What you do and create on your end is only half of the equation for your online reputation. The other half comes from how the general public interacts with your business and the experiences they share as a result. With the rise of social media sites, online directories, and other instant sharing apps, online reviews have become extremely influential. The short answer to the question of whether online reviews matter is yes. Read on to get a more in-depth look at why online reviews matter and just how much they matter to the success of your business.
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Online customer reviews are widely used by consumers to make purchasing decisions. Stats below, pulled from an infographic by Business 2 Community, indicate just how much reviews matter to consumers.
Reviews about your business don’t just impact those who are seeking out information about your business specifically online. Don’t forget, consumers don’t always know to search for your business specifically. In fact, it’s highly likely that many of your customers found your business by conducting an online search for the type of product or service you provide, or even for information they were seeking that is related to your industry.
Search is a powerful tool today, whether on Google, Yelp, Google Maps, or elsewhere, and your appearance in search results matters—which is also why online reviews matter. The presence (or lack) of reviews on your business directly impacts the way your business appears in broader search results. Local results for Google searches, Google Maps results, and Yelp are just three examples of review platforms that show both a star rating and even a snippet of the review in their search results.
The more positive reviews you get within specific directories, the higher your rank will be on that directory and the better your business will look. However, did you also know that a higher rank or higher volume of reviews in specific directories can also improve your rank on the directory? (Google, that is). Sites like Yelp and Angie’s list have strong SEO, so even if your business doesn’t rank on the first page of Google for a particular search, your listing on one of these directories, or your name as part of a “Top 10 plumbers in Boston” very well could.
This is why it is important to make sure you are consistently collecting positive reviews for your business—to help you rank in search results and also to ensure that what users do see in results is appealing.
Online reviews matter because they get more people to see your business. More importantly, they get more of the right people to see your business (those searching for information on it or for your products and service), and they present your business in a positive and trustworthy light. (Even a negative review, when responded to appropriately, can help to show transparency for your business). Yet the benefits of online reviews do not stop there. Read on for even more:
Social Proof: You can write top-notch content about how great your business is, but nothing is more credible than the approval of an actual customer.
Marketing Content: Reviews make for easy and effective content to share on your website or across social channels.
Holistic Viewpoint: Customer reviews offer insight not just into your specific product or services, but also into what the overall experience of engaging with your business is like.
Set Yourself Apart: Customers are more likely to write a review on our business if it stood out to them in some way, often mentioning things you may not have noticed yourself or thought to highlight to potential customers. Harness these small observations to set yourself apart from competitors.
Strengthen Your Brand Identity: How you respond to a review has just as much of an impact as the review itself, whether that review is positive or negative. Online reviews are opportunities to show your brand personality and integrity to the public.
Build Trust: No business is perfect and consumers value transparency, so a healthy mix of positive and negative reviews, accompanied by the proper responses on your end will earn you the trust of your audience
Improve Rankings: We already mentioned this, but it’s worth mentioning again. Having positive online reviews can boost your rank and visibility on highly trafficked platforms such as Google and Yelp
Not only do consumers read reviews, they read multiple reviews and directly allow the quality of a business’s reviews to influence their trust in and engagement with that business. Setting your business up in directories to get reviews and proactively reaching out for reviews is crucial to the growth of your business. Reviews matter, and if they’re not a priorityin your marketing plan, it’s time to make them one!