In the age of digitization, the online reputation of your business is critical to success. A key aspect of online reputation is user-generated reviews. It is important to ensure that even satisfied customers express their opinions. Otherwise, there is a risk that the overall impression of your user ratings will be unnecessarily poor, though perhaps the majority of your customers will be satisfied.
Because we all know that: You spend a nice evening in the restaurant and everything was exactly as you had imagined. Will you sit down then and take the trouble to write a review? That’s unlikely. However, if the waiter dallied, the food was cold and the bill too high, then the probability is much higher that you write a bad rating at home or just awards a star.
Businesses should start to pursue a strategy to improve the online reputation of their business as soon as possible with the help of user reviews.
How important are user ratings?
When searching for a product or service, most consumers will consult Google. Here you can find the company’s website and read what the provider writes about himself. However, it will be difficult to convince a consumer to buy. On the other hand, opinions and experiences of other customers have much more power of persuasion.
A customer’s voice has a much greater weight than the voice of the company itself, and positive feedback from customers is a great way to build a good online reputation in a short space of time.– By Martin Müller, XING Marketing and Networking Specialist
In a survey conducted by Podium , 60 percent of survey respondents said they viewed online reviews at least once a week. Search Engine Land reports that 72 percent of respondents trust user ratings as much as friends and family recommendations. Capterra conducted a survey on the comparison portal to examine the importance of user reviews in the purchase decision. For 59% of the respondents reviews are critical for the decision for business software.
Strategies for building an online reputation with reviews
There are several strategies that are suitable for building an online reputation through reviews. These are divided into short-term and long-term measures.
1. Short-term measures
Companies should first write to their well-known satisfied customers and ask for a rating. Thus, they initially collect positive reviews. To motivate the customers to give a rating, for example, vouchers can be awarded.
Martin Müller recommends that you collect a base of 40 positive reviews, as this number creates credibility and a potential unexpected rating is not so significant.
2. Long-term measures
In the long term, companies should focus their reviews on one or a few portals. By focusing, companies can pursue a clean strategy for their online management. If companies leave their customers the choice of platform, they run the risk that reviews end up on Google, Facebook or Yelp. If a positive rating is on the wrong portal, it loses its usefulness because it is not found by the target group. Furthermore, companies have no influence on portals such as Facebook and Google. Bad or wrong valuations can make it difficult for companies to tackle them.
3. Review sites
Industry-specific rating portals are playing an increasingly important role. For service providers, for example, the platform Google My business is suitable for local shops, for restaurants Yelp is the right place to go, for online shops Amazon, travel providers should be rated on TripAdvisor and doctors on Practo. Platforms should always be chosen to check the origin of the rating. Furthermore, portals should be preferred which have a dispute resolution and proceed in a regulated procedure against fake reviews.
The right way to handle negative reviews
A negative review does not always have to be bad. It can be used as an opportunity to demonstrate to customers that you can handle criticism and use negative feedback as an opportunity to improve. Often a professional approach to negative reviews increases credibility and looks more confident than a company that has received only positive feedback.
It is particularly important to respond quickly to the reviews, to respond in a neutral and friendly manner, to apologize if necessary, and to ask the happy customer to revise their review if the error is corrected.
How do reviews improve your visibility?
User reviews are usually not the first thing companies think about when it comes to SEO. However, reviews should get more attention – especially when it comes to local business.
One of the most sought-after rich snippets in Google’s local search results is the Local Pack: three highlighted, map-based search results. For example, if I’m searching for “pizza,” Google will use user ratings as the ranking factor, and I will primarily see restaurants that have been rated well.
In the Local Search Ranking Factors Report 2017 by SEO Company Moz is reported that rating also determined (number, frequency and variety of rates) as one of the five most important factors that determine whether companies are listed on the Local Pack.
According to Moz, online reviews, in addition to backlinks, keywords, usability, etc. account for 13% of the factors that bring companies into Local Pack results.
But reviews also play a crucial role for online companies. If a website receives links from other relevant sites, Google rewards them with higher visibility. User ratings have a similar effect.
When your website is rated by customers, Google sees others interacting with you and helping potential customers with future decisions. User reviews will continue to include keywords that will help your company’s SEO efforts. Anyone who writes a review for you will help you unconsciously with content and keywords.
As is known, SEO rankings are also influenced by click rates. There will be more people clicking on your website if it has a high average rating. Only 13% of consumers will land , according to Search Engine Consider buying from a company with a 1- or 2-star rating.
Strengthen your online reputation, increase your credibility, and increase your visibility and reach by pursuing an active strategy for collecting reviews. For support, you can use Review Management and Online Reputation Management Tools.
Review Management Software helps companies collect user ratings and respond to negative feedback. With online reputation management tools, companies can track what is being said about them and their products in various blogs, social networks and media, and measure consumer reactions to marketing campaigns.