Auditing your online reviews can be a tricky, time-consuming business. With the right approach and a helpful tool or two, though, you can really streamline the process and turn it into something more manageable.
How to Perform a Review Audit
Step One: Your Plan of Attack
Let’s go over your plan first. This step is essential, as not having a plan in place before you begin might just derail the whole thing. If you just start looking at your reviews willy nilly, you’ll surely miss some, get sidetracked, and end up giving up.
To start, this is how you perform a review audit: search yourself. You want to see your reviews as someone would who is looking you up. To find the most reviews, try searching for A) just your name, B) your name + reviews, and C) your name + complaints. So if you’re Joe’s Plumbing, first search “Joe’s Plumbing” then “Joe’s Plumbing Reviews” and “Joe’s Plumbing Complaints” to see if you get anything more.
Note: If you’re getting results for another Joe’s Plumbing, you can add a location identifier to your search terms. Example: Joe’s Plumbing Dallas Reviews.
Don’t do it yet! You need somewhere to record your audit first. It’s time to set up a spreadsheet! Make columns for:
- Review site name
- Branded search term
- Branded search position
- Number of reviews
- Star rating
Site Name: The name of the site where the reviews are located. Examples: Google, Facebook, Yelp, BBB
URL: The link right to the page with your reviews. Example: https://www.facebook.com/pg/yourpagehere/reviews/
Search Term: The branded term you used to find the result. Examples: “Joe’s Plumbing” and “Joe’s Plumbing Reviews”.
Branded Search Position: Where the result ranked in search results. Google won’t really have a position because it’s alongside the results, but Facebook might be number 2, Yelp number 3, etc.
Number of Reviews: How many reviews are on the site. You might have 40 on Google, 21 on Facebook, 5 on Yelp, etc.
Sentiment: What’s the general sentiment about you on the site? This can be positive, negative, neutral, or N/A if there aren’t enough reviews to get a feeling.
Star Rating: If the site has a star rating for you, record it here.
Notes: Anything you want to remember about the site. Could be something like “the overall sentiment is positive but there’s one nasty negative review that shows up”.
Step Two: The Searching
It’s time to search yourself and fill out your spreadsheet. To make this as organized and as unbiased as possible, here are a couple things to try/keep in mind:
- Use an incognito or private browsing window if possible to keep your search history out of your results.
- Go through the first 3 pages of results for each of your two search terms.
- If you’re interested in how prospective employees will see you, add a fourth search term: “Joe’s Plumbing Careers”.
- You’ll get some of the same results for your search terms, like Google and Facebook. You don’t need to record them more than once.
Step Three: The Analyzing
If you’ve done all your searching, you now have an awesome, detailed spreadsheet to help you with your reputation management. Use the spreadsheet to help you decide where and how to focus your energy with getting more reviews and manage the ones you have.
For instance, if your searching has revealed some not-so-awesome reviews on a site in the second page of results, maybe you want to work on getting a couple great reviews there to balance it out. Or, maybe the reviews are unfounded and you decide to work on getting them removed.
Bonus: Using Tools to Audit Your Reviews
Performing an audit like the one we just described takes time, but it can be really eye-opening and helpful in terms of improving your online reputation.
A couple tools we recommend checking out and using in your review audit are Google Alerts, SocialMention, and Tweetdeck. These three are all tools you can use to monitor the web for mentions of your business.
If you don’t have the time for all of that or just want to expedite the process and make it all much easier, there are tools that will look for reviews for you, and continuously monitor them, too.
Review tools can do a lot for you beyond monitoring reviews, as well. A tool like Rize Reviews will find and monitor reviews, help you get more excellent ones, help you use your great reviews as marketing material, send automated emails for you, and more.
Ready to get started on a much faster review audit? Scan your reviews now!