In today’s digital era, online reviews can make or break your business. From dental services to lawnmowers, consumers rarely spend their money on something without first checking out what other shoppers have to say.
According to a Bright Local survey, 82% of shoppers read reviews of local businesses. Positive online reviews can help you build brand awareness, sustain your business, as well as grow your customer base. What the consumers have to say about your business is more important than ever.
People Trust Online Reviews Written by Existing Customers
Getting referrals from satisfied longtime clients and customers can significantly boost your sales, of course. But, referrals from one-time customers can be just as valuable.
If an online review is written by a genuine, one-time customer, people will see it as a personal recommendation. The fact that consumers are ready to trust perfect strangers when deciding to make a purchase should motivate more businesses to focus on their online reputation management.
Online reviews can be even more valuable than face-to-face personal recommendations. Personal recommendations are often unsolicited. When a person tells their friend they’ve bought a cool new product, it’s often because they just want to share their excitement with someone.
The other person doesn’t necessarily want or need that product. But, people read online reviews when they are actively seeking to spend their money. In that case, just one positive review is enough to seal the deal.
They Expand the Conversation About Your Business
One of the best ways to expand your brand’s reach is by encouraging your clients or customers to review your business. Very good reviews spread very quickly. But, keep in mind, this also goes for very bad reviews.
When people have a good experience with your business, they are more likely to share it on websites such as TripAdvisor, FourSquare, and Yelp. Sites like these are vital to your online presence.
Just one online review can snowball and keep the conversation about your business going. Customers that written reviews often come back to check replies and engage with interested readers.
Positive reviews breed more positive reviews. So for instance, an individual review on Yelp can lead to more reviews on Healthgrades, Amazon, Facebook, etc.
They Can Increase Local Search Rankings
If you enable customer reviews on your website, they can significantly boost your organic rankings on Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines. And, considering the fact that customers actively seek out online reviews, they are a vital element of your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts.
SEO is essentially the summary of all the practices, efforts, and factors that boost your ranking on search engine pages. On top of adding credibility to your business, well-written reviews also add valuable and unique user-generated content to your website.
Google and other search engines use internet crawlers to find useful content that uses certain keywords. If the content on your website is good enough, Google will index it. User-generated reviews on your website can be a determining factor here.
It’s even better when you reply to the reviews on your website. If the reviews on your site are well-formatted, they may show up on Google as “rich answers”.
Not All Online Reviews Are Equal
While every genuine positive review is beneficial to your business, not all reviews have the same value. People don’t pay attention only to the content of the reviews they read; they also take note of who has written those reviews.
Anyone can review a business, and the consumers are well aware of that fact. Many dishonest businesses write fake reviews of their products and services to boost their online reputation. But, customers often see right through them.
If a review is written by a genuine person, people will recognize it as authentic and credible. Genuine and credible reviews are more important in some industries than in others.
The world of iGaming is a great example, as trust and security are a vital part of it. If a player wants to try out a platform, they will likely read online casino reviews written by experts and decide whether they’ll sign up or not based on what they have read.
Since they have to entrust the platform with their money and sensitive data, it’s only natural that they would want to make sure they are in safe hands. That’s why they turn to someone who has the experience and expertise to properly vet such platforms.
So, if you can, focus on getting the right experts in your industry to review your products or services. If a name that is respected by your target audience has something good to say about your business, your reputation will flourish.
Online Reviews Can Improve Your Off-Site SEO
What you do with your site isn’t the only factor that can boost your search engine rankings. What people have to say about your business elsewhere affects your off-site SEO.
Google uses some very sophisticated algorithms to determine the quality of your website. If Google finds a few positive online reviews of your business on TripAdvisor or Yelp, you will rank better on their search engine result pages (SERPs).
Online reviews can greatly affect your website’s visibility. By encouraging satisfied customers to write online reviews of your products and services, you can significantly boost your web traffic. And, increased web traffic will result in more leads.
The Internet is not considered to be “virtual reality” anymore. What happens online can greatly influence the offline world. If you focus on improving your online reputation and prioritize online reviews, your business will thrive in the digital era of today.