Reviews and followers are indicators of a strong brand reputation. Shopping for a deal online? Read the Google reviews for their business. Curious about a brand you’ve never heard of? See what they’re up to on social. SEO algorithms notice this too. Like links, they give weight to content like user reviews and social followers. It’s yet another proxy for trust: reviews and followers mean that people pay attention to your website, reference it, and care enough to leave feedback.
Bad SEO Practices: Review Bots and Buying Followers
Sometimes, something feels off. It’s no wonder: people go to great lengths to buy Google reviews for a quick rankings boost. Or, to gain traction on social, they’re buying Instagram followers by the thousands. Users are getting pretty good at spotting fake reviews, bot followers, and similar efforts to artificially inflate a brand. This content sticks out, full of awkward phrases, noticeable repetition from one to the next, non-specific language that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the product itself. Don’t be surprised when this fails to gain SEO traction, since Google and other search algorithms are pretty good at picking up on it too!
SEO and Reputation are Closely Linked
There’s a lesson here! If great SEO is all about building trust with your users — providing them with valuable content that answers their questions and helps them out — then garnering social follower and product reviews is an extension of this. And shady practices like buying followers or google reviews tend to backfire and harm your reputation, rather than building trust. Attempt these practices, and you may find yourself ranked lower in the search results than you were before.
So what’s a savvy marketer to do? My advice is simple:
Provide a good product or service that delights your customers. They’ll be more likely to review you.
Be responsive and active on social media. Answer questions and address complaints. Help people feel heard.
Ask for reviews. There are lots of ways to do this, including automated follow-up emails after purchases (wait a few days), customer service interactions, or a QR code printed on packaging. Incentivizing helps!
While these may seem like basic pillars of running a good business, doing them well takes work, and aligning marketing with other departments takes dedication. Applied strategically and intentionally, these approaches will reward you over time with better rankings, happy customers, and business growth.