The importance of an effective review management workflow

The importance of an effective review management workflow

Whether it’s finding accommodation, booking a restaurant, choosing a new car or upgrading software for your business, reviews will impact your purchase decision.

Indeed, nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase, which will have a huge impact on website conversion rates. It’s therefore vital that marketers know how to harness user–generated reviews to their advantage through a proactive review management workflow.

Customers are reading your reviews – don’t ignore them

With the rise of social networks and online review platforms, customers are now more informed than ever before on brands and what others are saying about them. There’s now a plethora of information available to users conducting a quick Google search for “[A BRAND] reviews” which will impact their decision to either get in touch or make a purchase.

Third-party review websites covering various topics are businesses in themselves. Trustpilot, HomeAdvisor, Feefo, Yelp and many more review aggregators make money from businesses who pay a small fee to actively manage what customers are saying about them online. Add to this the fact that most online stores feature customer reviews of any given product and you start to appreciate the impact they can have on customer trust and website conversion rates.

Indeed, 93% of customers are now using reviews to assess the quality of local businesses (BrightLocal), while 72% of customers reportedly don’t take action until they’ve read reviews of a product or service (Testimonial Engine). Instead of leaving review management to your customer service team, reviews should be treated as a marketing conversion lever and managed accordingly.

How then can you keep tabs on what users are saying about your business? All companies are to a certain extent at the mercy of third-party review management sites, so it’s important to monitor and manage this process as best you can. Not forgetting the techniques you can employ on your own web properties to boost trust in your brand through displaying testimonials, client logos and so on.

Create a proactive review management workflow

The review economy relies on consumers willingly sharing their experiences. For customers to write reviews, we need to understand why any consumer would take the time to provide their thoughts on the experience they had with a product or service.

Most reviews are triggered by exceptionally positive or negative customer experiences. These customers will look for a place to share their experiences if they’re not addressed by the company in question to their satisfaction.

Oftentimes, customers just need a gentle push to leave a review. According to BrightLocal, 68% of customers have reportedly left a local business review after being asked to do so. Power Reviews finds approximately 80% of reviews originate from email requests for customer reviews.

Proactively requesting reviews is one way of negating the risk of negative reviews happening in the first place while at the same time encouraging positive customer reviews.

As an example, the following review management workflow could be used to funnel customers into a post-sale or service first-party review process. This means you manage the collection of the ratings as a first step, enabling you to funnel negative customer experiences directly to your customer service team, and encourage customers who have left favorable ratings to go online and spread the word.

One benefit of managing your own review workflow is that you’ll be able to funnel customers toward whichever review platform tends to hold the most weight in your niche, and the platform which gains most visibility when users are searching for your brand name and “review” queries in Google search.

While this type of workflow can be set up at scale using major CRM and email marketing platforms, you can also achieve this using free email tools such as Mailchimp, proving a cost effective method of encouraging customer reviews for small business owners.

Google Alerts

Google alerts is a free tool used to monitor a selection of keywords, which in this case (review and reputation monitoring) would be your brand name.

While it’s not as refined as many paid for reputation management tools, it’s another cost–effective method of keeping on top of what people are saying about your brand online.

Setting up Google Alerts for your business is really simple to do, but don’t forget that you can refine your search terms by using:

  • Quotation marks (“”): Specific words or phrases
  • (Site:): To be notified of new content on specific sites of high value
  • Minus (-): To filter out articles containing certain keywords

Paid tools for reputation management

In addition to the DIY solutions you can create to effectively manage your online reviews, there are a number of paid tools you can utilize if you have the budget.

There are some less expensive tools out there to keep on top of what people are saying about your brand specifically on social media, including Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.

However you decide to monitor your online reviews, ensuring you respond to reviews is vital – 53% of customers expect businesses to reply to their online reviews within seven days (Review Trackers) and your lack of response could have a negative impact on your brand perception, especially on social media.

Sign up to review platforms

As the volume of dedicated review platforms expands, it’s important that you claim and maintain a presence on each of the major platforms in your location and niche.

Major platforms such as Yelp and Google My Business are necessary for all types of businesses and should be claimed and updated as a basic first step for all business owners.

You’ll notice that Google My Business dominates the review landscape for the vast majority of navigational and local queries on Google. Just type your brand and a local keyword into Google and you’ll almost always see Google My Business listings (the “local pack”) complete with reviews returned first.

Remember, your customers will more often than not use Google to search for reviews, so once you’ve worked through the more basic platforms, carry out some research of other review platforms that tend to appear when typing in your brand and “reviews” as well as your service or product and “reviews” search queries into Google.

