Reviews have become the cornerstone of social proof. The psychology behind their power of influence is easy to understand: reviews give consumers a safe place to find trustworthy information on products and brands straight from the “mouths” of people who have first-hand experience.
If you run a product or brand name through a search engine, you’re likely to see a host of different results for reviews, complaints, and other consumer opinions and reports, often you’ll even see star-ratings displayed directly on the search engine results page (SERP). Why?
Search engines value review listings because consumers value review listings.
When deciding what to display, one of the factors search engines look for is which websites they can trust. Google, for example, is obviously going to trust their own review platform, Google Reviews, but also assigns considerable value to consumer-trusted third-party review sites, especially those with a high domain authority.
These days it’s clear to see it’s consumers, not marketers, who tell a brand’s story. Marketing teams have to pay close attention to things like online reputation management now more than ever. Unfortunately, simply having a handful of star-ratings is not enough. Search engines look deeper and analyze things like regularity, recency and sentiment of a brand’s reviews as well as the diversity of the content, so quantity and quality have to work in-tandem.
The role diversity and frequency play in success.
Review diversity refers to the actual content in the reviews posted about your brand. Consumers look for both the sentiment and variety in these posts to decipher their legitimacy.
This means only having a lot of repetitive content, or worse, star-rating-only reviews, won’t do you much good. Search engines are looking for content to legitimize your brand’s value.
According to Moz, the speed at which reviews for a brand come in is also taken into consideration. A steady stream of regular reviews will matter more than having a considerable number of them pour in all at once.
Paying attention to what’s being posted about your brand on these sites and encouraging a steady stream of customer reviews should be a must-have on the top of every marketer’s to-do list in 2016 and beyond.