Online reviews are decision making tools and have a critical role to play in defining your brand and increasing the chances of acquiring customers. They feed into a wider organic marketing strategy and are particularly useful for the travel industry. Suzannah, one of our SEO experts, explains just how important reviews are for your organic strategy. Keep reading for your fill of SEO wisdom to help you succeed in the travel industry.
Why Are Reviews Important for the Travel Industry?
Trust is fast becoming ‘the global – and most-valued – currency of modern time’. When consumers are looking for the next product or service to purchase, they will select who they trust the most. Review platforms are fantastic ways for these consumers to instantly see how your company was received by other consumers. This social proof, if positive, builds trust in the brand for the prospective consumer.
Reviews are important for all industries. However, the travel and tourism industry relies on positive reviews more than others. This is partly due to the need for reassurance from consumers when purchasing services so far from their home terrain. According to research by TUI and IUBH, 83% of digital natives say that reviews play an important or very important role in making a booking decision.
Travel has been one of the hardest hit industries from COVID-19, meaning hotels, airlines and the like are in desperate need for a surge in bookings.
Equally, consumers are more nervous than previously to book holidays and will require more reassurance when eventually booking trips away. This is where reviews can really help. If prospective consumers see lots of good reviews and see you responding to comments, their trust and likelihood of booking with you will increase.
The Impact of Reviews on SEO
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is an organic marketing strategy that helps your business be more visible in the search engine results pages. Google’s algorithm can understand when people search something with ‘local intent’ and therefore will serve results in the user’s immediate area. Appearing as high up on the SERP as possible for these searches is very important for businesses with physical locations or businesses that serve a certain area.
Reviews play an even larger part in improving your local ranking on Google. According to Google, local results are based primarily on relevance, distance and prominence so Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. In 2018, Moz carried out its Local Search Ranking Factors survey which found that online reviews can contribute 10% of the criteria of how Google displays search results. Reviews will continue to be central in local SEO success through 2021.
Best Review Sites for SEO
So, we’ve established the importance of reviews, but how do you go about choosing the right platform for your website? Depending on your industry and location there are some key players who have become household names. These include, Trustpilot, Feefo, Which?, Tripadvisor, Yelp, Google My Business, Glassdoor and Facebook. SEMrush has done some of the hard work for us and looked at four paid customer review sites, declaring Trustpilot as the strongest for SEO.
It’s important to put your audience first and research where they are most likely to look for trusted reviews. If you’re in travel or tourism, Tripadvisor is going to be a good option for you as it holds authority in your field.
Tripadvisor is not a good choice for performance marketing agencies like Passion Digital though! For example, we’ve partnered with Clutch as they focus on reviews of leading IT, marketing and business services companies – take a look at our reviews.
Adding Reviews to Your SEO Strategy
As with all SEO work, adding reviews to your strategy is not just a numbers game. You’ll get the best results if you focus on a trusted partner for your industry and engage with the reviews.
Collecting reviews only goes so far – you need to implement an effective strategy to use reviews for SEO to its full potential. Unfortunately, most people don’t write a review unless they’ve had a bad experience and 94% of users avoid a business based on negative reviews.
Follow up with your customers to gather feedback on your product and services
Most review platforms allow you to send out automated requests for reviews after the customer has received a product or had an experience, which can be built into your CRM system. The amount of time you leave between purchase and review request will vary based on the product or service. For travel, for example, there is no point asking for a review one week after purchase if their holiday is booked for six months’ time.
Create a scalable approach to collecting reviews
Ask for pros and cons and an overall rating to encourage in-depth responses while not getting overly complicated.
Respond to the positive as well as negative comments to create better visibility
Negative feedback is essential to improving your business. Reviews and comments are your truest insight into the thoughts and opinions of your target market, so this is valuable insight to take note of.
Google has said responding to reviews plays a role in SEO so it’s crucial even from an SEO perspective to be actively replying to comments. Remember to respond in the right way as all comments will be public. Take a look at our resident Paid Social expert Helen’s blog post on dealing with negative comments on social media for some tips.
There you have it! Reviews can be valuable weapons in your organic marketing arsenal. They let Google know about your Expertise, Authority and Trust in your sector and help to deliver a strong local SEO strategy.
A thorough review strategy is particularly important for the travel industry, to reassure consumers who haven’t travelled in some time due to global restrictions.If your business (travel or otherwise) could do with some SEO assistance please get in touch, or explore our other blog posts for more digital marketing expertise