Last updated on January 13th, 2023
After over 8 years of working as a digital marketer, I’m pretty confident when it comes to SEO and how it works. As a result, I often get questions around SEO and what can businesses do to help boost their search engine results page rankings.
One question I had recently was whether or not responding to reviews helped SEO. So, I thought I would share my thoughts and answer here to help clarify how SEO works – especially when it comes to reviews.
How SEO Works
First, I need to run through the basics of SEO.
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SEO stands for search engine optimization and it involves numerous strategies which businesses use to help make their website (and thus their business) more visible online.
The higher a website ranks on search engines, the more likely it will gather web traffic as 95% of web traffic goes to the websites that appear on the first page of search engine results, and 67% of clicks go to the top five websites.
The more web traffic a website receives, the more potential customers find your business.
To improve your website’s ranking on search engines, you need to optimize your SEO to meet the criteria set by search engines.
Google itself uses over 200 factors to rank its results and these involve factors such as how fast your website loads, how many backlinks it has, and what type of content it offers.
How Online Reviews Help SEO
Customer reviews have a lot of impact on businesses.
Firstly, they provide important feedback for your businesses so you can highlight areas that need improvement so you can provide your future customers with a better experience in the future.
However, reviews also have an impact on the customers themselves and your business’s branding.
93% of customers say that online reviews affect their purchasing decisions, so the more positive reviews your business has online, the more likely potential customers will make a purchase.
74% of consumers also say that reviews help increase their trust in a company and 86% of users have said they think twice about making a purchase from companies with negative reviews.
However, online customer reviews can actually help boost your website’s SEO – but how?
While reviews are proven to help build trust between customers and your business, they also help search engines like Google to build their trust in your business.
Basically, the more people who talk about your business online, the more search engines will begin to view your website (and your business) as a legitimate business and because of this, they will begin to recommend your website more often to its users.
A great way to get people talking online about your business is through reviews!
Another way reviews help your website’s SEO is because they can provide backlinks. Backlinks help improve your website’s trustworthiness for search engines as other websites are willing to talk and link back to your business.
As a result, 46% of businesses spend an average of $10,000 on SEO link building – but online reviews can help you by providing links for free.
According to a report from ReviewTrackers, 4 websites are responsible for 88% of online review distribution. These are Google (73%), Yelp (6%), Facebook (3%), and TripAdvisor (3%).
What this means is that by encouraging people to leave reviews online, you can use these websites as backlinks to your actual website.
So, online reviews have a lot of impact on your business and your website’s SEO. A report from Moz actually revealed that review signals account for about 15% of SEO ranking credit on Google – but does responding to these reviews actually help your SEO?
Does Responding To Reviews Help SEO?
89% of consumers actually read the responses left by businesses to reviews they receive, so they definitely have an impact on your business even before we get to SEO. Despite this, only 54% of businesses say they respond to positive reviews.
Responding to reviews is a great opportunity to boost your business’s brand. You can thank the customer who left positive reviews and this can make them feel more appreciated, which in turn can boost customer retention.
82% of businesses agree that customer retention is less costly than customer acquisition, so keeping your customers can help cut costs and improve your profit margin.
As for responding to negative reviews, 56% of customers say that a company’s response to a review can change their opinion on the business.
Basically, this is your chance to step up your customer service, apologize for the negative experience, and try to make it right.
So, as a business, you need to be responding to reviews, both positive and negative, in order to improve your customer retention and save your business’s reputation.
As for SEO, responding to reviews helps prove to Google and other search engines that your business is legitimate. Search engines can see that you have interacted with customers in a meaningful way and your response helps diversify your reviews.
Your response also helps keep reviews relevant as search engines prioritize websites and businesses with more recent reviews. The longer your business goes without a review, the more likely search engines will assume your business no longer exists.
Plus, these responses still count as other ‘websites’ discussing and linking back to your business, making it even more trustworthy to search engines. So, your response is just as useful as a review when it comes to your website’s SEO.
So, responding to an online review does indeed help boost your website’s SEO which in turn, helps it rank higher on search engines results pages to attract more traffic and potential customers.
Even if you are not concerned about SEO, you should still be responding to online reviews. They provide you with useful feedback for your analytics, and they give you an opportunity to directly interact with your customers.
This can help you improve your customer retention rate, lower customer acquisition costs, and boost your businesses’ revenue!
So, in my opinion, responding to online reviews is a must for businesses!