It’s hard to utilize a service provider or make a purchase these days without receiving a request to leave a review regarding your experience. However, reviews are more than a pesky reminder that you receive from your mechanic or at the bottom of your receipt. They are also valuable collateral in your brand strategy as well as very beneficial to your local SEO efforts, to ensure that your business is top of mind, well-regarded, and visible to all during organic search.
Here are the three primary considerations you should be making while updating—or implementing—your review management process.
- Quantity matters. As the significance of reviews in both reputation management and organic search factors has increased, so has the recommended baseline number of reviews for a company. Reviews are a critical factor in your local pack rankings. According to Local SEO knowledge base BrightLocal, the average number of reviews for local businesses across categories is 53. For the solar industry, we recommend at least 75 reviews. A proactive review solicitation strategy is key to ensuring that you have a consistent flow of new reviews generated. If you solicit everyone—not just choice or select customers—you increase your odds of response volume. In the event of a poor review (it happens to everyone!) make sure to respond quickly and even-handedly to ensure positive customer sentiment from those who observe your response. Ideally, an in-person ask immediately upon completion of the job is most effective in terms of participant response; but if that doesn’t work for your team, a review request via email once you’re back in the office is useful as well.
- Diversity matters. According to a survey conducted by Moz, 46% of participants search for reviews first when researching a company online. It is important to understand where it best benefits you to have reviews populated, beyond Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Google remains a priority due to clout, ranking factors, and the presence it affords in search. For solar contractors, we then recommend Facebook, EnergySage, Solar Reviews, and HomeAdvisor as the platforms to which you should look next to build your review base. This widens your audience and increases your overall chance of being reviewed, as customers have more options for review outlets. If you’re curious about checking in to see how your reviews may be impacting your performance, you can check your Google Analytics account to see which review sites are already sending traffic to your site.
- Keywords matter. Through client benchmarking and research, we have discovered that the keywords within the review text drive organic search as an increasingly important ranking factor. When more and more of the most important keywords begin to show up in review text, we can correlate that to improved rankings organically and in the Google Local Pack. To check on how your performance correlates to your preferred keywords, do a quick Google search for your key services and geography to see how you’re ranking and how reviews—and their contents—may be impacting that ranking.
Like any quality digital marketing strategy, review management is a long game. Fostering quality reviews in any quantity will take time and patience. However, with a proactive review solicitation approach and understanding of your success factors, review management can become a strong, integral component of your organic optimization tactics.