As an entrepreneur, you know that your reputation is your most valuable asset. What people are saying about your business matters! This is especially true about what customers are saying in online reviews because that becomes your online reputation.
Business owners should be listening to feedback, which means monitoring online reviews from your customers. While you may think that online reviews seem like such a small piece of the pie that makes up your online presence, more shoppers are relying on review websites when deciding what products to buy. In digital age of today, 93% of customers say that their purchasing decisions are influenced by reviews they read online.
Online reviews matter for many reasons, and have major implications through their effect on:
- Local Search Engine Ranking Position of your online content
- What results are served to consumers looking for your service
- Consumer decision in whether to purchase your product or a competitors
That just happens to make online reviews as critical to your Marketing strategy as Quality Content Creation or Search Engine Optimization. I have blog posts available for Search Engine Optimization (Basics) and SEO Blogging to assist you in the beginning of your content optimization.
Let’s dive right into the data behind my claim.
How Consumers Use Online Reviews
Before diving into the data of how online reviews affect a consumers’ purchase, we need to consider where those reviews would fit into the purchasing cycle for needed products and solutions.
More often than not, once a potential client has reached the point of reading reviews on Angie’s List, Yelp, Facebook, or elsewhere, they already know what they are in need of and how a business would ideally satiate that need.
The window between a review being read and a decision on your business is extremely small and consumers typically have a decision nearly immediately. This means that your online reputation may have a direct influence on your bottom line.
According to a recent survey, 84% of shoppers said they trusted online business reviews as much as a personal recommendation from friends or family.
But how many reviews are consumers reading before they make a decision? Also according to the previous survey, roughly 68% of consumers will read more than 4 reviews before they decide to entrust a business with their… business.
Consumer habits have also been changing prior to reading positive reviews. Chances are that a potential customer would rather reach out to you directly after reading positive reviews. While this may have a small impact on your potential eCommerce traffic, your phone, e-mail, or even storefront will receive more traffic.
But do online reviews have to do with my Search Engine Optimization? Well, let’s take a look at that next.
Why Online Reviews Matter For Local SEO
Search engines love, and put weight on, your online reviews because consumers love online reviews! If you know nothing about the algorithms behind Google’s response to your search query, just know that it exists to provide relevant and authoritative content to you.
Review websites exist to provide users with extremely accurate information about a business. Consumers use this information to assist them in making a decision about an upcoming purchase. The more efficiently (fast) they can accomplish this, the higher the rate for return visitors of their own. Take a look at the screenshot below from a search query of “car audio shop” on Google.
More often than not, anyone looking for new speakers or a radio for their car will start with Independence Audio-Video due to the high rating and number of reviews.
Additionally, MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey states that online reviews make up an estimated 10% of Google and other search engines weight while ranking search results. Below is the pie chart they use in the article to show the data.
Now that we know how your online reputation affects your business, what can be done about it?
Online Reputation Management
Fortunately, solutions exist to alleviate your reputation woes, such as the Review Monitoring and Reputation Management we can provide.
For a brief overview, you can view our promotional flyer here.
Stay tuned, this article is a work in progress and will be updated soon.