Using client reviews to improve CTR, rankings, and conversions

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on using video snippets to maintain a healthy CTR in the wake of Google’s decision to remove authorship images.

That post is now completely obsolete.

But fear not. I have another method for improving CTR which Google has not (yet) squashed. Even better, the tactic I’m discussing, if executed effectively, may just improve your rankings in search engines, and your conversion rates.

This post is about how to use client reviews to make your website perform better.

Why Using Client Reviews on your Web Pages is Awesome

1. They can help inspire visitors to contact you

Social proof plays an important role in conversion optimization, and reviews from past clients provide powerful social proof. While featuring positive reviews from your client’s on your  own site may not be as powerful as if those reviews were posted on third party review sites like Yelp or Google, it certainly cannot hurt.

2. They can improve your rankings and traffic

It’s not always easy to come up with ways to make your website’s practice area page content 100% unique. Client reviews help solve this problem. Unique content happens to be a pretty important SEO ranking factor. Additionally if you are using reviews that are relevant to the services being discussed, you’ll be naturally adding good variations of your target keywords.

3. Display of review stars in Google

Google is still, for now, displaying review starts in their search results, which is believed to have a positive impact on click through rates:

Review Rich Snippet Example

Below I’ll explain how to use schema.org HTML coding on your reviews in order to trigger this display.

What Reviews Should You Use?

It’s not easy getting clients to leave reviews sites like Google+, Avvo, or Yelp.

However, I’ve found that most attorneys have ample written client testimonials (reviews). Typically, these reviews are used on a testimonials page (here is an example).

These are the reviews that are perfect for your primary practice area pages, which are among the most important on your site in terms of SEO.

  • TIP 1: If a client ever wrote you an email thanking your for your services, or complimenting you in any other way, reach back out to her and ask permission to  use those words on your website. Also be sure to request that you are allowed to use her first name and the first initial of her last name.
  • TIP 2: Ask the client how many stars they would rate your service, on a scale from 1 to 5. For our purposes, this will be important later on when we discuss using schema.org coding for the reviews (also important for State bar ethics compliance).

But how do you use these reviews on your practice area pages, and your testimonials page, without causing duplicate content issues?

I propose that you prevent Google from indexing your testimonials page using a noindex tag:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,follow”/>

Some would make the argument that this is not ideal, because if a person were to search Google for your reviews (ie. “The Jones Law Firm Client Reviews”) the testimonials page won’t appear in search results.

I can’t dispute this.

However, I would counter by saying  that the user can still click through to the testimonials page once they are on the site, which they may never find if you don’t use this tactic in the first place!

Using Schema.org Language to Trigger Rich Snippet Star Display in Google

By simply adding client reviews to your practice area pages you will have done a lot to improve conversions, rankings, and traffic.

By taking it one step further and marking up those reviews in schema.org coding you can actually improve your page’s click through rates as well, as Google will actually display stars next to your webpages.

Rather than taking you step-by step through the process of marking up your reviews is schema.org (boring), I have created a code generator which should help simplify the process. Please find that here:

[Schema.org Review Generator for Attorneys]

The Gist:

Don’t just chuck all of your written client testimonials on a “testimonials” page. Instead, include them strategically on your important practice area pages. This can help improve conversion rates, your SEO, and click through rates in search results.