Courting reviews as part of SEO

Posted on June 15, 2010

 

There are thousands of reviews sites that have sprung up around the net. They’re popular with internet users because they act as a kind of word-of-mouth system online. They’re also popular with site owners because they can prove effective in enhancing off-page SEO and promoting your company brand.

Getting some positive reviews around the net can have a great effect on your off-page search engine optimisation. The benefits of reviews go two ways. The first, of course, is in the positive effect it has on your reputation. Internet users tend to trust the opinions of other internet users when it comes to choosing products and services, so a positive review can win you new customers. The other benefit is the positive reference that Google can then use in assessing your pages. The effect is even better when a link is supplied

Reviews can be courted by providing encouragement on your pages. You can feature links, quotes and other hints to get things going.

Reviews are so effective that some black-hat SEO operators have even resorted to creating their own review sites. The idea is to disguise the unnatural number of positive reviews for a site amongst other genuine reviews. The technique doesn’t always work, as internet users and search engines are both fairly good at sniffing out fake reviews. Plus, many black hat SEO companies (and some site owners that have tried this practice themselves) aren’t particularly subtle with their efforts.

Are references from review sites more attractive to the search engines than other references around the net? No one can be certain. The search engines certainly aren’t telling the search engine optimisation industry which sites they favour. Positive reviews are good in enough ways to make courting them worthwhile.

Be careful though, as adding an obviously fake review for your own company or website will almost certainly attract the attention of people who wish to counter your review, and then your efforts will have the opposite effect to what you intended.

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