According to BrightLocal 92% of us read online reviews and 68% consider them a significant trust factor. So as well as building local reputation and trust, reviews can impact your rankings and testimonials can win you in-SERP stars. Many local businesses may also use third-party review sites. But what does all this mean, and what’s the difference?
Third-party reviews are reviews from customers on external sites such as Tripadvisor. Traditional testimonials are snippets taken from a customer and placed direct on your website. The thing is here, you may only choose to display the most positive testimonials on your site. Onsite reviews via website applications now allow business owners to have customer reviews posted directly on their site, often including ratings or stars, or allowing for owners to reply and comment. So there’s lots of options, and Miriam Ellis, local SEO expert at Moz suggests to yield maximum benefits, you’ve got to:
- Know the guidelines and technology
- Have a clear goal and a clear plan for achieving it
- Commit to making a sustained effort
Each site, e.g. Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. has a different set of guidelines in relation to customer reviews and using schema technology. For more detail about this check out the advice from David Deering on this Moz blog.
In terms of defining your goals for your own on-site consumer feedback pages, you will need to do this per city or area if you have more than one location. Here are Mike Blumenthal’s (GetFiveStars’ co-founder and renowned local SEO) top tips for creating your goals.
Be customer focused – make sure your testimonial page is easily accessible and portrays your brand well.
Be Google focused – get your testimonial page ranking well, ideally showing a star rating. You can also have your page showing on the knowledge panel under the ‘reviews from the web’ section.
Check time on page – use your analytics to see how long users are staying on your page – hopefully at least a few minutes!
Be transparent – showing all reviews (good and bad) is critical for customer trust. But, Mike recommends 1. the negative feedback is held back for up to a week to allow for complaint resolution before publishing and 2. that the content meets your basic terms of service and appropriateness.
Respond to reviews – works as great customer service for both happy and unhappy reviewers.
Key to creating the perfect testimonials page are the following factors. For more detail on these, and even more great advice about local SEO and reviews check out what Phil Rozek of Local Visibility System has to say.
- Page is an integral part of the top level navigation
- Welcoming text with nod to honesty and appreciation
- Link to review content policy
- Paginated on-page reviews
- Call-to-action button to leave a review
- Easy-to-read average star rating
- Schema marked-up on-page reviews
- Sample owner response
- Links and badges to third party reviews
- Link to SERP URL featuring all available review sources
- Links to professional reviews
- Handwritten and video testimonials
- Tasteful final call-to-action to leave a review
Ultimately the effort you put into creating this kind of user generated content makes your users happier, as well as Google. If you have a plan in place and set your testimonials page up correctly, it should be easy. Online reviewing has become almost a hobby, so your reviews and content should come along easily. Your job is to provide the service experience and present your customer’s sentiment in the most clear and user-friendly way possible.
Original Source: Moz Blog