Case Study: How to Use Feedback to Win Over Customers and Dominate in Google Rankings
In the early days of working with Genius Printing (a professional canvas printing company), like many businesses, they were eager to improve their standings in search listings and get more traffic to their site. Knowing the high value Google places on social signals, I designed a plan that used the power of feedback to help them realize their goals.
Reviews are Some of the Most Influential Social Signals
Once upon a time, getting to the top of search listings was all about using the right keywords and clever optimization, and while those things are still important, today Google is mostly interested in what real people have to say. There are a variety of “social signals,” but one of the most powerful types is customer reviews.
Reviews are so valuable that they appear within every business listing on search engine result pages (SERPs). As seen below, businesses are ranked between one and five stars.
Of course, if a business doesn’t have any reviews then it won’t have any ratings on the SERPs. This puts a company at a huge disadvantage compared to those with four or five stars and plenty of customer feedback to vouch for them.
Because reviews carry so much influence and potential, ultimately, we decided to make them the focus of Genius Printing’s online campaign.
Take Control and Start Building Positive Reviews
Initially, Genius Printing was in desperate need of online ratings and had little foundation for building more reviews and getting attention to their site. To solve this problem, I took a multi-stepped approach:
- Created accounts on a variety of review sites to get extra “link juice” from the review to Genius Printing’s pages.
- Encouraged EVERY customer to leave comments by dedicating an entire page of their site to reviews and asking for feedback in email footers, invoice footers, and anywhere else it made sense.
- Automated the process, which included a “feedback request” in emails sent after every purchase. With this, Genius Printing can even post a review on a person’s behalf.
- Incentivized customers by offering rewards if they provide feedback (e.g. discounts, entry into a competition, movie tickets. etc.).
- Had feedback sent to the womo.com.au website (the No. 1 business review site in Australia).
Push Feedback to the Next Level with Widgets and other Customizations
After those first steps, I wanted to take things up a notch, so I did three additional things to make it even easier for folks to provide and view feedback.
- Put a “widget” at the bottom of every Genius Printing page (visitors simply click the widget to leave a review).
- Made a custom tab on their Facebook page where followers can leave and read reviews.
- Put a direct link to Genius Printing’s Google Business page inside the “feedback request” form for all customers with a Gmail account. This helps accumulate Google Places reviews, which are SUPER important for targeting local customers.
Live Feedback Pages Show off Reviews and Entice Viewers to Explore the Site
By this point, Genius Printing had feedback pouring in and was getting the kind of exposure they had always hoped for. Still, I didn’t stop there. I saw the potential for additional growth if we could better integrate these reviews into Genius Printing’s website. To remedy this issue, I created a live feedback page, which pulls all feedback data (live from the database), sorts it by state and suburb, and displays it on their website. This live feed boosts engagement and encourages viewers to read more comments.
Possibly the most useful element of this page are the links embedded within the user reviews. I did this by setting up a system where, if a reviewer mentions a particular Genius Printing product, the word then becomes a hyperlink to the associated product page.
For example, in the image below, a reviewer referred to “rolled canvas.” This word now links to the rolled canvas product page on the Genius Printing website.
Why are these links so beneficial?
- They turned the feedback page into a portal to the other thousands of pages on the site.
- Viewers can quickly find products discussed in reviews.
- They automatically build internal links to all product pages (causes Google to see these pages as significant, which increases their appearance in search results).
- With product pages more prominent in search listings, it is easier for searchers to find items of interest. This increases click through rate and lowers bounce rate.
Targeting the Local Audience is the Key to Top Google Rankings
Not only does Google love social signals, it also prefers local results over most anything else. This means, if a business can optimize its site for local searchers, it has a much better chance of ranking highly. To help Genius Printing connect with the coveted local audience, I included hundreds of links to Australian suburbs on the bottom of the feedback page.
Like the reviews, these suburbs are dynamically pulled from the feedback database and hyperlinked. This essentially generates hundreds of suburb pages within the website. So, if a searcher types in “Canvas Prints Albany Creek” they are taken to a page specific to that search term.
Notice in the above image that “Albany Creek” and “Photos on Canvas” appear in the URL, Title, and heading tag. It also filters the reviews to just those from people in Albany Creek. Similarly, I added links for states and capitals at the top of the page. These links take users to feedback for a particular state or capital. Obviously this page is designed for local searchers. Did it rank 1st in Google listings? Yup.
Above All, Listen and Respond to Feedback
All the strategies discussed above were great at getting Genius Printing where it wanted to be. However, I knew that if the business wanted to stay at the top, they had to use feedback as a means for positive communication with their customers. With this in mind, we set up a few critical policies:
- Place A5 flyers in the box of every order inviting people to leave feedback.
- Respond to EVERY type of feedback (good or bad).
- Record people’s suggestions and consider implementing them.
- Let folks know Genius Printing appreciates their suggestions, and inform customers if the company puts their advice into action.
By proving to customers that their comments matter, Genius printing saw an increase in brand loyalty and earned thousands of positive reviews.
Business Transforms into a Feedback-Centric Organization
By the end of our efforts, Genius Printing and I had taken a basic SEO concept — having a profile on a feedback site — and integrated it into nearly every facet of their business.
Now, everything with Genius Printing revolves around feedback, and their customers have really taken notice. Not to mention, they skyrocketed above their competitors and won the 2012 Womo Business Award for the largest number of positive reviews.
This award came with multiple perks, including Genius Printing being talked about in the Womo newsletter, which reaches tens of thousands of people. Also, Genius Printing’s status on Womo makes the printers even more “findable” through Google, since they now have repeated listings with Womo and their own website.