Displaying reviews and testimonials on your site 

It’s important to not only rely on third party review platforms to help convert your customers. Reviews are an important trust signal that you should utilise wherever possible on your website to boost your conversion rate, and there are a number of different review formats you can utilise to do this:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Service specific reviews
  • Product specific reviews
  • Third-party reviews and ratings

Don’t forget that 73% of consumers have more trust in a local business after seeing positive reviews, so don’t just rely on off-site reviews, ensure that potential customers have visibility of your reviews directly while browsing your site.

Responding to negative reviews

However well you manage your reviews, inevitably a few poor reviews will make it into the public domain. But don’t fear, the important part is how you respond and manage to them.

Responding to reviews gives the perception that you really care about your customers, and you should be prepared to not only thank customers for their positive reviews, but respond publicly to negative reviews in a proactive manner.

If you’re wondering how to respond to negative reviews, it depends a lot on the severity and nature of the review, but there are some guiding principles:

  1. Never be confrontational
  2. Address the root cause of the issue (listen to what your customers are saying!)
  3. Always respond and apologize
  4. Offer to make things right
  5. Say thanks
  6. Respond in a timely fashion

Conclusion

If you weren’t proactively managing your reviews before reading this post, hopefully some of these stats have changed your mind.

No matter what else you do to attract customers to your website or how much money you spend on advertising, customer reviews will play a role in your customers decision making process, so ignore them at your peril!


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Ben Wood is the Digital Director at UK based agency Hallam. Ben specializes in SEO, paid search and web analytics. In his spare time, Ben is an experienced ice hockey player, currently representing the Nottingham Lions in the English National League.

Dit artikel is vertaald van Search Engine Land

Google moves to simplify, standardize content policies for publishers

Google moves to simplify, standardize content policies for publishers

Google is reorganizing how it presents publisher content policies, and standardizing its content policies and restrictions across AdSense, AdMob and Ad Manager.

Google content policies will soon be divided into two categories: Google Publisher Policies and Google Publisher Restrictions. The Google Publisher Policies page will outline the types of content that cannot be monetized and the Google Publisher Restrictions page will outline specific content types that do not violate policies, but may not be appealing to all advertisers, such as alcohol or tobacco-related content.

The updates are scheduled to go live in September and are aimed at creating a simplified experience for publishers in terms of understanding what content can be monetized.

Why we should care

Brands and marketers have long been pushing for digital ad platforms to create more transparent and brand-safe environments. In the process, many of the content policies from ad platforms have been difficult to follow and understand for publishers — knowing what content cannot be monetized versus the types of content that can be monetized, but may not fit an advertiser’s branding standards. With this update, Google is making it easier for publishers to follow the rules.

“One consistent piece of feedback we’ve heard from our publishers is that they want us to further simplify our policies, across products, so that they are easier to understand and follow,” writes Google’s Director of Sustainable Ads Scott Spencer on the Inside AdSense blog.

It’s worth noting, Google isn’t updating any of its actual content policies, only restructuring the framework around how they are presented.

More on the news

  • The new Google Publisher Policies page will outline content that cannot be monetized, such as illegal content, dangerous or derogatory, or sexually explicit content.
  • The Google Publisher Restrictions page will list the specific types of content that doesn’t necessarily violate content policies, but may not be appealing for some advertisers: “Publishers will not receive a policy violation for trying to monetize this content, but only some advertisers and advertising products will bid on it.”
  • Google reports it removed 734,000 publishers and app developers from it ad network last year for violating publisher policies.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

Dit artikel is vertaald van Search Engine Land

How to Use Keywords in Your Blogging Strategy

How to Use Keywords in Your Blogging Strategy

Even though blogging has been around for a while, it looks a lot different today than it did in the early 2000s. In those days, people read your blog because they followed it (anyone else have a few old .blogspot blogs floating around out there?) or subscribed to your RSS feed.

Online behavior has changed since then. While some people might stumble onto a blog they like and subscribe to its email list for updates, many people discover blog content through search engines. With more people searching than ever before, it’s a great time for bloggers to explore using keyword research in their content strategy.

This post was written for those that may be new to blogging, as well as those who have been blogging for some time but are just now starting to explore keyword research.

Ready? It’s time to dive into the beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers!

What are keywords?

Keywords are the words someone types (or speaks!) into a search engine.

People use search engines for all sorts of things — things like looking up movie times, seeing what the day’s weather will be like, or getting their local pizza place’s number. Every search is a quest for information, and the goal of search engines like Google is to supply the searcher with a satisfying answer as quickly as possible.

