Do Keywords in Reviews Help SEO?

Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. I’ve got a killer tip about reviews for you this week… Did you know that if a customer’s review on your Google My Business listing contains keywords you’re trying to rank for, you’re more likely to rank for those keywords?

Yep, you heard me right – if you’re trying to show up in searches for a specific keyword phrase, getting customer reviews on Google that include that phrase will actually help you show up better when people search for that phrase.

The problem is, you can’t tell customers what to write in their reviews. It’s against the guidelines of most sites, and potentially against the law. Reviews are supposed to be honest descriptions of the experience in the customer’s own words. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t use a little Jedi mind trickery to push reviewers in the right direction.

A few videos back, I talked about the optimal review process and how you should send customers to a reviews page on your site that has links to your various review profiles. I mentioned that the page should have a simple message like:

Thanks for doing business with us today. We’d really appreciate it if you would share your experience with us on one of the following platforms” – and then you display a list of links to your various review sites.

If you add a bit more to that page, you can get people to write reviews that include your keywords without actually telling them to do so. After the quick thank you message and request for a review, add a bit more text and help your customers understand how to write better reviews that will stand out. If this is a car dealer, we’d say something like:

Not sure what to write about in your review? If you’ve got time, the most helpful reviews offer a detailed description of your experience and include a helpful tip for future customers. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re writing the review – they’ll help you write something detailed and helpful:

Did you buy a new car or a used car?

– Which service did you have done in our service department today?

Where do you live? Did you drive past other options to choose us?

– Which employee helped you today, and how did he or she do?

How do we compare to other dealerships you’ve been to in the past?

– Do you have any tips to offer future customers?

Don’t worry – if you’re short on time, we love short but sweet reviews too!

That way, if a customer is in a rush, they don’t feel obligated to write an in-depth review. But most customers will take the time to write something longer. And since you’re asking those questions, they’re likely to answer a few of them.

For example, if they bought a used car, they’ll now mention that they bought a used car – and BOOM – the “used car” keyword is in their review. Or if they drove in from a nearby town, they’ll mention that, and BOOM, you’ve got that nearby city name mentioned, and it’ll help get you more visibility there. Or if they came in for service, they’ll mention what they had done, and BOOM, now you’ll get better visibility for whatever service that was.

This works for any vertical, whether you’re a car dealer, a lawyer, a doctor, a jeweler, etc. All you need to do is come up with a short list of questions to list on your reviews page that will help get your important keywords mentioned in your reviews.

You will have more robust reviews that help you show up better in various searches. And, with the help of your question prompts, the reviews will be more in-depth and help you stand out from competitors when people read your reviews…which will help you win more customers.

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Greg Gifford is the Vice President of Search at SearchLab, a boutique marketing agency that provides Local SEO and PPC to SMBs all over the US and Canada. He's got over 17 years of online marketing and web design experience, and he’s one of the most in-demand conference speakers at digital marketing conferences all over the world. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Cinema and Communications, and has an obscure movie quote for just about any situation.