Of course you know the importance of online reviews. What better way to see how good something is than to see the experiences of people who have already been there?
However, these online reviews you see are actually even more important to your business than you likely realize! Below I’ll share some insights about reviews that you may not have considered.
Review Data Over Time Tells a Story
When you look at a business’s reviews online, one thing that can help you make a decision is sorting the reviews by date. After all, more recent reviews are more likely to paint an accurate picture of what their service is like.
If a business has a very high review score, but all of the reviews are several years old, it’s hard to be sure that it is still maintaining the same service quality. Or worse, lots of old positive reviews followed by more recent, negative reviews will show a business that really has lost its way. Make sure you are reaching out so that everyone can hear from your happy customers to avoid either of these situations!
Conversely, a business with low scores in old reviews and higher scores in new ones has likely executed a major turnaround. If your business has recently made great improvements in its services, you owe it to yourself to make sure that your new, happy customers are leaving reviews so that everyone can see your improvement.
Lots of Reviews Add Legitimacy
When a business has hundreds or even thousands of reviews, it immediately makes an impression on a potential customer. If you have a lot more reviews than your nearby competitors do, this gives you some of the shine of a market leader. (And rightly so, after all you can’t have lots of reviews without lots of customers.)
In local searches, your business’s Google review score along with the number of reviews is shown as a part of your map listing. So right away, before this potential customer even starts looking into the options in front of them, you have the chance to make a big impression with a strong review profile.
Reviews Affect Your Placement in Search Results
It’s not just your potential customers that care about your reviews, either. A significant component of Google’s ranking criteria is online reviews. According to a 2018 study, reviews account for just over 15% of how Google ranks your business in local searches, the third largest factor overall. This includes the review scores, review quantity, review velocity (i.e. how often reviews are being left for your business), review diversity, and more.
So, not only does a business’s review profile help a customer choose that business over its competitors, but it also helps get it presented to that customer as an option to begin with. Since so few Google searches go beyond the first page, it’s important to make sure your business is there. A steady stream of reviews from your customers will help make that happen.
How Can You Make This Work to Your Benefit?
So now you know the importance of online reviews… but how do you get more of them? A great way to get your customers to leave reviews is to use a review request automation tool, like Local Spark Marketing’s Review Magic. A good tool will be easy for both you and your customer to use, flexible in where it posts reviews and most importantly it will avoid trying to influence the review score or compensate people for leaving reviews.
Google and Yelp are extremely vigilant about any kind of tricks or manipulation with regards to reviews, so it is extremely important that any methods you use are honest and transparent. Review fraud can lead to reviews getting hidden or deleted, and in extreme cases can lead to Google de-listing your website from its search results entirely. Don’t get sucked into something that breaks their rules because it promises great results! And whatever you do, don’t EVER buy reviews!
Remember: reviews are important, but need to be acquired honestly! Prioritizing them will be a great strategy for your business’s long-term health.