What does this mean for you as a blogger? It means that if you want to write for these searchers, you’ll need to know the questions they’re asking (keywords) and deliver the answer in your blog posts.

How will keywords change my blog strategy?

Blog posts developed on the basis of keyword research are different from other types of blog posts in that they focus on answering an existing question.

Contrast this with something like a blog post about a personal experience, or a post introducing a completely new idea — in both these scenarios, because your content doesn’t answer an existing question, it likely won’t get much traffic from search engines like Google, simply because no one is searching for it.

Does that mean you can only write to answer existing questions? Not at all! Even topics with no search demand could get great engagement and traffic on other channels like Facebook or Twitter, but if you want long-term free traffic, the best place to get it is from Google, and the best way to get Google to send you that traffic is to build your blogs on the foundation of keyword research.

Where do I find keywords?

A keyword research tool like Moz Keyword Explorer will do the trick!

This tool allows you to find new keyword ideas two main ways: by typing in a word or a phrase and getting back related keywords (the “Explore by Keyword” feature):

Gif of someone searching fried tofu recipe by keyword in Keyword Explorer

…or by typing in a page/website and getting back keywords that page or website ranks for (the “Explore by Site” feature):

Gif of someone searching moz.com by root domain in Keyword Explorer

Another great feature is the filter for “are questions” — this allows you to see only keywords that are formatted as questions. Since answering your audience’s questions is such a key component of optimizing your content for search, this is a great tool to give you insight into what your audience wants to know.

What keywords do I pick?

Just because you found a keyword in a keyword research tool doesn’t necessarily mean you should use it in your blogging strategy. Once you have a list of keywords, it’s a good idea to whittle it down. Here’s how.

Choose keywords that match your audience

Knowing your audience is a prerequisite for keyword research because it helps you filter out keywords that, although technically related to your topic, are a mismatch for your audience.

If you haven’t done so yet, document an ideal audience for your blog. For example, if you run a fitness blog, you could write down something as simple as “fitness enthusiasts.” You could also go a bit deeper and create audience personas, full profiles of your ideal audience that include things like age, demographics, and interests.

The deeper your understanding of your ideal audience, the easier it will be to detect which keywords out of the bunch they would have searched for.

Evaluate each keyword’s difficulty score

You may also want to whittle down your keyword list to leave only those with an appropriate Difficulty Score, which Keyword Explorer will assign to every keyword. That score is determined by the strength of the pages that are currently ranking on page 1 for that keyword.

If you’re just getting started blogging and you have a fairly low Domain Authority (which you can check by downloading the MozBar plugin or using the free version of Moz Link Explorer), you may want to start with keywords that have a Difficulty Score in the 20-30 range, or even lower. For more on how to use Difficulty Score in your keyword research, check out this write-up from Rand Fishkin.

Look at each keyword’s search volume

Search volume gives you an estimate of how many people are searching for that keyword every month. It’s great to choose keywords that lots of people are searching for, but remember that quantity doesn’t always equal quality. You may opt for a lower-volume keyword because it’s much more relevant to your audience and your goals.

How do I use the keywords on my page?

When Google’s algorithm was less mature than it is today, it was easy to get your page to rank at the top of search results for certain phrases by repeating that keyword many times on the page.

Over the years though, Google has gotten better at ranking pages that answer the query, rather than just repeat it on the page. This is important to keep in mind because it’s tempting to think that all you have to do with your keyword list is add those words to your pages. To perform well in search engines though, you have to provide an answer to those queries that’s better than anything else out there.

Here are some tips for using keywords to guide your blog content:

  • Keywords are the input. You’re creating the output. Instead of asking yourself “How can I include this keyword on my page?” ask yourself, “How can I answer this question?”
  • You don’t have to have a separate page for every keyword you want to rank for. If you’re writing a blog post about “choosing the best running shoes,” for example, it makes perfect sense to answer multiple questions related to that topic within the same post, such as “road vs. trail running shoes” and “running shoe features.”
  • Check out the pages that are currently ranking for your target keyword and think about how you can create a page better than that.

Where do I go from here?

The best thing to do next is to dive in and try it for yourself! As with most things, keyword research gets easier once you start to apply it.

A huge part of growing your blog effectively is developing a content strategy. There’s a fantastic free video course from HubSpot that walks you through developing your own content strategy, including how to use Moz Keyword Explorer for your keyword research. If you’re a visual learner like me, you should find it helpful!

Take the free course!

The most important thing to remember is that offering the right content tells you what your audience wants to know. As a blogger, this insight is invaluable! Write to answer their questions, and they’ll be more likely to find your content in search engines. 


Vertaald van MOZ

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