If you’re looking to have your small business get found more, convert more customers, and build more trust, look no further than online reviews. Few tools or resources are as impactful as reviews because of the many ways they work to your benefit.
Let’s take a deeper look into three ways online reviews can have a major impact on your business.
Reviews help you get found
Search engines, such as Google, rank local search results using three main factors: relevance, distance, and prominence.
Prominence refers to location popularity, using, in part, all available resources available online, such as links, articles and blogs, listings, and reviews.
“Search engines will factor in your review profile (including quality and quantity) when calculating your search position,” according to marketing platform BrightLocal. “We have established that consumers love reviews and in many cases, use a good or bad review to validate their decision to do business with you or look elsewhere. Search engines also take a similar stance.”
Moreover, Google reviews specifically have a large influence on rankings. Many studies have shown a strong link between Google reviews and local SEO rankings. In fact, Local SEO Guide did a study in 2019 on local SEO ranking factors and found that Google reviews were the most important factor to ranking.
“The prominence of reviews isn’t particularly shocking, as it’s a way for Google to crowdsource ranking factors, it’s hard to spam, and the most problematic type of abuse is illegal,” the study concluded.
Reviews convert new customers
Make no mistake – reviews have a major impact on buying decisions. When a business is well-represented online and has several quality reviews from happy customers, immediate trust is established with new, potential customers.
In 2017, Podium said a whopping 93 percent of consumers are influenced by online reviews.
“When it comes down to it, consumers want to hear about your experience from people like them,” Podium states. “That’s why online reviews can be your business’ best marketing tool. Your online reviews can be just the think needed to push a potential customer to purchase.”
And it doesn’t end there. Other key studies show that the average consumer reads 10 online reviews before making a purchase decision and that 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Reviews build trust
Getting reviews has certain risks – which is where partly where the trust is established. Ideally, your positive reviews will outweigh any potential negative ones, but bad reviews happen. However, any business that openly seeks out and showcases authentic feedback displays an enormous amount of transparency.
Here is how SEO juggernaut Yoast explains it:
“Reviews are a powerful source of information for users, simply because they’re more trustworthy. Think about it — if you’re buying a product, who are you more likely to believe: a salesman, or a friend of yours who has already bought that product? The salesman has reason to present biased information about the product. He wants to convince you to buy, because that’s how he makes money. Your friend, on the other hand, doesn’t have much reason to be biased, because they won’t get any extra benefit from persuading you to make a purchase.”
Fake or bogus reviews happen, but most people notice the difference between those reviews and the quality ones. That’s why it is a great practice to respond to all reviews – good or bad, real or fake.
Why? Simply put, because it shows you care about your customers and what they have to say. And that goes a long way.
Online reviews have a major impact on how businesses are perceived and seen online. Make sure to always ask your customers for reviews – and follow up with an appropriate response to their review.
Or if you’d rather work with a professional team, contact a digital marketing partner like TMS+ to increase your reviews, improve your reputation, and grow your digital presence.