A very large percentage of consumers turn to online reviews when it comes time to make a purchase decision. Whether it's an electronics product or a medical procedure, online reviews influence purchases in every industry imaginable.
With so many options these days, especially online, it's important that your business stands out form the competition. If a consumer has two options, one with negative reviews online and another with several positive reviews, which one are they going to pick? The average consumer is going to go with the business with positive reviews every single time. Positive reviews can help your business several ways, including the five listed below.
1. They improve your organic search CTRs (click-through rates).
If you use Schema markup on your website it's possible to have your business reviews displayed in the organic search results next to your website listing. By encouraging Google reviews, it will help you display more star ratings in the search results, helping to draw more attention to your website.
A listing with several positive reviews will draw more attention than a listing without star reviews, even if it isn't listed in the number one position. It's very possible to have a higher click-through rate than listings above your website simply by having star reviews present.
2. They help improve your SEO.
Popular review sites are one of the sources that Google pulls local business information from. The number of reviews along with the ratings, come into play. Accumulating a large number of positive reviews, combined with other on and off-page SEO, will help push your business listing higher up in the organic results.
To top local listings, or the "3-pack," are often dominated by businesses with an impressive number of reviews.
3. They provide solid social proof.
Having a lot of positive reviews gives your business instant social proof, which gives you legitimacy right off the bat. A consumer can read your reviews and they know that, without a doubt, your business is legitimate.
If you attract a negative review it isn't the end of the world. Just make sure you respond to it, because that shows potential customer that you care about your customer base. In fact, many businesses have spun negative reviews into major press and attention because they addressed it.
4. They build immediate trust.
Reviews can be the deciding factor when it comes to making an online purchase or visiting a physical business location. If a customer is searching for local Italian restaurant, the reviews are often the deciding factor when it comes to selecting a location to get directions to. The truth is, reviews come into play for every industry.
"Trust is important in any business, especially when it comes to a medial procedure -- consumers need to be able to immediately trust your practice," advises Dr. Todd Hobgood, CEO of Hobgood Facial Plastic Surgery.
A large number of reviews, combined with a high percentage of great reviews, builds that immediate trust that converts potential customers into paying customers.
5. They provide you with priceless feedback.
Every review that is posted, negative or positive, gives you priceless feedback from customers that you can use you improve your business. This feedback helps you to identify your biggest strengths as well as your biggest weaknesses and areas that you need to focus on improving.
Jonathan Long is the Founder & CEO of Market Domination Media®, an online marketing agency that provides SEO coaching and online marketing consulting. Jonathan also created EBOC (Entrepreneurs & Business Owners Community), a private business forum. Follow him on Twitter and join his private Facebook group here.