User Generated Reviews for Organic Improvement in Search Engine Results

Engaging with Customers can improve your Ranking

Google’s Page Rank Algorithm is being gamed more and more, with more and more sites acquiring back-links paid or otherwise. Added to this Google’s Panda update to down grade poor content. User Generated Reviews are featuring more frequently on Search Engine results pages. This indicates some weight is attached to sites that review higher and the possibility for achieving organic improvement in Search Engine Results.

Google has received much criticism for its search results lately particularly where poor or scraped content targeting advertising revenue features above original content. Apparently there are approximately 200 factors making up the Google ranking algorithm, with back-links especially to sites of authority have been highly weighted, but it has certainly been the case in the past that practically any link is a good link. Quality in both links and content count.

The great thing about organic growth and the improvement of your website, within search engine rankings that there is not the high up front costs of engaging a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) consultant to help you build loads of back links. Depending the professionalism of the consultant you may find your site link to various nefarious place you normally would not be seen dead, and in the longer term may have detrimental affect on your business. This is something you can do yourself with a “little” help from your customers. You have control! Well as much as anyone does, when managing customer relationships.

The world is changing with buzz words like Social and Real-Time featuring heavily. It is also clear that Google has been utilising the results from review sites like Yelp to improve its own results.  Google is now pushing its own product Google Places (amalgamated with Google Hotpot) to crowd-source better results.

So what does this mean to a small/local business? Using an old road safety slogan “Dark means Danger – Get yourself seen!” Encourage customers to review your business by having links to review sites. I have heard of business giving business cards to their clients with the direct URL of their review page. Sure there will be some bad even malicious reviews, but if you have a good product you can gain much benefit from the good ones. So make sure your clients who have benefited from your products and/or services, do you a favour in return. If you don’t ask/ you won’t get!

Design your website so that your reviews are easily accessible, so anyone landing your site can instantly get a good feeling that they are not in unexplored territory, that someone has been there before them, and it is a safe place to be. No lions lurking in your website “jungle” waiting to gobble them up and take their hard-earned cash into the bargain.

So what about the bad reviews? The first question is “Are they justified?” – if yes do something about, fix the problem and reach out if possible to the affected customer. Showing you care will go a long way to restoring the faith of other customers. If they are not justified; still engage with the customer maintain your image. If they are malicious, it depends on the review site, the more responsible will remove the offending review or allow a response, otherwise you are left to your own devises to dilute their impact.

Whilst customers can leave their reviews on a variety of different sites, try to point them in the direction of sites that Google values, and where you can engage with your customers. This should organically improve your search engine ranking, bring in repeat business, and show potential customers that you will value them. Thanking a customer for a good review – it’s good manners and gives future customers an indication of how they will be treated.

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About Eric Hewett

I am an internet programmer, and smallholder. I am really trying to figure out what I can do with Wordpress. A few observations and thoughts which someone on the dark side of the moon might find either useful or interesting.
This entry was posted in Google, Internet, SEO, Small business and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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