The marketing world has been turned upside down in recent years. Among other changes, the explosion of social media coupled with sophisticated online targeting have forced marketers to work smarter. And now, just when we thought we had it figured out, search engine optimization (SEO) techniques have drastically changed (again!).
Old SEO algorithms made it easy. All we had to do was set key words, meta tags and title tags and, BOOM, your site was ready to go. Later on, social media links and blog updates helped your site achieve a higher organic—or unpaid—rank. Now, online reviews are also playing a more relevant role in how your site ranks.
Google considers reviews, in addition to location, when displaying businesses on Google Maps. The volume of reviews can influence where you will appear in Google Map results.
Also, reviews now can automatically appear when people Google you. Therefore one of the first impressions a consumer may have of your product or business is the reviews they see during their initial search.
Some review sites even use “most reviewed” or “highest rated” in their search criteria and Facebook has added a review area to encourage feedback.
How does this affect your SEO efforts? Reviews provide regularly updated content. Reviews also provide an opportunity to communicate with your customer. Google (and other search engines) see these types of communication as new information and—since they place a lot of importance of new information when ranking websites—reviews can certainly help optimize your site to obtain a higher ranking.
What does this mean for marketers? If you want to appear high on the search results page, long gone are the days of the “set it and forget it” website. The more interaction you can provide via social media, blogs and reviews, the better you will look to Google algorithms and—by extension—the higher you will likely rank.
So resolve to put together a plan to utilize reviews to collect feedback. Start 2016 by asking your customers to write a quick review and—just maybe—watch your search results ranking improve.