By on

Writing SEO-Friendly Review Responses: 4 Smart Tips

Successful online marketing strategy can never be passive. Highly effective online marketers base their strategy on embracing a full understanding of the importance of interactivity.

In fact, many enterprises assign fully dedicated teams to manage reciprocal channels exclusively, with the goal of maintaining brand-sensitive alignment across all platforms that permit customer engagement. The goal of including an interactive marketing strategy is to maximize conversion and direct leads by responding to the customer voice in a manner that speaks to a broader audience.

When it comes to drafting conversion-friendly responses, marketers should consistently remind themselves and their team that each word, each sentence and each paragraph offers unlimited potential to provide a response, not only to the customer at hand, but to future customers whose search behavior mimics the ideas conveyed in a review or a response to a review.

There are endless considerations that a marketer must take before crafting a response. Generally speaking, smart marketers with sound understanding of the business’ overall marketing strategy, as well as business intelligence specific to online search, can perform this task almost instinctively.

In reviewing responses from highly successful organizations, we can glean specific wisdom that is applicable across all industries. Interactive marketers please take note. The following tips are guaranteed to improve how customers find you on the web and ensure they form a positive, conversion-conducive opinion about your company even before they hit your website.

Understand Origination and Rank Order for Top Traffic-Generating Keywords

Effective interactive managers understand where their traffic is coming from and always take time to see it from the customer’s perspective. It is imperative that you frequently search for your revenue-generating keywords and become familiar with the review websites and social platforms showing on the first page of search, along with your own website, if at the time your website is fortunate enough to be present on first page of search.

Once you understand how your customers find your business, you will be able to prioritize your response strategy by placing the reviews and websites that show most often at the top of your list and tackling them with conversion in mind. It is important to emphasize that this is not an occasional task. Search engines constantly change their display priorities. Be ready to apply agile practices to your prioritization strategy. Having the right tools to observe the changes in opinion landscapes is essential to optimize your approach. ReviewTrackers offers centralized reporting to make the task less cumbersome.

Respond to Reviews in a Sales-Conducive Way

When composing a response to a customer review, both within your own website and in external channels such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, etc., marketers need to always remember that it is at that moment that the ball is in their court!

Primarily, your review response should be tailored around the concerns or compliments voiced by your customer. Your second priority should be to provide insights about your business that highlight value and invite future readers of your response to explore your offering.

A great example of this practice takes places with sellers of sports supplies who update their product models on a yearly basis. For the sake of illustration, let’s assume a marketer of sporting goods for a specialized brand identifies a positive review for his trail running shoe. The review in question highlights the features of the model for the year prior. It is generally a positive and highly informative review, but the product design for that particular year is about to be updated for the next season.

If played well, the response to the review should be full of gratitude and enthusiasm, reiterating the product quality by using the same descriptors utilized by the client, and adding power keywords.  The responder should immediately transition into pitching the new version for the upcoming season, and connect the dots by conveying the product features that will remain consistent for both models, as well as the upgrades that make the most recent product an attractive proposition.

The marketer should provide hints to the reader, pointing him to multimedia collateral on the website regarding the new product. Finally, providing insider info such as release dates or sales dates will increase the value of the response. It is important to remember that decisions about posting dates must be made with care as they reduce the evergreen nature of your response.

Don’t Neglect Negative Reviews

Since the main goal of review platforms is to provide what is to be perceived by the customer as unbiased opinions, the interactive manager should not pick and choose. Almost all reviews that show up in search in connection to your primary revenue-generating keywords are worthy of a carefully crafted response. In the case of negative reviews, you have more than one opportunity to present your brand in a positive light and you should seek to grab them all.

First, ensure your response is customer-sensitive and solution-oriented.  Future customers will certainly take that into account. When the solution presented has features attractive to potential future customers, take the opportunity to elaborate and pitch.

For example: if as a restaurateur, you receive negative reviews regarding limited children menu options, it would be smart to revise your menu strategy and include the features and pricing in your response. Not only does this show a high level of personalization, it also announces to future customers a feature that might be relevant to their specific search or consumer preferences.

Track Origination to Validate Value

Once you have rolled out a comprehensive review response strategy, begin tracking traffic origination to understand what percentage of your conversion originates directly from these environments. Also track your trends regarding most popular or read reviews as well as a linear report aimed at understanding changes in consumer perception. For many industries it has been proven that highly interactive threads tend to show correction in overall scores. This applies to both products and services.

A final thought

If you are a small- to medium-sized business drowning in an avalanche of reviews and interactive engagement, and having a dedicated team is simply outside your current budgetary reality, do not be discouraged. Proper tool implementation can significantly reduce the time spent in managing reviews and help you stay on top of the websites with user reviews that matter the most to your bottom line.

Chris Campbell

Chris is the CEO of ReviewTrackers. He has helped tens of thousands of businesses hear, manage, and respond to what their customers are saying online.


  1. KrisM77

    I am curious what happens if one cannot provide a valid response while wanting to include relevant keywords? What should the emphasis be put on, the marketing side of things or the customer relationship one?

    • Brian Sparker

      The customer you’re talking to always gets priority over the one that may come later. The concept of optimizing keywords only converts if you are engaging your audience on a human level.

  2. Nathan

    Hi, I’m wondering if responding to older comments has a value, or whether that could impact negatively on seo.

    • Brian Sparker

      Hey Nathan,

      Yes, responding to reviews at any time will benefit SEO as pages are indexed and re-indexed routinely. The more new content on the page, the more likely the page will be re-indexed. Hope this helps!

  3. Sam

    Nice post..responding to reviews will create opportunity to reach your websites to search engines.