When we talk about optimizing for Local SEO, getting reviews from customers has always been one of the MUST-DO things that every business should include in their marketing strategy. But how important are reviews to your business? Here are five ways online reviews can help.
1 – Reviews can boost your ranking
According to MOZ’s 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, “reviews signals” are thought to make up 8.4% of the ranking factor used by Google and other search engines. That is a big percentage that affects where your business shows up in the search result.
Google also made it clear that the quality and quantity of reviews that a website has plays a part in determining local SEO ranking. The help section of the Google My Business Page states:
“Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking”
2 – Reviews increase sale conversion
Online reviews have been known to increase sales for many businesses. In a survey by Brightlocal, 92% of consumers read reviews for local businesses and 40% of them form an opinion by reading just one to three reviews. That’s a big leap compared to last year’s figures of 88% and 29%, respectively.
So, how does this translate to sales? Well, many consumers read reviews at the point of sale and make a purchase decision then and there, based on what they read. They are also more likely to visit your website and/or your store and buy your product after reading positive reviews. A 2012 report published by Reevoo documented how reviews produce an average of 18% uplift in sales, and 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
3 – Reviews generate additional long-term marketing materials
There is no better marketing than testimonials from satisfied customers. The number of customers who leave reviews and positive comments when they are happy with a purchase continues to increase year over years. This gives businesses a constant stream of positive messages that they can share on their website and social channels going forward.
4 – Reviews help you understand your customers
Online reviews are a great ways to better understand your customers and find out how you can improve your product and services. Customers often share what they love or hate about a business, its services or products, and sometimes they offer suggestions. Listening to this feedback can help you determine what you’re doing right and which areas need improvement.
5 – Reviews build customer trust
Not all reviews are going to be positive, but how you handle reviews, good or bad, is what will make the difference to your business. While consumers hold positive reviews and higher ratings in high regard, many also take into consideration how a business handles negative reviews. In fact, 68% consumers are more likely to trust reviews with both positive and negative scores. Also, 18% of consumers who leave a negative review are often turned into loyal repeat costumers after receiving a response from the brand or business.
Are you ignoring your online reviews?
You may not be actively collecting reviews from your customers/clients, but chances are some of them have already found your listing on various review sites and are leaving comments about their experiences. Some may even be sharing their comments across social networks. Don’t let any positive feedback go wasted! Negative comments that go unanswered can create a bad reputation for your business. Good or bad, reviews can be useful if you know how to benefit from them.