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The Real Relationship Between Your Customer Reviews & Your SERP Results

by Josh Escusa, Reputation Management Specialist

We all know that your dealership's customer review pages can be a great way of promoting your business and showcasing your great reputation. But do you know how that content impacts your SEO?

When a customer leaves a review for your dealership, they naturally tend to use keywords that get your website ranked. These words may include car makes, models, parts, and the dealership name and location. Since each customer has their own personality and their own way of writing, this guarantees the generation of unique content that the search engines love.

Happy Customers, Happy Search Engines

If you want to engage your customers in a way that complements the SEO value of the page, you want to keep the following things in mind.


  • Avoid cookie cutter responses. Search engines penalize duplicate content, so personalize your responses and make them unique. This gives you the opportunity to address their specific concerns.
  • If applicable, acknowledge the customer’s vehicle make, model, your dealership’s city, or any services that your dealership may have provided. This will improve your chances of ranking for these terms and monopolizing the SERPs.
  • Respond with more than one or two sentences. Search engines consider the amount of content on the page, so try to give your responses some substance.
  • Stay active and respond often. Opinions vary when it comes to whether or not dealerships should respond to every customer review, but it's recommended that you respond to every negative review and one out of every five to seven positive reviews.

Follow these best practices, and before you know it, your website could be showing up for keywords that you never even considered. Done right, your dealership will naturally be using relevant keywords that apply to the reviews you are getting.


Is There a Negative to Responding to Negative Reviews?

If my dealership is responding to negative reviews, doesn't that just increase the chances of those negative reviews showing up in the search engines?


Yes, this is possible. However, keep in mind that business transparency is extremely important, and as a best practice you should always respond to your negative reviews. People want to know how a dealership is handling these reviews. By apologizing and being sincere, your dealership may not only reconcile with the customer who left the review, it may also gain new customers who are impressed by the way you responded to the issue. A genuine response to a negative review can sometimes be a dealership's secret rep man weapon.

Here are a few tips that you can use specifically when responding to a negative review.

  • Focus on thanking the customer for the review and apologizing for their dissatisfaction.
  • Avoid including words such as worst, bad, and horrible in your response. Using these words too often may cause your dealership to become associated with those words in search results. You definitely don’t want to rank for “worst dealership in town.” Instead of dwelling on the negative, your response should highlight how you will take action.


Example of a bad response:

  • When describing the actions you'll take to address a concern maintain a positive tone, using words such as “best," "honest," and "great.”



Example of a good response:


An approach like the one above can help transform even the worst review into a positive for your dealership. And by utilizing these simple tips you’ll improve your customer engagement and naturally optimize for the content that you want your customers to see. This will set you apart from other dealerships that are not putting this much thought into how to respond to customer reviews.


In a market as competitive as ours, every little bit helps. So start making your customer reviews work for you and start reaping the rewards.



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About the Author

alt="Josh Josh Escusa is a Reputation Management Specialist at Cobalt. He graduated from Washington State University with a BA in Psychology. Josh has career experience in web development, social media, email marketing, and SEO. He currently works with dealerships to improve their online presence through engaging with their customers and showcasing their excellent customer service. In his spare time, Josh is an avid mixed martial artist, social dance instructor, and adventure seeker. His first car was a 1992 Lincoln Continental. Feel free to reach out to Josh at

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Tags: Car Dealer, Cobalt, Ratings, Reputation, Reputation Management, Reviews, Social Media


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Comment by Tom Gorham on October 4, 2013 at 1:17pm

Great advice Josh.  Thank you!

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