Business' Guide

A Definitive Guide to Online Reviews

BlogBusiness' GuideA Definitive Guide to Online Reviews

Table of contents:

  • Reviews are vital to a business’s reputation
  • Some Statistics First
  • Positive Online Reviews are Important for Your Business
  • The Impact of Local Business Reviews on SEO
  • Get Online Reviews and Leverage Them to Your Advantage
  • Ask for Reviews
  • Buying Reviews?
  • Track and Respond to Positive Reviews
  • Track, Embrace and Respond to Negative Reviews Positively
  • Gain Credibility Through Business Reviews
  • Manifest Your Reviews
  • Conclusive Tips
  • Summary

 

Reviews are vital to a business’s reputation

In today’s digital age, online reviews are increasingly vital to a business’s reputation. More than 90% of consumers read online reviews before looking into a business, and they trust those reviews as much as they make personal recommendations.

While you can spend thousands of dollars trying to shoot your business to the top of the google search engine results page, online reviews are one of the most effective ways to drive potential customers to your business. Sure, that can be expensive and inefficient. Consumers rely on online reviews as part of the search process for goods and services. 86% of consumers read local reviews to decide if a business is any good. Online reviews improve visibility in search rankings, which leads to an increase in web traffic for a business and an improvement in online reputation.

Reviews can bring in new customers, affect how a reader perceives you, and help you improve your product or service.

Despite the best efforts of businesses, many customers don’t leave online reviews—and some can even be bad for business. The following online reviews guide will help you understand why they are important sources of information for consumers, how to get them, and how to deal with bad ones.

 

Some Statistics First

Data from BrightLocal shows that online reviews are one of the most critical factors in influencing a consumer’s buying decision:

  • Over 9 out of 10 people aged 18-34 read reviews before buying a product or service;
  • It takes roughly 10 online reviews before consumers begin to trust a local business;
  • 91% of consumers age 18-34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations;
  • 80% of consumers age 18–34 have written online reviews, compared with only 41% of consumers 55 and older;
  • 40% of consumers are more likely to trust reviews written within the past two weeks;
  • 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to customer reviews;
  • 57% of consumers only use companies that have an average 4-star or above rating.
90% consumers read reviews before purchasing
Source: BrightLocal, Consumer Review Survey in 2022

 

Positive Online Reviews are Important for Your Business

Online reviews can help to capture the attention and interest of potential customers. Online reviews have the same effect when people search specifically for your business or for a service or product your business offers. They are likely to trust your online reviews to spend 31% more than customers of businesses that have lower ratings. Positive online reviews can affect customers’ purchasing behavior positively.

Creating a customer review site will help your business discover and publicize the excellent customer service you provide. Review sites such as Google or Facebook are great for business owners because they present a cost-effective way to attract potential customers by providing reviews that can be easily implemented. Other marketing techniques like social media campaigns can be costly and time-consuming. Still, an online review strategy can be quickly put into action and have an immediate, positive impact on a company’s success.

Online business reviews are more than an effective alternative to SEO and PPC. They are also a reliable method for convincing customers that your business is trustworthy and professional. Additionally, positive online reviews require little time and money investment but can encourage customers to spend more, which increases your bottom line in the long run.

It’s vital to understand the power of reviews. Leverage these insights to utilize local business reviews and effectively navigate the advantages of online reviews.

Positive reviews are important for business
Source: BrightLocal, Consumer Review Survey in 2022

 

The Impact of Local Business Reviews on SEO

Mobile and web-based businesses can now achieve better local search rankings for their products and services. A growing number of companies have leveraged online reviews to move up the ranks in the local search engine results.

Over 200 ranking factors are included in Google’s search algorithm, with review data contributing 10% of the total weight. Local SEO algorithms may be different than generalized SEO algorithms, which indicates that local businesses could benefit from positive online reviews.

A site’s click-through rate is an essential factor in Google’s local algorithm. A business with many positive reviews will have a higher CTR than a site with fewer reviews—assuming they have the same number of stars. It means that if you have a local listing with a high CTR, the placement of your business may rank highly on the search engine results lists. 

Online business reviews can have a significant impact on local search engine results. They can significantly benefit both your business’s online traffic and the number of pedestrians coming into your store or office. This type of marketing strategy is ideal for managing your business’s online reputation by allowing you to track what the audience says about your company and determine your company’s place in the greater scheme of things.

In conclusion, online business reviews are an important factor in your company’s success. The more good reviews you receive, the greater your SEO ranking will be; the better your SEO ranking, the more customers you’ll attract; the more customers you attract, the more positive reviews you’ll acquire. Positive online reviews are associated with greater brand recognition and an overall increase in revenue.

