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How Reviews Impact SEO and Your Brand's Reputation Online

Dec 23, 2019
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Reviews are an essential part of the customer journey. In fact, 90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 33% looking every day. What's more important is 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 52% of 18-54-year-olds saying they ‘always’ read reviews.

In this video, we will look at the 5 statistics around reviews and what actions you can take to ensure your business has a great reputation online.

 

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Video Transcription:

We're going to be talking about reviews and specifically we're going to look back at a little bit of the data from 2019, what we can look forward to in 2020 and beyond, and the power of reviews online.

As we know, people don't like to be the first person to try something new often. You know this, a small subset of people, those are what we call innovators in the technology, product adoption life cycle. But most people want to know that they can trust a business. Most people want to know that the business has done a good job for other people before they give you their money, before they really take that next step in engaging in a relationship with you.

We're going to look at five statistics. This was done in the case study by BrightLocal, which is a great local SEO company tool and we're going to look at how those apply, not just to local businesses, but I also think this applies to any kind of business online that's looking to build their credibility and also making sure that people know exactly who they are and the products and services that they did deliver and how they're delivering for their clientele.

find local business

The first statistic is 90% of consumers use the internet to find a local business last year. 90% and 33% of people use the internet daily to find a local business that's solving their problems. So obviously the direct response to that is to have a search marketing strategy, search visibility strategy, whether that's local SEO, whether that's using a Pay-per-click, this means like taking control of your Google My Business account, have control over your brand's visibility online, have a plan of action. If you're already not investing in digital marketing or you're not putting these things into place, you can take control over a number of these elements to make sure that you show up when people make that search.

read online reviews

The next statistic is 82% say that they read online reviews and 54% of 18 to 54 year olds, which is a pretty large group, say that they always read online reviews. It's surprising to me how many businesses aren't actually reviewing their reviews, not looking at what people say and not really having a plan of action. So you need to not leave this to chance. If you leave this to chance, you're going to show up one day and realize that either you have no reviews and people don't have any opinion of you because they don't know how to find you. Or two, you've got reviews from people that may never have done business with you.

This is something that we see all the time with the businesses we work with, where people would review, leave a bad review and they've either not done business with you or maybe they were like a really bad client that you had to get rid of, but because you got rid of them, they got very upset and so they left this horrible review. That can damage your company's reputation online. If you have a damaged reputation, people are going to see that and they're going to wonder whether or not they should do business with you.

number of reviews

Number three, average customer reads 10 reviews before making that decision to trust a company. Now we live in a world where a lot of interactions are done, not face to face as much in the beginning, but done online and they're going to make those opinions and form those opinions of you and your business based on what they read about you.

So how many reviews do you have? Do you just have one or two or are you being active in building up that base of reviews? Now, here's the sad part. People are more likely to leave a review when they've had a bad experience then when they've had a good experience. If they've had a good experience, they go on with their life, they experienced what they wanted, they thought it was, you know what it should be.

But when you've had a bad experience, you trigger and say, "Well, I'm going to get back. I'm going to show them how upset that I am." So you have to be proactive and ask your best customers to leave reviews for you and you have to make it easy. If there's too many hoops to jump through to leave reviews, it makes it really hard. Now, Google's made a number of changes to Google My Business and the way that local business listings are built out, to make reviews easier. You used to have to sign up for a Google account and go through all these other processes but now you can just generate a link and there's a number of tools that you can do. BrightLocal has a tool where you can generate a Google My Business view link. Whitespark.ca is another company that has one. There's a number of ways for you to really direct people right to where you want them to be.

Now there's other sites, you know Capterra, G2 Crowd. There's another just tons of these when it comes to technology companies. Now those reviews tend to be a little bit more extensive, but you can also use incentives on those sites, where you can give people gift cards or you don't pay them or really not pay them directly, but you know, say, "Hey, if you give me a review, we'd like to give you a cup of coffee," something along those lines to give them an incentive to leave you a good review.

less than 4 stars

Now number four, only 54% say they would consider doing business with a company with less than four stars. Again, this is about taking control. When you have people leaving you bad reviews, the only way to beat that and combat that is to get more good reviews. So let me say before, ask your best customers. Make that connection with them. Make it easy for them to leave reviews and have a plan of action in place to generate these new reviews, when you close a new business, when you have something specific that happens, a good event, maybe if you're on retainer service, so you will help them win a big contract and now's a good time to ask for a review. You've completed the purchase, now's a good time to ask for a review. When these events happen and they're a good event, make sure you have a plan in place where you can ask your customers to build up those reviews. This is going to help make sure that you have more say over the amount of stars that you have, especially when it comes to Google My Business.

90% of buyers

The last one is 94% of average readers will actually read the businesses response. A lot of times I'll see bad reviews and the business will never respond to a review, will never have a comment, they'll never engage and then on the off chance that they do, there's a lot of times with the business owner will argue with the person leaving them a bad review.

Not responding and they're responding in a very negative stance is not a good thing. It's not going to help you come off good, even if that person is in the wrong. Taking the higher ground and actually walking through and apologizing for the experience. We had this happen with one client where the person who was mad at them was actually mad at a relatedly named company. It wasn't actually my client's company and we were able to address that. We're saying, "We're sorry that you had a poor experience, but I'm pretty sure the company you're looking for is not ours. If you would like us to come in and have look to help you out, we be more than happy to do so." We kind of flipped the conversation where we didn't blame them for feeling upset. You don't get aggressive but you just apologize for what you can apologize for and then you set up the next step in the conversation.

The same goes here. You respond with class. Make sure that you're coming out as the person who wants to solve the problem, not make the problem worse. Responding shows that you care. Responding shows that you're engaging and you want to build that connection and you want to increase the trust that people have in you.

So these are five very, very cool statistics from 2019 and then these are five responses of things that you can do. You can be proactive as a business owner and begin to tell your story the way that you want to tell the story and make sure that people read the right things about you online, engage with your business online and in a very positive manner. People read reviews, they're extremely important. This is one area that you can definitely take action on right now and set yourself up for success.

If you have any questions about what we covered today or anything else on this channel, please comment below. We'd love to continue the conversation with you online. Until next time, Happy Marketing.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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