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Online Reviews: Get on Board

With the rise of native advertising, suspicious social media content, and more phone and email scams than we can count, consumers are searching for something solid to hold on to. In the hunt to find products and services they can trust, shoppers have turned to online reviews for some much-needed guidance and direction. If cultivating online reviews isn’t a primary concern for your business, you may want to reconsider.

Trust and Influence

How many times have you sifted through pages of Amazon reviews only to end up buying a product you didn’t know you needed? The answer is probably more times than you’re willing to admit. In fact, according to research by BrightLocal, 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 68 percent of U.S. consumers said that positive reviews made them more likely to use a business. Reviews are now the criteria that consumers use to evaluate whether or not a business is worth going to, or a product or service is worth the money. You can’t ignore the fact that reviews make a material impact on a business owner’s bottom line.

Search Ranking

Do you know who values reviews even more than you do? Google. Online reviews are undoubtedly a ranking factor for local search results. Search engines like Google prefer businesses with a strong presence on review sites like Yelp, so don’t be surprised if a local business’s Yelp page ranks higher in search results than its actual website.

Additionally, Google now uses review velocity, the speed at which a business accumulates reviews, as a ranking factor for local search results. In some ways, consumers use this metric to make determinations too, as 77 percent of shoppers do not trust reviews that are older than 90 days.

Don’t Let Reviews Scare You

The strong influence that reviews have on consumers may seem intimidating, but it’s important to use it to your advantage. No business can completely avoid negative reviews, and that’s okay. Exclusively positive reviews can sometimes seem suspicious, and a balanced review page with quality responses makes your business look legitimate.

If you’re not sure where to start, or how to get yourself out of a rut of 2-star reviews, let us help. Contact EM Search Consulting today for a free consultation.

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