SEO impact of local business reviews
An example of online reviews impacted local businesses SEO

 

Get Online Reviews and Leverage Them to Your Advantage

While customers maintain control over the content of online business reviews, there are several ways to use those reviews to your advantage:

  • Directly engage with customers

Thanking a customer for their business, acknowledging constructive feedback, or requesting additional feedback can help build client-business relationships that increase purchases of your products. You can use reviews to promote your brand loyalty by replying to them. You can also use reviews to salvage terrible customer experiences by connecting with someone who posts a critical review of one of your products. If a customer gives your business a negative review online, you should contact them to find out what went wrong. You can also offer assistance in making amends and ask for the customer’s feedback on how you might improve.

  • Improve long-tail keyword search

By implementing your customers’ words into your product positioning, keyword targeting, tags, and website content creation, you can improve how your brand ranks on search engines.

  • Produce more user-generated content

Search engines like new content reviews that regularly update your product or service information. And because user-generated content is the most relatable for your customers, it’s likely to be relevant to their search inquiries.

  • Increase CTR

Local search ranking is affected by the click-through rate of your company’s listings in Google My Business and reviews on platforms such as Facebook. When businesses get many positive reviews, their listings rank higher in Google local searches, and their websites earn higher search placement for keyword terms.

  • Drive brand reputation

Today, people still turn to word-of-mouth for information about a business before deciding whether to deal with it. However, word-of-mouth isn’t restricted to personal recommendations: it also takes the form of customer reviews on the internet. Good reviews reflect well on your business and improve search engine optimization by increasing the number of unique and up-to-date pages on your site.

 

Ask for Reviews

Businesses that already have a review strategy will typically tell you that collecting reviews is not always the easiest thing to do. So how can you generate more of them?

When seeking a beginning point for an inquiry, one can ask the following four questions:

  • Why do you want reviews?

The answer should be something like: “We value your feedback because it helps us serve you better.”

  • Who should you ask for reviews?

All customers, not just loyalists, should be surveyed to instill authenticity and trust.

  • How should you invite for reviews?

You can solicit feedback through text messaging, but you might also consider email and online surveys.

  • When should you send invitations?

The ideal time to follow up with someone is immediately after the interaction. However, a few days later is also a good idea.

Nevertheless, it is generally unwise to offer an incentive in exchange for a review. This practice can lead to biased reviews that may not accurately reflect the specific customer’s experience.

 

Buying Reviews?

If you want your company’s customers to provide quality reviews, it’s better to earn them. Many review websites do not permit merchants to ask for reviews from customers. The review platform may indicate that the reviewer was asked to leave or remove the review entirely if you ask for reviews.

 

Track and Respond to Positive Reviews

Your regular customers can leave you reviews, which you should respond to as soon as possible, to resolve any issues and make the most of positive feedback. A recent survey revealed that 70% of respondents said their opinion about a business changed after responding to an online review or complaint. 

It is wise to set an objective review–response ratio for yourself and strive to meet it. For example, you could respond to three out of every five positive or negative customer reviews you receive. A goal like this will help keep your customers well engaged without requiring you to devote extreme time and energy to reply to customer reviews (which can take many hours per week).

Positive reviews are an excellent way to show that your business cares and takes pride in its experiences. It demonstrates that your business strives to give that same kind of experience to every one of its customers. Expressing gratitude to customers who have written a review also fosters goodwill with potential customers.

It’s essential to address your customers’ questions and concerns because this is good courtesy and a type of customer service and because you may deepen the relationship with your customer. Here are some tips that should help you write a successful response to a positive review:

  • Personalize your cover message by using your contact’s name.
  • Make sure you thank the reviewer at the end of your reply. It can be short and straightforward, or it can be longer if the review is lengthy.
  • Use genuine emotion in your writing to create a connection with a reviewer.
  • Keywords are important to include in your response: “All our ReadSomeReviews team is excited to know that you find our services as helpful as we do.”
  • Nicely use some marketing: “Did you know we added new features to engage your customers, which you might be interested in?”
  • Encourage the customer to take another action: “When you’re next here, why don’t you read our new article about future supercomputers?”
How to respond to positive reviews
An example of a response to a positive review from a business owner

 

Track, Embrace and Respond to Negative Reviews Positively

When a customer leaves a negative review, it can be seen on their end as a chance to create a better product/service and dominate their niche. However, as a business owner, it may seem that responding to negative reviews will do more harm than good. A way to look at this would be by thinking of the reviews to improve your product or service.

Bad reviews can harm your company’s brand reputation and sales, and the livelihood of its employees. There is a chance to turn this negative situation into a positive one. You should show empathy for the person posting the review, avoid responding in an angry or defensive tone, ask for contact details for further communication and offer to help rectify any problems.

