Having a positive online reputation is essential for SEO. An easy way to generate some good mojo is to set your company up on online directories. These channels often allow for reviews, creating an opportunity for online interaction. Getting SEO value out of these interactions is easy with a few best practices.
Where You Need to Have a Presence
There are thousands of online directories and you can’t possibly manage reviews on all of them. If I were to choose two online channels besides the social media stalwarts (Facebook and Twitter), my choices would be Google+ and Yelp.
You may have noticed that the star ratings from Google+ often appear in search results. You may have also noticed that results with a greater abundance of Google+ reviews are weighted towards the top. Enough said.
Encourage the Right Kind of Review
Search engines spider online reviews. This means two things for you – reviews can be displayed as search results and they can influence keyword rankings.
Even your best customers aren’t likely to review your business out of the goodness of their heart. They need a little kick in the right direction. Remind your customers to post reviews after purchase and incentivize them to do so. Whether it’s a discount off a future purchase or a form of recognition, people need a reason to dedicate their time to your cause.
I would never recommend posting fake reviews, but I do encourage that you remind customers to mention the specific product or service they purchased. Not only will this help potential customers in making a purchasing decision, but it will help search engines to rank you for relevant keywords.
Address Negative Reviews
Even worse than a negative review is one that goes un-responded to. You can’t control what people say about your company or brand online, but you can influence the conversation.
When responding to a negative review, encourage the conversation to move offline by requesting a phone call or email exchange with the unsatisfied customer.
How does this help SEO? Well, this is more indirect, but valuable nonetheless. When reviewers see that you reach out to unhappy customers, they’ll think more highly of your company. This will influence positive future reviews. A better online reputation is good for SEO.