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4 Ways to Get More Online Reviews

shutterstock_221484214You can’t talk local SEO without talking customer reviews. Review sites are a first stop for many consumers, increasingly used instead of search engines. And the most prominent businesses on review sites are usually those with the most reviews. So how do you get enough reviews to be visible?

To a lot of companies, getting reviews can be hard. You can’t buy or bribe reviewers, and there’s a natural tension over whether you’ll end up getting more bad reviews than good. And yet driving customers to review sites is invaluable for getting more sales. That’s why we decided to put together some tips to help you get more reviews, and manage your review site presence well.

But first, one answer we’re not going to give: “Deliver a good product and good service.” This seems to be the favorite advice of a lot of SEO firms, but it’s not actually very helpful. Sure, it holds a grain of truth. Going above and beyond for customers is obviously a good way to generate positive buzz. But the real problem is that even happy customers may not take the time to review you.

So how do you change that and get the reviews flowing? Here are four tips:

  1. Ask for them. Deep down, reviews are just like any other form of audience feedback: you’ll get more if you ask for it. This is why musicians ask for tips at the end of a set and it’s why bloggers ask their readers to comment. Any time you finish a positive interaction with a customer, whether it’s a customer service call or paying at the checkout, ask them if they were happy with their experience. If they say yes, ask them to consider leaving a review on Yelp (or the site of your choice).
  2. Accept and reply to bad reviews. Bad reviews happen, even for the best businesses. And a few bad reviews can even help you, because they give the review site an air of objectivity and legitimacy. (A consistent trend of bad reviews requires asking some serious questions about your business, of course, but a few is not the end of the world.) The best way to handle bad reviews is to reply to them courteously and try to offer to resolve the problem. In other words treat them like any other customer complaint. Trying to resolve problems makes you look good to others reading the review, and it can even lead to more positive reviews when the situation is resolved.
  3. Respond. All the major review sites allow you to respond to reviews (positive as well as negative). This is a powerful tool, and it’s better to err on the side of responding to most reviews. A company that actively engages its reviewers stands out in readers’ minds, and is more likely to make them think of leaving a review of their own.
  4. Integrate reviews wherever possible. As Amazon knows, just showing reviews for a product boosts the number of sales you get. Showing your reviews also encourages more people to write them. You can do this many different ways, from a sidebar widget that shows your reviews on your website, to integrating links to reviews in all electronic communications, to offering tablets with product reviews that customers can browse in-store. The bottom line is, the more you show customers your reviews the more you will get.

If you struggle with developing a good review strategy and mastering local SEO, EverSpark Interactive is here to help. Contact us for a free consultation today.