We’ve prepared some general tips for responding to negative reviews:

  • When a customer has left a negative review of your product or service online, react quickly to the customer, and make sure the same mistake doesn’t happen again with any other customer. Having a system that monitors reviews and notifies you when it sees a thought that you should attend to will help you stay on top of this aspect of your business.
  • Having a third party defend you is vital for your defense. Otherwise, you risk the response being biased and unprofessional, perhaps not being as calm and collected as it should be.
  • Reviews of your work can help you improve, so learning from negative thoughts is valuable.
  • When you are about to respond to an email, stop for a moment before you send it to make sure that you read it over carefully and don’t write something you might regret later.
  • Research the problem: Don’t assume you know what the customer wants; ask questions and seek clarification before replying.
  • It is best to apologize for wrong-doing, even if you did not do anything wrong.
  • Respond calmly. Do not go on the defensive or promise more than you can deliver.
  • Include a comprehensive description of your proposed solution to the reviewer.
  • Bringing the conversation away from online can help to resolve an issue.

Your efforts in responding to negative online business reviews give you a chance to show consumers that real people are behind your brand who care about their experience.

Response to negative reviews
An example of a response to a negative review from a business owner

 

Gain Credibility Through Business Reviews

Managing online business reviews is a different role from generating them. Online review management—which involves moderating and ensuring that online reviews are positive—can help build consumer trust and credibility. Online reviews are just as critical to consumers as personal recommendations; 49% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. Furthermore, 73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more (up from 58% in 2012). Local businesses must establish trust and credibility to successfully gain long-term customers by showing potential clients exactly what they have to offer. People are more likely to come back again and again if they can trust you.

While you should begin collecting online reviews as soon as possible, you should spend some time planning exactly how to go about doing that.

With your goals in mind, outline how you will measure them. For example, you may want to see how reviews affect the overall traffic to your site or how they affect sales of a few of your best products.

Next, decide which of your platforms you will use to encourage reviews (your product pages, email marketing, third-party review sites, social review sites).

It would help if you planned some time to respond to reviews, and you should decide how you’ll display your reviews on your website.

It’s also a good idea to consider how you might automate the process and monitor your online reputation.

 

Manifest Your Reviews

Once you’ve compiled feedback from your customers, it’s important to highlight the positive comments. 

  • Point to a part of your site

It is an excellent idea to set up a page on your website for customer feedback, where customers can read reviews written by others and leave feedback of their own.

According to Moz, third-party testimonials and business-compiled reviews are merging as online consumers become increasingly sophisticated in their demands for transparency. This fresh trend has created a demand for technology that enables review site operators to integrate their offerings with the websites of businesses.

  • Add rich snippets to your product pages

When implemented on a web page, Rich snippets allow search engines to display specific information about the content on that page. It can lead to greater visibility for businesses that implement rich snippets for their product pages, as it increases the likelihood of those pages being included in search engine results.

SchemaOrg, a Google-supported organization, has developed an informative guide regarding when and when not to mark up third-party reviews.

  • Show reviews on your product pages

Product reviews are a valuable tool for marketers since they allow you to put customers’ thoughts and feelings about your products on display at the point where people are making a purchasing decision. 

  • Use reviews as a part of your marketing

Marketing that contains customer-generated content can be compelling, allowing you to share genuine feedback from real customers in your marketing collateral.

To encourage recipients to click through, you may quote your reviews and customers within an email marketing campaign along with a product showcase. Or you may create some graphics to share across social media, citing some great feedback from your customer base.

Showcasing positive reviews
An example of a business showcasing their online reviews

 

Conclusive Tips

This guide will grant you all the tools necessary to run a successful, revenue-generating business in 2022. Each element of a successful review is essential, from setting up your company to marketing it and running the site itself. Here are key areas all reviews should keep in mind:

  • Regularly seek out more written reviews:

Nearly all consumers want longer reviews and more of them, but they also want to read newer reviews. If you can provide these more comprehensive and more recent reviews, you can drive more conversions and sales.

  • Showcase to drive conversions and track results:

Reviews are a meaningful, proven way to boost conversions. Enhance your display with these techniques, and get even more out of them with these other marketing and reviews tactics.

  • A good strategy should start with the collection of reviews:

You can improve the content of your reviews by using social media, optimizing your pages, and working with other users to create reviews. A user-generated video strategy and imagery edits are a part of the broader approach we suggest.

  • Your most significant opportunity for growth is analysis:

Using customer reviews and ratings as a form of customer intelligence is an effective way to gain context-rich, actionable data that can be used for performance benchmarks. The most progressive companies will leverage reviews to propel business growth, not just in conversion and sales impact but also in critical strategic direction.

 

Summary

Today’s competitive marketplace has encouraged consumers to make quick buying decisions. They rely on peer reviews and star ratings to help them choose among purchasing options. The weight that search engines give to online reviews is one of the biggest factors determining page rank. Getting good reviews helps you get found and get customers to click your site. 

The above reasons provide overwhelming evidence that your company should make the most of customer feedback. By following this guide and utilizing these tips, your company can be well on its way to success in the online marketplace.

 

6 months ago, 03 Feb 2022 13:11
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