UGC and reviews: Can’t live with them, can’t kill them

Fortunately or unfortunately, the reputation of your business plays a large role in your organic search rankings locally. If you are listed on local business directories, mentioned regularly in local news, and supported by favourable user reviews, you’ll most likely rank higher. Here we outline some thoughts on how you can ensure your business makes the most of User Generated Content, or UGC.

UGC and reviews

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The many benefits

Google shows the top three businesses that are most relevant to a user search and uses ratings from customers as a major factor in deciding who should fill those spaces. Once you are ranked, better reviews mean you will get more traffic.

It’s also common sense; who wouldn’t choose a place with five-star reviews over a three-star one? You’ll also see better revenue return. Customers’ perception of your credibility is inevitably improved by favourable reviews, and ultimately that means more business.

You can’t really afford to ignore reviews. Those businesses that actively pursue reviews will undoubtedly see the benefit. If you don’t know where to start, consider the use of companies such as 16I Web designers in Cheltenham to help you.

Ever-increasing importance

As a result of Google’s 2014 Pigeon update, third-party directories such as Yelp have more influence over rankings. In addition, increasing prominence is being given to business’ average ratings in the local three-pack to assure searchers immediately of the rating of your site.

Relative importance

However, there is no substitute for a clear site structure, strong user experience, a valid content strategy and an ongoing link-building programme. These are all more important than reviews in your ratings. However, if you have achieved all these, quality reviews will be a significant contributing factor to your search relevance. You should also keep in mind that some industries, such as restaurants and hotels, are more review-dependent than others. Make sure you consider your user behaviour, consult with your web designer in Cheltenham, and decide on a strategy together.

Online reviews count for more than just rankings. They can mean more business if managed effectively. Ensure that you sign up to Google Alerts to stay on top of any mentions of your business, halt any bad feedback before it becomes a problem, and watch your business fly!

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