Most marketers know that user reviews can make or break a business. Review sites consistently appear at the top of search results. Google also displays reviews near the top of business search results via its Google+ Local initiative.

Positive local reviews boost New York City SEO and sales, and, when used wisely, can increase conversions, improve ranking for long tail searches, and increase traffic to a business’s home or landing page. And we know they impact purchasing decisions – for better or worse.

Nestled inside these glowing reviews lie key insights about your customers. Here are a few ways to mine that data to make the most of those four-star reviews.

  1. Make Every Word Count

On his blog, copywriter Dustin Walker advises businesses to analyze user reviews, surveys, testimonials, thank you e-mails, and social media posts for words and phrases that will help an NYC company create impactful messages for its brand.

Look for words or phrases that reveal specific benefits, problems your business solved, and what customers like about your company. Watch for recurring themes. Pick the strongest three to four themes and incorporate them on your website, landing pages, headlines, and other copy.

For example, customers of a Greenwich Village wine bar consistently describe the venue as “unpretentious.” Recent reviews include such comments as “nice bartenders,” “friendly bartenders,” and “laid back atmosphere.” What should you promote on your website? Your friendly bartenders and unpretentious atmosphere, of course! By reflecting what customers think and experience, you build trust in your brand, which leads to more sales. This is Wise Technology meets Wise Content at it’s best!

  1. Consider the Tone

Research published in the Journal of Marketing, which analyzed how reviews influence conversions, found that the sheer number of reviews, regardless of content, made a positive impact on sales. The report also found that linguistic style made a difference.

For examples, patrons of an all-ages nightclub in Hell’s Kitchen may respond more favorably to reviews of “epic” shows, while patrons of The Four Seasons in Midtown East may respond more readily to comments about the “spacious, luxurious” accommodations.

Rather than post a review feed on your site, select editorial and customer reviews that match your business’s desired linguistic style. Use this linguistic style in product descriptions and landing pages.

Predict success or failure

Researchers at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business identified a method that allows software to “read” review content to predict which restaurants will survive and which will close.

Do your reviews contain the words “food,” “good,” “place,” “like,” “order,” “friend,” “time,” “great,” “nice” and “service?” If so, you’re in luck. Those words signified restaurant longevity.

This data-mining method, if it comes to market, could give restaurant operators another way to use review data effectively.

Final thoughts

User reviews can help an NYC business improve quality and customer experience, as well as provide clues to improve SEO. To analyze reviews, track keywords and other data in a simple Excel spreadsheet, or consider one of the many data mining platforms available.

How are you using review mining? Tell us in the comments section below.