Who doesn’t want to increase their website traffic?
Businesses can start a PPC campaign, write blog posts, or engage on social media to meet your goals.
These are all great ways to grow traffic but, they are also the most common. Competition is fierce and if companies are not dedicating a significant amount of time and money into these approaches they will have unimpressive results.
So, is there something that businesses are missing?
According to the big digital marketing bloggers, the answer is online reviews.
Online reviews allow past customers to rate their experience with a company and potential customers to decide whether they trust that company. As a result, online reviews have a significant impact on increasing a website’s traffic.
Online reviews lead to better local search rankings and more referral traffic. Furthermore, positive reviews generate organic traffic.
Local Search Rankings
Every digital marketer and SEO expert knows the value of a high ranking on Google:
high ranking = high traffic
Local searches on Google narrow results to businesses in your geographical area. These ranking are determined by over 100 factors ranging from proximity to engagement on social media.
According to the Moz’s 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, reviews are the 7th most important factor Google uses to determine localized organic ranking.
ReviewTrackers also states that “Google itself has made it clear that reviews can influence local search rankings — and are factored into its algorithms for determining where businesses appear on SERPs.”
Since the search algorithms are not public, the Moz Survey concluded that Google looks at review quantity, review velocity, and review diversity.
- Quantity refers to the numbers of reviews.
- Velocity is the rate that reviews appear.
- Diversity denotes a variety of language in the reviews.
While it’s nice when Google’s algorithm does the work for you, taking a hands-on approach to online reviews also leads to increased traffic.
Referral traffic has two great benefits: more visitors on your site and SEO value.
HubSpot states that “review websites are a great source for getting more referral traffic.” To take advantage of these review sites, you need to submit information about your company or create a profile. If a listing already exists for your company, you can claim it and update the info to make it as accurate as possible.
See if there is a review site for your industry and make sure you get listed. A bonus to this referral traffic is that the customers will be highly qualified.
People clicking a link to a company website from a review site are more likely to be in the buying stage of their journey, and have already shown interest in that company. The more links and clicks a domain gets from referring pages on review sites, the better their chance of ranking high in search engines.
In addition to referral traffic, there is another type of traffic that is improved with online reviews.
Positive reviews in particular have a substantial impact on organic traffic.
As stated in the BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey,“54% of people will visit the website after reading positive reviews.” The explanation given for this action is that people want to learn more about the products and services a company offers before contacting them.
They also say that visiting a business’ website “isn’t surprising because the consumer is already online and typically there’s a link straight to the business’ website.” Thanks to Google Reviews, ratings are visible in the search results. Someone clicking on a link to a company website from Google or a similar search engine will count as organic traffic. The more organic traffic a website gets, the better it will rank in search engines, leading to even more organic traffic.
With so much traffic depending on positive reviews it is important for companies to learn how to encourage customers to leave them.
Given these points, it is clear that online reviews have a big impact on website traffic. They lead to higher rankings in local searches and improved referral traffic. Additionally, good reviews will positively influence organic traffic.
These three benefits all increase website traffic as a whole. Even though businesses have less control over online reviews compared to other methods of increasing traffic, they are a vital part of any digital marketing strategy.
With this information in mind, evaluate your own online reviews and how you can leverage them to increase website traffic.
This article would not be complete without mentioning the two most common problems businesses face when it comes to online reviews.
Are you struggling to get more reviews? Is your traffic being negatively affected by bad reviews?
If so, here is what you can do:
- Ask for reviews from customers
- Respond to negative reviews
Asking for Reviews
While it may seem almost too simple, sending an email to customers asking them to review your company actually works.
In the BrightLocal Survey, 7 out of 10 consumers said they “will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to.”
With response rates that high like that it should be a crime not to follow up with customers. BrightLocal writes that “this reinforces the need for virtually every business to have a reputation marketing strategy” and we could not agree more.
In addition, they advise businesses to be careful when asking for reviews. They state that too many in a short amount of time can falsely signal to sites that the reviews are spam and this could end up hurting your traffic. To avoid this, they say to ask a few customers at a time and track the growth of the reviews.
Be clear about what you are asking and encourage them to be honest. Also, be sure to ask nicely!
Responding to Negative Reviews
Negative reviews are not the end of the world.
Some of the strategies Invesp suggests to use include responding promptly, admitting your mistakes, and highlighting your strengths. They also recommend that you correct inaccuracies and write like a person as opposed to a corporation.
Finally, it is important not to take a bad review personally and attack the person who posted it. Doing so will likely make you look unprofessional and hurt future business.