Why are online reviews so important?
Online reviews are crucial to a business’s success in this age of digital media marketing. Customer reviews have a powerful effect on the behavior of your audience and as a result, the performance of your business, according to Forbes magazine. Your business reviews could affect whether or not a consumer searching for your particular type of service or product ultimately considers your company.
You have seen the aggregated “star” rating for a company or product. These stars are earned by the number of positive or negative reviews. The number of positive reviews your business has on external websites might actually have a bigger impact on rankings than reviews on a company’s own site. This is because Google’s local search algorithm incorporates data from several third-party directories and review sites such as Yelp, Google + and TripAdvisor. These sites have reviews of an entire business rather than a specific product, therefore, has a higher impact.
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The more reviews you have on these sites, and the more positive they are, the higher chance you’ll have at ranking in Google’s local three-pack – the top three local listings – which is valuable regardless of whether you only operate locally or work on a national scale. Plus, Forbes says that some Google reviews could be included as “rich snippets” associated with your business directly.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of consumers who read and trust online reviews. A survey by BrightLocal shows that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Forbes calls this “astounding” considering most online reviews are posted by total strangers. By not offering reviews, you are ignoring a potential marketing opportunity and alienating 88% of your buying population.
Offering online reviews puts your company in the sights of search engines. Each new review posted, for example, increases the amount of unique content your site offers and as a result, increases the chance of those pages being ranked. The more online reviews written, the more important your company is considered by a search engine, says onlinedept.com.
Don’t worry about some negative reviews. A mix of positive and negative reviews actually makes the positive ones seem more sincere. If dozens of a company’s reviews were all positive, that would seem a bit suspicious.
According to onlinedept.com, there are several reasons for a company to offer online reviews.
- Increased sales – Potential customers are more likely to buy your service or product that has been recommended by someone. Reviews help give consumers the information they need to make a purchasing decision.
- Understanding your customers – Reviews tell you if you’re doing a good or bad job. You can take this information and use it to correct or improve something and create a positive experience for the customer. Online reviews give a platform for your customers to have a voice.
- Consumer engagement – Many online review pages have become social communities. Customers who posted a review often keep coming back to see if others commented on theirs or just to see what other customers have to say about your company.
- Higher keyword content – A steady influx of search engine optimization keywords in customer reviews helps to bring up your website by search results for customers looking for your type of service or product.
Related Article: Designing the Right Website for Your Business
Take advantage of the importance of online reviews for your company and help secure your online visibility in search rankings.
Here at Metro Annex Interactive, we have developed a Review Marketing Process for our clients that encourages positive reviews from their customers and monitors top review websites for new reviews.
We engage with the reviewers by thanking them for positive reviews or working with the client to address negative reviews. Interacting with the people who leave reviews (positive and negative) show potential customers researching your business that you care about your customers and are dedicated to providing great customer service.