Reviews have become an integral part of the decision making process for consumers shopping online for products and / or services.
Are reviews really necessary?
Yes, they are! Over the last decade, reviews have become an increasingly popular tool for savvy online shoppers to assist in their decision making. Whether consumers are looking to purchase from an online store or are searching for a business that provides the goods or services they need, they are checking out reviews. Statistics show that over 80% of users doing a local search and a whopping 90% + for a broader search are influenced by reviews. That means online customer reviews are one of the essential building blocks needed to create a positive reputation for your business. Not only do positive online reviews influence potential customers to choose your business over others, they can also boost your ranking in search results.
How many reviews do you need?
You can never have too many! We recommend that you have a ‘review acquisition strategy’ in place so that you can be constantly receiving new reviews. Without a plan for regularly acquiring reviews, the timing of their delivery can be a bit erratic, sometimes going weeks or even months with no new reviews. There are many different types of reviewers, those that always post reviews, those that only post when they are unhappy with a product or service, some that review occasionally and those that don’t post reviews at all. The last two categories present a great opportunity for obtaining more reviews. They often forget or just don’t think of it and with a bit of prompting from you may be happy to give you a review.
How do reviews affect your visibility in search results?
There are many factors that affect how well your business ranks in search results, depending on the type of business, location and nature of the query. When compared with all the other ranking factors, reviews can account for 5-20% of the total influence in local search results. As such, reviews are especially beneficial to local and ‘near me’ searches for increased visibility in the ‘local pack’ and Google maps results. Reviews are also beneficial for wider ranging searches in organic search results. When online users enter a search query, the Google (and other search engines) algorithm takes many things into account when presenting the search results. This includes the quantity, quality frequency of reviews as well as, if and how they have been responded to by the business owner.
Responding to reviews
Responding to reviews is just as important as acquiring them. When you respond to reviews, it lets your customers know that you appreciate their feedback. It is easy to respond to a happy customer review with a ‘thank you…etc’ but what about negative reviews? While negative feedback is disappointing, it is essential to respond in a helpful and tactful manner, even if the review is untrue or unfair. This shows potential customers that you are empathetic and are prepared to try to resolve a difficult situation. For star ratings with no comments, it is still beneficial to respond. Gaining and responding to online reviews can greatly enhance your visibility in search results and build a solid reputation for you and your business.
Contact Mash Media to find out more about why you need more reviews and how to get them!