The research is clear. Online client (and talent) ratings matter greatly to your buyers. Research shows that 86% of customers look to online, third-party reviews as proof that the purchase they are considering will deliver the value they’re seeking1. And buyers of B2B services report that online ratings and reviews are 2x as trustworthy as a company’s website when weighing top resources for determining the quality of a professional service provider2.

But from a marketing and growth perspective, did you know that online ratings from your clients and talent are also a critical component of your firm’s online presence as it relates to SEO?

First, what is SEO and why should I care?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” and it has to do with your firm’s ability to be found by internet users when they search for a term related to your brand online. SEO dictates what appears when a prospective client or buyer enters your firm’s name into the Google search bar. Ideally, the content speaks to your firm’s service offering, and offers valuable information to the person who may be searching for you online.

What do client ratings have to do with my firm’s search results?

As you can see from the example above, a search for Perkins & Co returns much more than their website. Star ratings from sites like Glassdoor, ClearlyRated and, of course, Google are also prioritized on the first page of the search results. That’s because the algorithms that power search engines like Google and Bing prioritize what is called “user-generated content” when determining which web pages to return on a given search.

Validated customer ratings and reviews hosted on trusted third-party websites are just one category of user-generated content, but they have been prioritized by search engines because they have been proven, over time, to be desired and relevant to searchers. It’s critical that you understand how ratings and reviews are showing up for your brand and what opportunities you have to improve SEO based on those ratings and reviews.

How to maximize online client (and talent) ratings for SEO

 

First things first, do you know where on the worldwide web clients have left ratings about your brand? Common culprits are Google, Yelp, Glassdoor, G2, and even Facebook. Firms who survey their clients with ClearlyRated also have the option to translate their real-time client feedback into online ratings. Click here to see the Perkins & Co profile on ClearlyRated.com >>

Step 1: Wherever your online client or talent ratings exist, take steps to claim and optimize your profile.

  • Brand name consistency is one of the most important aspects of your firm’s SEO strategy. Even the smallest differences in how you present your brand name online can have significant impacts on how well your client (and talent) ratings appears in search across these review and directory sites. It is critical that you use the exact same brand name across all sites starting with your own.
  • Address consistency is also critical. Not only do you want to avoid sending a prospect to your old business address, search engines like Google utilize address information to inform their knowledge graph that is built about your company. A physical address is like a unique identifier that can tie a lot of different pages across the internet to each other. This works for the online profiles that house your firm’s ratings and reviews profiles as well, so it is important that you have correct address information on all locations of your company (starting with your headquarters – the most important one!).
  • Link back to your company website from the online profiles that you care about. If you have multiple locations it can be very beneficial to create pages for each location, as Google also prioritizes location-specific data that they can serve up to users based on where they are in the world.
  • If possible, customize your company description to include information unique to your company (or each location within your company if you have more than one). This unique information further optimizes the profile page(s) where ratings and reviews are hosted, as it gives search engines more unique and valuable content to distinguish your profile pages as yours.


Step 2:
Link to your online ratings profile(s) from your firm website!

I’ll use ClearlyRated as an example. Many of the professional service firms that we work with utilize our Star Ratings Widget to highlight their client ratings on their site. These businesses are then able to link and direct users from their Star Ratings Widget on the firm website to their ClearlyRated profile page. The benefits here are twofold:

  1. First, we’re providing website visitors with instant social proof of the firm’s service standards on their most visited marketing asset.
  2. Second, the Star Ratings Widget helps improve the SEO value of the firm’s ClearlyRated.com profile pages by confirming for Google that those pages are affiliated with the company brand.

It’s a win-win!

You don’t need a fancy Star Ratings Widget to get at these SEO benefits (but if you’re a client of ours we definitely recommend you use it!). Simply take opportunities to provide links back to the online profiles where your client ratings and talent ratings are hosted. You’ll see exponential value here is you can do so in a location-specific manner.


Step 3:
To the greatest extent possible, keep your ratings fresh and relevant.

Search engines have a nose for stale content, and when your online ratings are out of date they can be de-prioritized when users search for your brand. Consider building a marketing campaign where your team systematically asks clients (and talent) to leave you a review on a prioritized ratings-site. The more “alive” these pages are, the more likely they are to appear on page 1 of your brand search results.

How can ClearlyRated help my firm improve SEO through online ratings?

We developed ClearlyRated.com – an online business directory – to help B2B service firms translate client (and talent) feedback into quantifiable, searchable information available to prospective buyers in the form of online ratings and testimonials.

Your firm’s profile page on ClearlyRated.com is fueled by star ratings from our Net Promoter® Score survey program – an industry-specific client experience survey optimized for your unique business model and client audience.

Client feedback is aggregated real-time in the ClearlyRated dashboard, where you can monitor star ratings and select the best testimonials to feature on ClearlyRated.com to help tell your firm’s story of service excellence.

Interested in seeing how it works?

We’d love to discuss your business needs and provide you with a tour of the ClearlyRated platform! Click here to contact us, or give us a call at 1 (800) 921-2640.

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to speed on product updates, research releases, and educational opportunities for your business.

1BrightLocal, 2018
2ClearlyRated 2019 Industry Benchmark Report