Once upon a time, if people had something bad to say about a company, they could only tell a limited audience within their community. Today, however, they post it online and the entire world is able to find out about it. This is something that businesses were very much unprepared for. The internet became even more vicious towards business owners when Yelp started to appear. And, rather than going away like many businesses hoped, Yelp continues to grow. Alongside it are thousands of other review sites and some customers are now even reviewing their experience before they receive their service or product!
The Impact of Reviews
The impact reviews have is much larger than could ever have been expected. Did you know that around 90% of people in this country say that online reviews influence whether or not they will purchase something? That is huge! Furthermore, businesses that only have a small number of reviews, no matter how positive, are also not trusted. And having a single bad review in a bunch of hundreds of positive ones can destroy a reputation permanently. This really shows how important it is to pay attention to what others think of you.
But there is more to it as well. Review management is vital because having good reviews actually drives profitability and business growth. Indeed, it has been found that people wouldn’t mind paying 20% more for a service that has received a five star rating, than one that has received a four star rating. Also, almost all businesses that have integrated reviews in their online processes have noticed that their sales have increased, as well as noticing an increase in organic website traffic.
Then, there is the fact that there is a very close link between your reviews and your search engine optimization efforts. Indeed, the more positive reviews you receive, the more positive your page ranking will be, particularly on your local search results. This is because Yahoo, Bing and Google are all aggregating information they can find from reviews on a variety of sites. CitySearch and Yelp use the quality and quantity of reviews to influence what the ranking of a particular site is going to be. Additionally, the more reviews that are posted about your business – positive or negative – the more content exists about your business, the higher your page ranking is going to be. A high page rank invokes more trust. At the same time, however, you need to make sure that you are getting those high rankings thanks to positive reviews.
If you want to have a successful business, particularly if you are a local business, then you must focus on review management. You must check and make sure that you know what is being said about your business online. You must also address any negative opinions that are floating out there by publicly and directly contacting the reviewers (politely and professionally) and by focusing stronger SEO efforts on the positive ones, effectively drowning out the bad.