Customer feedback has a bigger impact than ever on the visibility of sales outlets and brands online. According to the 2016 Local Search Ranking Factors report by Moz, customer feedback is now one of the 5 main factors which influence a brand’s positionning in Search Engines.
No matter whether you have an e-commerce platform or a showcase site, the more customer reviews you gather and publish, the higher your authority score will be and the better your positioning. Furthermore, when you publish customer reviews on your website, they can show up as stars in your search results, and contribute to attracting attention towards your brand.
Three solutions can be chosen to “feed” Google customer reviews and improve your referencing in search engines :
To reassure prospects looking for information about your business before visiting your store, you can choose to collect and publish your customers’ reviews through your own means.
To do so, you can use an online survey tool (such as WizVille, Survey Monkey or AreYouNet), and ask your webmaster to display them on your website. Some technical sills are required.
It should also be pointed out that consumers are increasingly cautious towards online reviews, especially when they are published by the brand itself. They will always wonder whether you are hiding negative or unflattering feedback.
2. Independent platforms
You can also ask your customer to share their feedback on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Booking or Google Maps, following an experience with your brand. This will not only improve your stores’ online visibility on these websites but also on search engines. To do so you can use in-store signs or simply remind them that they can leave a comment as they leave your store after checkout.
The major drawback of these platforms is that any webuser can leave a review. The reputation of these websites is therefore often tarnished by high levels of fake reviews, even though this is more often than not beyond their control.
Though this solution will work for some, it could also work against you if too many glowing reviews are posted or if competitors start posting negative reviews about your business…
3. Unbiased third-party verification
It is also possible to rely on independent third parties, whose sole function it is to collect and publish reviews from your customers, regardless if they are positive or negative. Most respect the French AFNOR standard on consumer feedback : reviews are only published once proof of purchase has been given, and no fake reviews are able to get through the system.
50% of consumers say the feel reassured by brands who use third party verification to make their reviews more reliable.
Some players specialised in e-commerce have been around since 2010. They include Fia-Net, eKomi or Avis Vérifés.
Wizville edits a customer feedback solution for points of sales and launched trusted third-party TrustVille in 2016.
TrustVille meets AFNOR’s customer review standard and was specifically designed for brick and mortar stores and local professionals : positioning a local business on Search Engines is a very different matter to e-commerce…
Independent third party platforms have the benefit of boosting customer review credibility by avoiding fake reviews and will collect, moderate and publish reviews instead of you, both on your website and on Google, but also, in the case of TrustVille directly in your store:
In conclusion : there is plenty of choice!
Depending on your budget and specific requirements, you can choose from (or combine!) these three solutions, which will all contribute to boost your naturel referencing. The third option has the added bonus of bringing credibility to your customer reviews.