In working day in and day out with businesses, marketers and online reviews I know firsthand that most care about two main things: rating and quantity.  I don’t think anyone mentions online reviews without commenting on the amount of them they have, the amount they want and their rating. I think those two things are peanuts (gasp!).

Smart Marketers See Reviews As More Than A Number

Ok, maybe not peanuts.  But I’m of the opinion that reviews, both 1st-party and 3rd-party, have an incredible amount to offer a business if they can look past the obvious.  Let me give you a couple of ideas and examples of using reviews to your advantage.

1- Page Titles for SEO

Without getting in the weeds here, many a great SEO benefits from understanding how a consumer thinks, searches and converts.  They use one or more tools to understand search volume around a keyword so that they understand the target.  They then work to craft a great Meta Page Title and Meta Description to lure the click from Google to their page.

So let’s use reviews to build those ideas.  Reviews are written by the exact market you are trying to attract and land.  What matters to that consumer writing the review will often matter to the next customer.

Search through your online reviews and feedback comments from customers and see how they describe your product or service. It just might be a better connection for your next customer to find you.

So when someone leaves your Accounting firm a review like this:

Reviews

I’d use it to write a Title and Meta description like this:

Google serp Fox Tax

That might perform just a little bit better than their current SERP for that page. 😉

2- What Makes The Difference

Your company might have 10, 50 or 500 reviews.  But do you really know what really stands out for a 5-star customer versus a 3-star or 4-star customer?  You should.

Businesses can be so focused on getting reviews and their rating, that much of the comments and content from them are skipped.  I think this is a big opportunity.

For a quick exercise, I took the Google and Facebook reviews for R Taco (I used GetFiveStars to monitor them and download them into a CSV) and set out to see what tips the scales for their happiest customers.   I used the free trial of a AI powered text analytics tool called Ipiphany.ai to analyze almost 500 reviews for R Taco.

The blue circle shows the concentration of terms in 5-star reviews, above their overall rating average (dotted line) of 4.3 stars.

5 star reviews

Here’s what I found:

  • Their happiest customers love Margaritas for $5
  • Their happiest customers love their Baja Shrimp Tacos

An exercise like this will also show you the things that contribute to a poor review like the “amount of food” or the delivery service.

When we look at the review content around margaritas, we see that this truly impacts their happy customers.

reviews

Realizing this, I’d be marketing the $5 margaritas and Baja Shrimp Tacos on the website, in social media and any where I can.

Pro Tip:  Having nearly 500 reviews is helpful to find this type of info … and if you don’t have 500 reviews, start getting customer feedback right away.  ANY business can get direct feedback from their customers in large amounts quickly.  Using a service (like GetFiveStars) can help you get customer feedback with ratings and content to give you the context you need.

 

3- Spread The Customer Love Around

People put all of their focus on Google and Google reviews.  Bad idea.  You want to have solid review profiles at many different review sites that are HIGHLY visible to consumers, including your own website.

When an online marketing tactic get’s hot, people run blindly toward the sun.  3rd-party reviews on Google are important, but they aren’t everything by a mile.

My colleague Mike Blumenthal explains this best through his “Google As The Home Page” theory.  In short, a search for your business on Google will show you exactly what Google thinks is important about your business and what they think a customer feels is important.  Believe me, Google has more than a hunch to work from and they know review sites and content matter.

Here is a search for Matt’s Moving Company in Minneapolis.

Reviews everywhere in Google

You’ll see there are FIVE other review sites beside Google’s own reviews on page one.  Yelp, Facebook, Home Advisor, the BBB, and the YellowPages all have real estate on page one.  Matt’s could go even further by having 1st-party reviews on their own website marked up with Review schema for another search result with stars (massively smart and under-utilized SEO tactic).

You want to make sure you have spread your reviews out if you can.  Having 100 reviews on Google with a 5.0 rating and then 3 reviews on the BBB site with a 2.0 rating could cause a prospect to look elsewhere.  In our example above, Matt’s Moving has a great rating of 4.3 or higher on every site shown, a big win for converting prospects looking into their reputation before contacting them.

The Point Is, Review Your Reviews

My theme here is to stop just counting your reviews and make them count for your business.  A great business uses customer feedback and reviews to learn and improve.  These are just 3 examples of how you can win with reviews past the quantity and rating numbers you might be obsessing over.

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