When utilised effectively and optimised correctly, review platforms are incredibly influential in driving traffic and brand conversions.
A good review (or ideally, many good reviews) acts as a stamp of approval for a company’s product or service to potential customers.
This is crucial for online retailers that use reviews as a validation of their product or service – particularly when optimising appearances in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
But just how much of an influence will reviews have on a prospective customer? A study from Podium published in The Drum found that 93% of customers say online reviews impact their purchasing decision, making it crucial for a company to engage with online review platforms.
Going beyond the influence reviews have on customers and considering the SEO implications of reviews, we need to consider:
- How Google uses reviews
- Which review platforms to focus on
- The impact these reviews have
The impact of reviews on customer behaviour is shown in a study carried out by Richard Baxter, measuring click through rates.
The test found that the meta description with a review-rich snippet included (identified by the stars shown in the description) had a click through rate of 26.32%, while the other descriptions tested – sales-driven wording and informative-based wording – had click through rates of 21.52% and 14.93% respectively.
Reviews are crucial to optimise your brand’s search results, so here’s how to go about it:
Google associated review sites
The platforms to be aware of when choosing an integrated review platform are those that have relationships with Google. These sites act as ‘sources of feedback’ to Google in determining reviews and in turn, SERP rankings for your business.
- ECã ã
- Feedback Company
- Shopper Approved
- Trusted Shops
- Verified Reviews
Of course, the review sites that you’re looking to concentrate efforts on maintaining will be those that are in the territories in which your business operates. Taking the UK sites from the Google associated list, we are left with the below:
Positive reviews are a key contributing factor to both the health of your company’s Google My Business profile and your search visibility.
While Google will take signals from the above review sites as indicators for SERP position and rating, a business fails to engage with Google reviews, social media reviews such as Facebook and independent review platforms at its peril.
Within the SERP listing for a branded search for ‘BoConcept Glasgow’ as an example, there are three points on the page dedicated to rating the premium furniture business.
One is within the results as a rich snippet from Facebook’s reviews and two are sections within the Google My Business profile with Google reviews at the top and rankings from independent review platforms Facebook, Houzz and Maclaren Electrical Services (which, incidentally, seems to be mistakenly associated to BoConcept) beneath.
Anyone who was to search for the brand’s Glasgow store would see the rating of the brand from each of these platforms, influencing their perception of the store before they have even visited the website.
Besides Google Reviews and Facebook, which are standard platforms for most businesses to encourage customer reviews upon, Houzz is a more tailored result for the homeware and furniture niche in which BoConcept sits.
Be aware of similar platforms which cater to the specific niche of your business, as Google will likely be aware of these and provide their listings as a variation from the standards.
The best review platforms for SEO
In a SEM Rush blog post written by Jason Barnard, the top review sites for SEO visibility were highlighted, measuring:
- The number of keywords the platform ranks for
- The amount of traffic this generates to the site
- The site’s SEO rank (SEM Rush measure)
The research found Trustpilot to be the top review platform to utilise if you want to increase visibility of your brand on a website upon which your customers can leave reviews.
Each of these review sites are associated with Google, so while Trustpilot harbours the most visibility for SEO, being listed on each of the platforms and gaining reviews on each will be recognised by Google and be pulled into both SERP rich snippets and your Google My Business profile.