If you’re in the travel, hotel, airline, entertainment, or restaurant industries anywhere in the world, you’ll want to check out the reviews on the popular website TripAdvisor. As the largest travel site in the world, it has over 225 million reviews, opinions, and photos taken by travelers. They also have some awesome content on their about low airfares, travel guides, rental listings, and advice forums about pretty much every location in the world you could possibly image. A lot of people look there before making a trip.
The key to a successful profile on TripAdvisor is making it as close to the top of their popularity index as possible, so that people searching for information in a specific place see your listing. According to TripAdvisor, the popularity ranking algorithm is based on three key components: quantity, quality, and recency of reviews. Here’s an excerpt of the advice they give businesses looking to improve their ranking:
Quantity: Ask your guests to write reviews, and use our management center tools to remind them after they check out. Offering incentives for reviews is against the rules, though — take a look at our policy to make sure you understand what is and isn’t okay.
Quality: Guests who enjoyed first class hospitality and a memorable experience are more likely to write positive reviews. Monitor what previous reviewers have written to see what worked and did not work best for your property so you can maintain and improve your service.
Recency: Recent reviews factor more strongly on your popularity rankings and older reviews have less impact on a hotel’s ranking over time. Once again, encourage guests to write reviews to keep fresh content rolling in.”
Google My Business
You know those reviews that show up with you search Google for a business? Yeah, those things are on this list in a big way.
Google’s Pigeon algorithm update uses distance and location ranking parameters to deliver improved local search results. So, in order for your business’ website to be properly optimized for search, you’ll want to set up verified accounts with local directories — especially Google’s, called Google My Business. Getting reviews, comments, pictures, and so on, especially on Google, can give you a boost in search. Only verified local Google+ pages can respond to reviews.
An added bonus? Google Maps pulls that information and those reviews into the app, so having a lot of content in there will make your business look more reputable.
Facebook Ratings & Reviews
Did you know there’s a place on Facebook for fans to leave ratings and reviews of your business? There sure is … it’s named, aptly, Facebook Ratings & Reviews. It appears on the left-hand side of your Facebook Page, and you can’t move or remove it like you can other parts of your Page.
Anyone logged into Facebook can post a rating or review of a business. All they have to do is go to the Reviews section of your Page, click the grey stars to choose a rating, and then write an optional review. They can make that review public, visible to friends, or visible only to them.
The ridiculously fast-paced nature of Twitter makes it seem like a weird place to try to accumulate reviews. But while users might not always search for reviews directly on Twitter (unless you started some kind of review hashtag, perhaps), tweets are still indexed in search results. That means a user’s tweet, whether complimentary or less-than, could pop up in the SERPs when someone’s searching for reviews on your business.
Not only that — there’s things you can actively do with the positive tweets coming at you. For instance, Hubspot tested the element of social proof on conversions, they attaching three tweets that gave positive reviews on an ebook they were promoting at the time. Guess what happened? The CTA with the three tweets converted better than the CTA with no tweets. If you start to “Favorite” tweets that could serve as positive reviews in the future, it’ll be easier to find them when you want to use them in your marketing.
Yelp is a free review site that lets consumers rate businesses on a five-star scale. Although not that big in New Zealand people from overseas do turn to it for reviews on local businesses. Any business can set up a profile on Yelp for free, and users can set up their own free profiles to review a business. You’re free to respond to reviewers, too, but we recommend taking a balanced and polite approach to any negative reviews you receive, as Yelpers are in a pretty tight-knit community.
Yelp has also come under fire over the past few years for some slightly shady practices, like incentivizing businesses to advertise with them in exchange for gaming the search results for their business (“Pay us money and we’ll push bad reviews down!”). Savvier consumers have learned to look at Yelp reviews as a whole and with the reviewer’s clout in mind, instead of getting turned off by a business because of one bad listing.
That being said, it’s still to your benefit to get a constant stream of positive online reviews coming to your business’ Yelp account so happy customers are always at the top of your review feed — especially is you’re a location-based business. Yelp profile information contains things like store hours and location information, so your profile will often turn up when people Google your business.
Your Own Website
Finally, the one place where you have total and utter control: your website. It’s an excellent place to publicize reviews you receive (perhaps embed some of those tweets you favorited?) You could carve out a section of your website dedicated just to reviews and testimonials, and even include a form so happy customers can submit their unsolicited reviews. But if you’re actively campaigning for positive online reviews and you encounter happy customers who want to leave you a positive review but don’t have accounts on sites like Yelp, Facebook or Google, it’s handy to have a place on your website to publish their kind words. Consider adding testimonials to landing pages and product pages, too.