Can online reviews affect your website rankings?

In the financial and healthcare world, online reviews are a big part of the consumer decision-making process.  We all know that good reviews can boost your profitability, and poor reviews can do harm. For these reasons, it’s essential for advertisers to vigilantly track and manage their online reputations.  But how do online reviews affect your search engine rankings and your overall online performance?

Better rankings on Google mean more website visitors, which in turns means more business.  Can your online reviews affect where you show up in the Google pack?  The overall answer is yes.  Good reviews are a signal to an advertiser’s trustworthiness and authority.  When you’re in an incredibly competitive environment, reviews can be a critical part to differentiating your business and standing out. 

When a business boasts a significant number of positive reviews, it can have a direct impact on your website rankings.  According to a recent Moz survey, online reviews are believed to contribute as much as 13% to your local rankings (those next to the map) and 7% to your organic rankings (those below the map.)  These findings demonstrate that the consumer’s voice is more important than ever, and its’ being heard in your rankings.

How can you utilize reviews to improve your website rankings and your online performance?  Start by creating a page on your website for your patients or customers to post reviews.  This benefits you in a number of ways.  First of all, the search engines look for fresh content.  By allowing reviews to be posted on your website, you’re accumulating new and fresh content on a regular basis – without any extra work.  Not only does this contribute to your SEO strategy, but it will help you connect with your target audience and grow your business.

Reviews can also reduce your bounce-rate (the percentage of web visitors who leave after the home page.) After all, online visitors trust user-generated content.  By providing a section of your website for this, you can keep visitors on your website for longer periods.  In addition, you’re likely to be increasing your conversion rate at the same time.

There are a number of other things you can do to help increase your online performance with reviews. Take a look at the third-party websites in your category that post reviews.  Your target audience is likely visiting these sites, so be sure you have a presence there.  Next, put together a process to promote your reviews.  Find software that gathers your best reviews from your website, third-party websites and social media and create a strategy to promote them. Finally, be sure that you’re actively responding to the best and worst reviews in timely, positive manner.  Make sure anyone reading your reviews comes away believing that patient or customer satisfaction is a top priority.

In conclusion, you can be doing a great job with a financial or healthcare advertising campaign, only to have your efforts derailed by online reviews.  Place a priority on reviews, and make reputation management a part of your marketing strategy.  Not only will it help bring in more business, but will improve your rankings in the search engines.




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