In this Information Age, people rely on word of mouth or what they read on the internet when making decisions. It is a rare thing these days for people to just walk into a restaurant without knowing the background of it and what others thought of it. Similarly, most people no longer book travel, make purchases or try anything new without first reading the online reviews about it. It is estimated that a full 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. One recent survey also found that 88% of consumers put as much faith into online reviews as they do what their friends recommend to them. In 2014, approximately 40% of those surveyed regularly read reviews to determine if a business was a “good business” and that number was rising rapidly. With all of this information, truly how important are reviews to the performance of your brand?
Search Engine Optimization
One of the primary benefits of having on-site rankings or reviews is that it will have a good effect on your organic search traffic. Each review, whether good or bad, increases the amount of unique content on your site, and search engines will label you as a relevant source of information on this topic.
What if you don’t provide reviews on your website? Well, external website reviews are also good for search engine purposes too! Third-party websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor have a number of reviews of businesses and these reviews contribute greatly to search engine traffic. A recent search engines ranking survey found that reviews made up about 10% of how search engines rank results and quantity, velocity and diversity made up the biggest factors in this. While having good reviews of your business is nice, it won’t matter as much to the search engine. What truly matters is the number of reviews you have on these external sites.
Of course, if you are going to have online reviews of your business, your goal is to strive for them to be positive. This is not just for the benefit of the customer reading the review, but because Google sometimes includes “rich snippets” about your business under your search results. Rich snippets help your brand stand out among the others who appear in the search, and if you have many positive reviews online, one of these may be delegated as a rich snippet.
But what if you have a number of “bad” reviews?
You’ll definitely want to work on changing that, but research has found that bad reviews may still have a positive effect on conversion rates. A mixture of good and bad reviews shows that as a company, you aren’t trying to hide anything. No business is perfect and customers who see only 5-star reviews might become suspicious and walk away. It was found that 68% of consumers trust the reviews more when there are good and bad scores, although the good ones should outnumber the bad ones as customers are more likely to spend more (31% more) on a business who has excellent reviews. As well, consumers who actively seek out poor reviews will read them, be more engaged and are more likely to convert.
As was said above, when it comes to online reviews, quantity is more important than quality.
If you don’t already have either internal or external reviews for your brand, the time to get started is now. Reviews are becoming even more comprehensive, with new tools and technologies being developed. Developing a good set of reviews will take time, so getting started as soon as possible is important. Reviewers read, on average, about 4-6 reviews before making a buying decision. While that isn’t a huge number, you’ll want to make sure you have more than just these six reviews for them to read. The easiest way to get started is to ask your loyal and satisfied customers to share their experiences. This will also ensure your first reviews are positive, although don’t forget that a few negative ones won’t truly hurt you.
Online reviews aren’t just important for your brand, they are essential, affecting everything from a potential customers buying decisions to your search engine traffic.
Infographic by- Invesp