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The Importance of Online Reviews for Local Businesses

Posted on 01/09/2018 at 12:00 AM

If you are on the lookout for a new product or service, you might ask friends or family for recommendations, or even ask your online social circle to help make your decision. However, many people are looking to a quicker, easier way to weigh their options: online reviews.

In fact, the average consumer trusts online reviews 85% as much as a personal recommendation according to BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Customer Review Survey, with 97% of consumers reading online reviews for local businesses.

Online reviews have a significant impact on the purchasing decisions of customers. This is especially critical for smaller, local businesses which might not have the brand recognition that a larger chain does. Not only do positive reviews help businesses gain credibility, but they can also affect how much a consumer is willing to spend. According to Marketing Land, customers say that they are likely to spend 31% more if they read excellent reviews.

While the spending habits of consumers are important, reviews also play a part in SEO. A study conducted by Local SEO Guide in cooperation with the University Of California, Irvine found that if a keyword is included in the reviews for your business, or if your location is mentioned in a review, it can enhance your rankings in local search results.
 
Outside of local search, reviews are unconfirmed as a ranking factor; however, when it comes to paid search campaigns, reviews may be correlated with performance. Pratik Dholakiya, in an article for Search Engine Land states, “Google itself has stated that star ratings in AdWords enhance click-through by up to 17 percent, and a study by BrightLocal has found that organic listings with 4 and 5-star ratings (in the form of rich snippets) enjoy a slightly higher click-through rate than listings with no stars. While there’s never been a formal confirmation, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that higher click-through rates (CTR) may indirectly enhance your rankings in the search results.”

Reviews on Google My Business are displayed in Google search results or in the knowledge graph, and are a huge factor in a businesses’ success, but it is not the only review platform you should consider. Facebook reviews can also have an impact on a businesses’ success.  Additionally, Yelp and TripAdvisor are important for hospitality businesses like restaurants or hotels. In fact, on Yelp, just one negative review can lead to a loss of 30 customers, while a one-star increase can cause a five to nine percent increase in revenue.

With more and more users conducting online research prior to conducting business with an establishment, your reviews, or lack thereof, will make or break your success. Reach out to Global Reach to kick-start your review gathering campaign and strengthen your online presence.

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