Customer reviews ­using social proof to increase search visibility and drive conversions

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are a crowded place ­ with ads and organic results displaying in the same space and companies spending more and more on PPC and SEO, it can be an expensive business trying to get to the top of the rankings. But what if we told you that you don’t need to be #1, you just need to increase your visibility?

Increasing visibility in SERPs

Over the past few months, we’ve found customer reviews to be an incredibly powerful way of driving increased traffic to our clients’ sites. When we set up our customer reviews module on our clients’ websites, it’s pre­configured to enable the star rating from the review to pull through into Google SERPs. Let’s compare a couple of SERPs with and without the star rating pulling through, using the example of one of our clients, ChurchApp ­a church database system:

Without ratings With ratings

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Putting the SERPs side by ­side, it’s easy to see just how much the star rating can contribute to increasing the visibility of a site in search results. Even if your search result wasn’t listed in the #1 spot, the addition of the star rating could mean that you don’t need to spend the extra cash on achieving #1 in the organic results ­ your listing is already more visible than the competition’s.

Reinforcing social proof on your site

The use of customer reviews shouldn’t stop on the search results page though, it’s vital that you carry this through to your site and use your customer reviews to encourage other customers to convert as well. We’ve found that including a selection of customer reviews on your site’s Home page, and then individual shorter reviews on pages where you want your visitors to take action can dramatically increase conversion rates.

ChurchApp Home ChurchApp Free Trial

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The use of social proof, and in this instance, customer reviews, appeals to human nature ­ we’ll trust a product if we can see that others have already trusted the product. If a customer’s willing to put their own face next to a review, we’re even more inclined to believe what they say is true, after all this is what celebrity endorsement relies on. SEO should not solely focus on getting your site up to the 1st position in the results pages, even if you get there, someone else might have a more visible search result than you. Customer star ratings, including your profile photo and other so ­called “rich snippets” are equally important, and can prove to be a very cost­ effective form of marketing.