Written by Kyle O.
Social ranking is an umbrella term that describes several different ways that your business is evaluated and graded online by customers. Social ranking is fluid, changing as more and more people write reviews, testimonials, and critique your business online. In the digital age, your social ranking is a crucial metric that oftentimes may determine whether someone patronizes your company or another. Your ranking can help improve your visibility on search engines, as well.
Ultimately, you can’t control how others will review your business online. However, there are many ways to encourage a positive social ranking. Some ways to monitor your social ranking include: highlighting positive reviews, responding to negative reviews and, disputing any invalid rankings or reviews. Read on to learn more about basic types of social ranking, how ranking drives consumer choices, affects search engine rankings, and more.
Social Ranking Basics
There are several ways that consumers can rate your business online, including testimonials, reviews and numerical or “star” ratings. The data that is gathered through these ratings online is known as first- or third-party data. First-party data is acquired through collecting the testimonials and reviews that users leave directly on your own website, while third-party data is all other ranking data. Examples of third-party social ranking sites and applications include:
- Google and other search engines – Google ratings and reviews show up on search engine results pages (SERPs) alongside your business’ name. They can help mold the first impressions consumers have of your business.
- Social media accounts like Facebook – Facebook allows users to rank businesses on a 5-star rating scale and leave comments as review. Other sites like Instagram and twitter allow users to interact with businesses through written comments, which are visible to anyone who follows the business.
- E-commerce sites like Amazon – Amazon allows clients to rate sellers on a 5-star scale, in addition to rating individual products. Seller feedback plays a role in the algorithm Amazon uses to rank and promote certain products.
- Business directory and review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Yellow Pages – These sites and apps help clients find local businesses and see written reviews and ratings.
It’s essential that you claim your business on each of these sites and applications. This validates your business information with that application, allowing you to respond to and dispute any reviews or rankings. On Yelp, for example, if a client leaves a negative review, you can respond in real time. If you think a review was made in error or from someone who didn’t actually visit your business, you can dispute the review with Yelp directly.
Social Ranking and Organic Search
When potential clients are searching in the local area, the ratings and reviews that come up in the search engine rresult pages (SERPS) are likely to influence the likelihood of those users visiting your website, or not. Furthermore, these rankings can affect whether you’re seen in search engine results at all. In addition to considering its own ranking system, we have found that Google’s algorithm accounts for all first- and third-party social ranking data.
You can help ensure that your business can be found in the SERPS by claiming these various directories and applications. Remaining active within each You can help your search engine ranking by ensuring that all these ranking apps are appropriately claimed by your business and, that people are actively using them. A business with few or no reviews will likely have a difficult a time ranking highly in search results as opposed to a business with a few bad reviews and several good ones.
How to Improve a Negative Ranking
The first step to improving your online social presence is to take ownership of all ranking apps and delete any old or unused accounts. You’ll need to take an honest look at how your business is being perceived online and begin to respond to negative comments and ratings, as you would with positive reviews/comments. Just like you would try to appease a reasonable customer who complains in person, you’ll need to try to make peace with clients in the digital space. You may want to create a set of standardize messages that you use to respond to reviews and testimonials, good or bad, across different platforms.
Next, it’s important to start encouraging your customers to review your business, so you can start to grow the set of data that is averaged to determine your rank. Unfortunately, many clients are only inspired to leave a review when they’re upset about something, so encouraging them to leave a Google/Yelp review or follow you on Facebook can be helpful.
Monitoring even one of the many social ranking sites on your own can take a lot of time. You may choose to work with a digital marketing specialist to get started, who can audit your current ranking across different platforms and help create a plan of action moving forward. With time, you’ll begin to see your social ranking – and ultimately the way clients perceive you online – improve!