Recommendations and referrals have always been a great way to get more business. The same is true today, but the methods in which these referrals can be made has changed. In fact, a single online referral can be more powerful and reach more people than one made offline. I am talking, of course, about online reviews.
Reviews can grab the attention from the very consumers who are looking for what your business has to offer. They can boost your click through rate and increase user trust.
Along with trust and user experience, online reviews play a vital role in branding and reputation of a business. Their value should never be underestimated as they can ultimately determine the success or failure of any business.
Why Online Reviews are the Backbone of Online Business
Reviews or feedback is generally considered when determining the quality and performance of an online business. If a business has better reviews on popular review platforms like- Google, Yelp, Bing, BBB, Citysearch, etc., it can be more preferable by a user. Additionally, these reviews can directly affect search results and help to improve your SERP results.
According to BrightLocal’s 2014 Local Customer Review Survey
- A large portion of users (around 93%) will consider reviews and other feedback before making a final decision on a service online. This simply reveals that, whatever you have on your website – good web design, amazing products, great offers, etc., consumers prefer to check other’s recommendations as part of their decision making process.
- More than 85% of surveyors agree that they read the first 5 to 10 reviews before making choices online. It shows that the top 10 reviews can make or ruin a business.
- Around 88% of users will consider these reviews as a personal recommendation before buying a product online.
How do I Get More Reviews for My Business?
Online reviews are an essential segment to success, we understand it, but how can we gather more reviews for our business? That’s the real question. To understand why users should refer your business, we must first understand what users prefer.
Why would somebody want to leave a review?
Well, there are two reasons really. First, they had a very poor experience and wish to tell the world. Secondly, they had a great experience and would like to share it with others.
Most people fall somewhere in between…
I am referring to those who were satisfied, but not so much that they would be inclined to go to the extra effort of writing a review. Therefore, make it your goal to go above and beyond to provide the greatest possible experience for your customers.
Apart from user preference and user satisfaction, user recommendations in the form of reviews are the key. You can simply ask your customers to review your business on popular review sites.
Why should you ask your customers to leave a review?
Not everyone thinks of it. Many people would be willing to leave a review for your business, but have too many other things going on in their daily lives to even think about it. Others, may simply not be sure where or how to even leave a review. Therefore, asking customers to leave an honest review, and then explaining where they can do so, is an extra few minutes of your time well spent.
Do Online Reviews Help Increase Visibility Online?
Whether you accept or not, the quantity of reviews, review velocity and diversity of reviews all affect the online visibility of a business. Although this is not widely accepted, online reviews do impact your search results in Google.
Other than your search engine ranking position, online reviews help to increase sales, build trust and credibility.
For deeper understanding of online reviews and how it can effect search engine rankings, let’s examine a few things:
- Today, SEO has become SXO (search experience optimization), which is based on user experience. User experience effects how they feel about recommending a particular business.
- Search engine rankings depends on multiple factors that include online branding, authentication, user preference, reputation etc., and online reviews play an important role in this.
- Backlinks from high authority sites can boost a websites position in search engines. Most review sites are highly authoritative. Therefore, they are valuable backlinks to obtain.
- Quantity and quality of reviews improves the local listings that appears in search results for local searches (according to Google’s Pigeon Update).
- Online reviews help to build trust and online reputation that influence others in their decision making process.
Trust, reputation, and credibility are the three base pillars of an online business’ success. To earn them, businesses can spend a lot of money and time on promotion. However, online reviews can be more impactful and take less resources. Just focus on providing your customers with an excellent experience to earn those valuable reviews and referrals, and you will see a dramatic increase in the success of your business.