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Here at ReviewTrackers, we frequently receive questions from our clients and partners seeking guidance on the impact different review sites and review display formats may or may not have on their business.
If you are a business of any size whose lead generation is tied to Web searches – specifically, results generated in association with popular review sites – the topic of review and multimedia syndication is probably influencing your lead generation, whether you are aware of it or not.
According to Search Engine Land, content syndication of any type, when done correctly, can positively influence the reach, visibility, and reputation of your brand. There are many types of content syndication, some of which are under your control, and some that are happening outside the realm of your domain but still influencing the visibility of your business.
What Is Syndication?
Syndication is when one site authorizes or automatically feeds its existing content to other sites, either completely or partially, in the form of a snippet. By sharing the totality of its content, businesses, platforms, and organizations can exponentially increase the exposure of their brand message across different networks and reach expanded audiences.
In the case of customer-generated opinion or reviews, syndication takes place when a customer creates a review of your business, and the host of said review automatically provides the content, rating, and multimedia of said review to partner sites. (See an example of three types of review widgets here).
Why Is Syndication of Reviews Good for Your Business?
To put it simply, a network is better than the sum of its parts. When your customer reviews are shared with other sites, from local shopping platforms to specialized, category-based review sites, the content of the host sites increases, giving each site not only an SEO boost but also enhanced customer experiences by serving information that matters to the user.
In short, when reviews, specifically good reviews, are fed to partner sites, word-of-mouth marketing happens in the digital context. The message about your business is communicated through a variety of channels, which making it available to more potential customers than before.
How Is Syndication Affecting Your Search Engine Optimization?
In the past, we have explored and discussed how for many small businesses it has become price-prohibitive to try to push an SEO strategy that allows them to rank among the first three results for industry-specific searches. Many businesses have learned that this hurdle can be handled by working toward maintaining strong and active review site profiles.
Basically, on their own, businesses may not appear at all in the first page for any Web searches associated with lead generation, but once they are listed in a variety of popular review sites, and assuming they have worked toward having very active profiles, they can, in theory, show up not once but multiple times in the context of their review site listing. Because regular, fresh content is essential to having a strong position within a review site, review syndication can be highly influential on how and when your business appears in search.
Who Syndicates Customer Reviews?
The number of popular review sites that syndicate reviews to partner sites is surprisingly big. A great example is Yahoo! Local displaying Yelp reviews. Another example is how Google My Business syndicates scores and reviews from Zagat. A Google My Business page for a restaurant may show not only on Google My Business or Maps but also on Zagat-syndicated reviews. By combining both, customers get a better picture of the quality associated with venues that feature these reviews.
Another common environment for syndication happens when your business activates its Intuit Demandforce app. This feature, combined with the CMS that tracks the interactions that your customer has with your business, results in automated requests for validated customer reviews. The reviews captured via Demandforce are then syndicated to a network of popular review sites that include Judy’s Book, YellowBot, Insider Pages, Citysearch, and even Facebook Reviews and Google+ Local. Now that is amplification at its best!
How Can I Capture More Reviews That Can Be Syndicated?
The easiest path to getting more reviews with potential for syndication is to make sure your review profiles associated with review sites that syndicate are up-to-date and in your control. In addition to claiming your profiles on syndicated customer review sites, you may want to explore the possibility of direct review generation through tools like ReviewTrackers, using the existing email list within your current customer management system.
What Happens After My Business Reviews Are Syndicated?
Once your reviews are syndicated, you will garner additional exposure and have the possibility of increased review and social signals in association with content highlighting your business. You will also need to stay on top of any customer interactivity taking place on syndicated sites. Take time to manage and monitor your reviews, and engage in responding to both positive and negative reviews in a way that furthers the message of your brand and elicits customer loyalty.
What Happens When a Negative Review Becomes Syndicated?
Unfortunately, real life is not all roses. Bad reviews happen to the best of us, but there is no need to fret. When dealing with bad reviews on syndicated sites, you need to use best practices and engage in providing superior follow-up and customer remedy, when applicable.
Bad reviews will be disseminated across syndicated review sites, but so will your review response. On top of a strong, customer-focused response, if you work on securing a high volume of reviews, your negative review will be quickly deprioritized, making it virtually invisible to potential shoppers. Presently, many studies show that shoppers read as little as three reviews prior to making a purchasing decision. Through dedicated online reputation management strategies, you will quickly dominate by having a constant feed of positive reviews, making a once-off incident almost irrelevant.
ReviewTrackers offers enterprise-level features and tools for managing your syndicated reviews. Remember: these reviews have the potential to fuel your sales. Don’t let them go to waste by remaining passive; sign up for a demo today.