
Ratings matter, of course. So how come your business has a 5-star Google reviews average but no one’s come through the door except a large gust of wind and a FedEx employee delivering the copy of Crime and Punishment you ordered to kill time while waiting to get new customers?
Understand what customers look for in Google customer reviews.
Impressive as 5 stars initially appear, as customers become increasingly reliant on reviews to make purchasing decisions, they get pickier about whom to trust. Several components determine the direction of the consumer decision journey.
After star ratings, review quantity is the second most important factor forming a consumer’s opinion of a business. Most people feel comfortable with businesses that have at least 7 to 10 customer reviews. Okay, so just stack up 7 positive reviews and you’re golden, right? Not necessarily.
Credibility and relevance go hand in hand: a whopping 69% of customers agree a review must be written within 2-3 months to be considered relevant. This makes sense. Who knows what’s changed since the majority wrote about those “Darn good fish tacos” two years ago?
Not only do customers prefer active review pages — Google, too, thinks they’re kind of a big deal. Google scores each web page according to the type of search query used since different searches require different degrees of freshness. Queries about upcoming or recurring events require constant refreshment, as do searches for frequently fluctuating updates like “best washing machine” or “Fiat 500 reviews”.
Since Google expects review pages to be updated frequently, review signals are the fifth most influential factor in search engine rankings for your business.
“Review signals” include not just quantity and freshness of online reviews, but several additional aspects of your company’s review profile:
• Review velocity: the rate at which your business is accumulating reviews, both on each site and overall. Heads up, reviews posted too closely in succession arouse suspicion.
• Review diversity: the number of third-party sites (not Google-owned) you have reviews on, as well as how many Google customer reviews are on these sites. Gather reviews on sites related to your industry — the more relevant sites you’re on, the better.
• Authority of these third-party sites: Google bestows some review sites with greater authority than others
• Volume of testimonials in reviews: This means the reviews used in rich snippets. Check out where this shows up:
• Quantity of Google Maps reviews: This refers to reviews originally posted on Google Maps, where Google’s reviews first started.
• Relevant keywords: Keywords related to your product or service are helpful in moderation–don’t go overboard with stuffing or it’ll come back to bite you.
• Quantity of authoritative reviewers: Some reviewers are more established on certain sites, therefore their posts have more search ranking authority.
Basically, with a steady flow of Google customer feedback on a variety of sites you can build a solid online reputation — as long as you’re providing a customer experience worthy of high ratings, that is. Save Crime and Punishment for a camping trip and start shaping up your review presence, because 5 stars just aren’t enough.