Negative Reviews and Search Engine Traffic Don’t Mix

Ever wonder how to analyze your website’s traffic and observe how it’s affecting your company? We ran into a situation where a client’s website was receiving a majority of its traffic from search engines. Then, we found out something more interesting – and it wasn’t good. As per the title, negative reviews and search engine traffic don’t mix.

Logging into Google Analytics anyone can be overtaken by the sheer amount of data available. Because we are familiar with it, right away we noticed the large amount of search engine traffic (75%) compared to direct (14%) and referring sites (11%). Since the client doesn’t blog, tweet, or post on Facebook, we assumed most people couldn’t remember the domain name, and thus used search engines to find the company. This is typical and there’s nothing wrong with it – sometimes search is more efficient then typing a domain.

Traffic Sources Overview chart found on Google Analytic’s dashboard.

Under Traffic Sources, we traveled to Search Engines. From here we can see which search engine provider referred the most traffic. In the below example, Google is clearly in the lead.

A majority of search engine traffic is coming from Google.

We decided to click on Google to see what phrases searchers were using to find the company. As you can see, a majority of them were searching specifically for the company. Again, nothing is wrong with this – small local businesses, which do not blog, usually see their business name as the most popular keyword phrase used when searching.

Visits sent by Google along with the keyword phrases used when searching.

Looking back, nothing is wrong with the analytics – what lies ahead is the problem. Noticing that ‘Coffee Johns Grill and Bar’ is the popular phrase to use, we decided to a do a search. Take a peek at the screenshot below – notice the reviews – just inches below the organic and local listing. These are not good!

Notice the negative reviews under the organic and local listing.

Here’s the problem. A majority of the traffic is coming from Google. The negative reviews are noticeable and encroaching on the organic listing. Are these reviews affecting traffic to the website? More importantly, are they reducing foot traffic and business to the client? Whatever the case, if you run into a situation such as this, contact your online reputation management team. They will help you respond to poor reviews, and if needed, hide them (with good reviews) so they are barely noticeable.

Note: Although the article represents the information we researched, Coffee Johns Grill and Bar is not the real name of the company.