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    Online reviews can make or break a company. In addition to negative reviews costing companies sales and public image, even a lack of customer reviews can dramatically reduce a company’s customer engagement and conversion.

    Companies with an online presence must have a review engagement plan to encourage customer feedback, implement positive reviews, and gracefully handle negative reviews. Exults can assist companies with soliciting and handling online reviews to increase their online presence as well as customer satisfaction and new business.

    Asking for Reviews

    Woman looking at customer reviews

    Of course, hiring people to write reviews is dishonest, and Google will respond negatively to such tactics. However, encouraging customers to leave feedback is both valid and encouraged. Companies can post customer reviews on their website and urge customers to leave their own reviews on third-party review sites or through a form on their websites.

    Common review request reminders include adding a reminder after the purchase or sending a follow-up email a few weeks after the purchase. Software – both smartphone apps and traditional desktop applications – have routine reminders for their users to submit feedback either directly to the company or to a third-party review site.

    Positive Reviews Lead to Higher Google Rankings

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    When determining the search result ranking of a page or company, Google performs a deep search on the company and media related to it. Customers who submit reviews for a company yield more hits for Google to investigate. And Google will award higher rankings to companies with multiple honest reviews. (This only applies to genuine reviews; Google will detect generic, false reviews from bots and lower the company’s ranking.)

    Customer Reviews are Free, Fresh Content

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    Roughly 90% of online consumers read customer reviews before visiting a company’s website or going to a brick-and-mortar office. Customers who write about their experiences and their unsolicited reactions and feelings can be a great boon to a company, especially companies that rely on word-of-mouth or do not yet have a sizeable marketing budget. Customer reviews can also help emerging companies establish or solidify their brand or their corporate image.

    Positive Customer Reviews Make for Great Press

    Person clicking on customer reviews

    There is a significant difference between a company claiming that their product is great and a group of satisfied customers praising the company’s products and services. Companies with multiple positive reviews should spread positive reviews to bolster their image. In addition to sharing positive reviews on the company website, companies can include positive reviews in marketing content and press reviews.

    Customer Reviews Generate Long-Tail Keywords

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    Long-tail keywords are terms that help customers find companies with certain specialties or geographic locations. “Needle-free acupuncture” and “free delivery in Chicago” are examples of long-tail keywords that can guide customers to a company that closely meets their needs. Customer reviews with similar terms or themes can create organic long-tail keywords which Google will detect and apply to search results. Although companies should consider which keywords are associated with their company, they should adopt the positive keywords suggested by customer reviews instead of ignoring or resisting them.

    Vitral Reviews Lead to a Conversion Surge

    person looking at customer reviews

    Customer reviews that are memorable, humorous, or issued by a popular public figure can spread quickly over social media sites. A company that goes viral due to excellent customer service and products will receive a significant boost in website visitors, emails, phone calls, and other communications that can lead to new customers and new sales.

    Get Familiar with Google SEO and Major Online Reviewer Sites

    Infographic SEO Search

    There is a difference between buying customer reviews and learning more about the sites that will, directly and indirectly, affect a customer’s search rankings and reputations. Many sites offer plug-ins, tutorials, and similar technical assistance that will simplify the process of companies soliciting feedback. And keeping a watch of what customers are saying can allow companies to adjust their media outreach and marketing efforts to respond to common customer comments, memes, and other online communications.

    Niche Companies Should (Also) Engage with Niche Review Sites

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    Companies with a strong online presence in mainstream review sites have a significant edge over their competitors. However, companies whose products and services are not mainstream and companies with a specific target audience should also look for alternative review sites that closely match their products and services. This can be an essential marketing strategy for companies with a new or unique service or companies with a specialty service.

    Turning Negative Reviews into Strengths

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    “You can’t please all of the people all of the time” applies to companies as well as it does to people. Even companies with well-earned reputations for quality service will have negative reviews. Companies should reply to negative reviews to demonstrate customer engagement.

    Companies’ media liaisons should not let their emotions taint their response; in addition to the appearance of unprofessionalism, companies should seek to calm customers’ anger, not intensify it. Customers should thoroughly research both the complaint and the source as such research can differentiate between a problem with the company and a perpetual complainer (or a bot-generated review).

    Responding in a personal matter is crucial. The response should indicate that the company understands the negative complaint and that the company’s response is not a copied-and-pasted generic reply. When a company can convince a dissatisfied customer to continue the conversation in private venues, the company can more freely work on satisfying the customer without attracting system abusers or damaging their Google search ranking. And when a company can successfully resolve a customer’s issue in a way that satisfies the customer, asking the customer to update their review can mitigate or neutralize the effect of the negative review.

    Exults provides multiple online services for new and established companies. We can help clients manage their online presence on many popular social media sites. Our staff can create new websites from scratch or optimize existing websites for higher SEO rankings. Additionally, we create targeted ads that will increase customer engagement and conversions. Please feel free to contact us by requesting a quote online, filling out our online form, or calling us at 1-866-999-4736.

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