We, in the SEO industry, are always worried about one thing, and that is, how to protect our companyâ€™s reputation. Being in the online industry means there is always some risk for your website. Sometimes, there are security threats including malware attacks, phishing attacks and other fraudulent practices that attempt to steal critical information and data. Other times, there are real humans (mostly competitors in the industry and frustrated or annoyed customers) that post negative comments or reviews about the company on various online review platforms.
So, the point is you can get some constant headache and pain at all times.
But nobody wants to take headache, right? Especially, when that headache is unnecessary and can be easily avoided.
So, in this post, we will learn how you can reduce or even eliminate your headache by turning negative online reviews into some real SEO advantage. Yes, that is possible. Sometimes, negative online reviews posted against your company brand can help leverage your SEO score. Letâ€™s explore the details.
Too many positive reviews is bad
Your potential customers would want to conduct a research about your business before making their purchasing decision. They would want to look at the reviews or feedback left by people who have dealt with your business before. Itâ€™s a normal human tendency to doubt the credibility of a brand when we see too many positive reviews.
Â If all the reviews say positive things about your business, products and/or service, that creates doubts in mind. If they see all positive reviews, 9 out of 10 times they wonâ€™t trust you and want to stay away from dealing with you, because they know that business brands pay people for posting positive reviews about their company.
Number wise, a rating of 4.5 or 4.7 looks more credible than a full 5-star rating (according to a ReviewINC study).
This means that an ideal rating always includes more positive reviews and some negative reviews as well. That way, the authenticity and trustworthiness of your business brand increases. And this is so true even in the offline world.
What ReviewINC survey says
According to a survey conducted by ReviewINC in January this year, 65% of customers do not leave negative reviews about the brand when they have a bad experience.
Itâ€™s important to note that the survey reveals 92% of all reviews are positive and 96% of all positive reviews are 5-star ratings. Interestingly, the amount of 1-star reviews is only less than 5%.
This ensures that the possibility of getting a positive review is already more than the possibility of getting a negative review. But the chance of getting a negative review is not zero. This is why a 4.7 rating is better to have than a 5-star rating.
Now, letâ€™s learn how negative online reviews can give you an SEO advantage.
The process we are going to discuss here is definitely easy to understand, but the application can be tricky, so be a little more careful.
Well, the process would be effective online review management. Your bad reviews can be good if you have the skill to manage them well. You will learn that here.
Negative reviews will increase SEO authenticity
This is so true! If people see all positive reviews posted about your brand, they doubt the genuineness of those posts. Even if those are real posts, itâ€™s hard for your people and your potential customers to believe. Everybody knows that companies are providing payment to reviewers these days. Therefore, â€œall positive reviewsâ€ is a huge flag.
Here comes the power of negative reviews. If people see some reviews that look like negative ones, they show some interest to actually read those reviews completely. That is human tendency. Some negative reviews will further increase their interest in your company, and that is a way to boost your online brand reputation and your websiteâ€™s SEO score in turn. They are all inter-related.
Talking about the major search engine Google, it also likes to see positive reviews made by your customers as that will send a signal that your product or service is good. So, high-quality positive reviews have a significant role to play here. That said, if there are only positive reviews everywhere, even Google will start to doubt the authenticity of those reviews. Your company may have hired people to leave only positive reviews about your brand and that is absolute fakeness.
Once a doubt is created, chances are that your entire list of reviews can be banned from key review sites that Google counts on. That kind of ban will then impact your SEO performance severely.
So, bad reviews are good because they provide authenticity to your overall SEO positioning. Donâ€™t be angry or scared of seeing some negative reviews about your brand, product and/or service. They are a blessing in disguise.
Negative reviews build loyalty and trust for your brand
We have already discussed a bit of this above, right? There are some negative reviews means your potential customers are more interested in reading those fully, and that builds loyalty towards your brand. If they read one review that explains the bad purchasing experience of a past buyer and read your companyâ€™s reply under that review, they understand that your company is highly responsible towards its customers. You care for them and that will make your potential customers happy to trust your company.
This means that negative reviews can actually be trust building opportunities for you. They know what they are going to get from you in advance, and that will increase the probability of conversion.
The right way to respond to negative reviews involves:
Who doesnâ€™t know this? But who applies this? Sadly, only a little percentage of the good reputable brands. You ignore this, and you lose the game.
Also take a look at the Googleâ€™s guidelines in this regard, which says, â€œWhen you reply to reviews, you post publicly as your business. Replies may not appear across Google immediately. However, reviewers will get a notification when you reply to their review. After they have a chance to read your reply, they can update their review.â€
Itâ€™s important to handle negative reviews the right way with a gentle tone while replying to the reviewer. If you follow the exact 4 steps mentioned just above no matter what, there is a high probability that the reviewer will change their mindset and change the review to a positive one with a higher star rating.
So, your ability to deal with the negative reviews really matters. How you handle them decides whether your potential customers are going to trust your brand or not.
Negative reviews help you improve your business
This is quite evident from the things we have discussed above already. You as a business have to be responsible towards your customers. You have to offer them all kinds of help and care along with providing incredibly useful products or services. That is clear.
But if anything goes wrong and your product or service does not meet your customersâ€™ expectations, you cannot leave it there. As a responsible business your job is to find out what went wrong and how you can resolve the issue so it doesnâ€™t incur any loss to your customers.
In a way, negative reviews can be good for your business because they took time to write a review to let you know how your product or service performed. If your product or service met the expectations really well, that is all fine. But if it didnâ€™t how could you know that? So, you have to be thankful to your customers for taking the time to post the review.
Thanks to the review you can focus back again in your testing process and make sure to modify certain features so the next version of the product is highly improved. Same applies to your customer service as well (if you are a service based business). A good interaction with your customers can actually help improve your product or service, and in turn, your entire business. And, needless to mention, an improved version of your business always has a positive impact on your search engine positioning as well.
A good review management is critical
How you handle negative reviews is critical. We already discussed how you are going to deal with negative reviews and your past customers posting those reviews. It sounds easy, but it might not be this easy at the time of actually doing this. No matter how big your heart is and how much patience you possess, there can be situations when itâ€™s very difficult to control your emotions.
To avoid any difficult situations when your emotions may burst out, you need to build a foolproof review management system and follow it religiously.
Itâ€™s always good to leave a human touch in your responses, so doing it manually with a review manager works well. However, if thereâ€™s shortage of staff and you donâ€™t have time to respond to all the reviews yourself, you may take help of some reputation management software that takes care of managing reviews really well. I donâ€™t want to recommend any software, and Iâ€™m sorry about that. Youâ€™re advised to do a bit of research in order to find one online that would do the job for you. It should not be very difficult to find this tool online.
And if you want an experienced company to do this for you, we, at SEO Extent, would love to offer our high-quality, results-driven online reputation management service to you. We will manage your online reviews and make sure your online brand reputation is well protected at all times. This will be available at a reasonable cost to you that you can easily afford. You may send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know about your business.