You’ve put your heart and soul into your business. When you see a negative review online, it can be devastating, but realize that no business is perfect. In fact, negative reviews can actually provide some unexpected benefits for your business, including how they affect your search engine optimization (SEO). Here’s how.

Quantity Matters

As we previously covered, quantity is one-half of the two most important factors affecting rankings on review sites like Google My Business. The other half is rating, but at least a negative review helps increase the number of overall reviews.

Also, the more reviews a user has access to, the more well-rounded a picture of the business is. A user might take more time to scroll through more reviews, which increases the amount of time they’re interacting with a business.

Why Negative Reviews Aren't Necessarily Bad for SEOAny Review Is an Opportunity

In addition to upping the number of reviews your business has, each negative review is an opportunity for your business to positively wow the customer. When your business acknowledges the review, responds and offers a way to turn around the situation, you increase the likelihood that the customer will give you another chance.

If you respond well to the customer, they might:

  • Update their review, adding to the social proof that they’ve interacted with your business and have seen an improvement
  • Change their review altogether to one that is more positive
  • Remove the negative review

Even if they end up removing the negative review, maybe they’ll become a new loyal customer or review you again in the future.

Negative Reviews Increase Trust

A study by Revoo found that negative reviews have the following business benefits:

  • Customers spend more than 5 times as long on the site when they interact with bad reviews
  • Customers trust all reviews far more when bad reviews are present
  • Customers convert nearly 85% more often when bad reviews are present
  • When there are both positive and negative reviews, 65% of customers trust reviews more

When a potential customer sees a bad review, they’re more likely to investigate the business and read more of the good reviews, too. More time spent on a website is a positive signal to search engines that users are engaged with your business.

Why Negative Reviews Aren't Necessarily Bad for SEOReviews Can Provide Content Ideas

Content marketing is essential to improve SEO. By providing valuable content to target buyers, you drive more traffic to your site and support more engaged users.

Use negative reviews to come up with content ideas. Here are some examples.

  • A first-time customer at a salon complains that she agreed to balayage highlights but is unhappy with the results because she had no idea what they were in the first place. The business could write a blog explaining what balayage highlights are and who they’d look great on.
  • A customer comes to a jewelry store and expresses dissatisfaction online that none of the pieces had price tags on them. The store could write a blog highlighting the personal shopping experience it strives to provide, so customers who come in can focus on pieces that speak to them and get a one-on-one experience, instead of dashing around to base their selections on price.
  • An online reviewer expresses dissatisfaction that a recent visit to a restaurant was overly loud due to a rowdy bachelorette party nearby. The restaurant could create content focusing on how it loves hosting groups looking for a good time for a variety of occasions.

These types of content all help to explain positive aspects to the businesses that might have been overlooked by the online reviewers. When a business owner is responding to reviews online, they could link to a blog post that helps to provide more education to the reviewer.

Any Review Can Be a Great One

Having a significant presence on review sites, even including negative reviews, can benefit your SEO. People searching for the products or services your business offers within a review site won’t see you if you’re not there. Review sites like Yelp pop up in Google local search results. A bad review on one site doesn’t kill your business reputation completely. Since consumers search reviews on multiple channels, the more reviews you have in general, the more well-rounded the picture of your business is.

So don’t discourage or ignore negative reviews. Use a negative review to show the customer you’re listening and care about their opinion, and are willing to do what it takes to fix the situation. Create a review strategy that prioritizes the customer and your interaction with them. You might see your search results increase, too.

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