What is the one factor that will improve your SEO, conversion rate, AND your bottom line?
Think of how many times you’ve made a purchasing decision lately without consulting online reviews. Have you made a reservation to a new restaurant recently without turning to Yelp or OpenTable? How about making vacation plans without even glancing at TripAdvisor? Whether you realized it or not, online reviews have become a cornerstone of modern purchasing decisions.
Consumers love online reviews.
And Google and other search engines love online reviews for one primary reason, consumers love online reviews.
Online reviews have major implications. They affect:
- Your local SEO rankings
- Your click through rates on search results
- Consumers purchasing decisions
In the coming blogs, we will discuss the many facets of your business that online reviews affect. Let’s first look at how important your online reviews are to consumers.
How Important Are Reviews to Consumers?
Just how many people are actually going online to read reviews?
In a study done by ZenDesk, 66% of all consumers reported reading online reviews. This may not seem like an overwhelming amount until you realize that 2 out of every 3 people that call or come into your business have probably consulted your online reviews before making that decision. And this study was done in 2013.
Looking at Yelp alone, in 2013 they had roughly 40 million reviews since their launch in 2004. By the end of 2015 they had over 90 million. The popularity of online reviews has exponentially grown in only the past few years.
While I must admit, some reviews are downright comical, most consumers do not look up online business reviews just for entertainment. You must understand that by the time someone has started looking at reviews, they are now in the process of selecting a business to fulfill a need or want they have already identified, and they have usually narrowed the down (whether by preference, location, or some other deciding factor) the businesses they will consider to fulfill that need or want.
The critical thing to note is that the mental gap between reading a review and making a decision to purchase from a business is ridiculously small, and typically results in a yes/no decision almost immediately. So as a small business, your online reputation can directly influence your bottom line.
So how do online reviews affect consumers?
According to the same ZenDesk study, a whopping 90% of consumers reported being influenced by positive online reviews and 86% reported being influenced by negative online reviews.
The majority of consumers read, on average, only 6 reviews before forming an opinion of a business, and over 70% of consumers report that positive reviews make them trust a business more. Consumers are placing as much weight on reviews as they would personal referrals. And they trust them just as much as if it was a recommendation from their friends or family members.
Hopefully this puts into perspective just how important online reviews are in helping steer consumer purchasing decisions for the better or worse.
In the coming blogs, we will be discussing why reviews are a major aspect of your local SEO and how they affect it, how to gather more reviews in a business- and SEO-friendly way, and how to manage your online reputation.