Remember when you wanted something and either had to get a big yellow book, or just go to the one place around the corner that you always went to? Those days are gone for good, and in are the days when you can search for anything you want in your local area, immediately get a flood of results, and pick the one that suits you best.
Local searches lead 50% of customers to visit a location on the same day, so you better give it all you’ve got to fight to the top. That’s where reviews come in. These shiny, multi-starred votes of confidence from past patrons are actually invaluable. But why?
88% of customers trust online reviews
In a massive customer survey conducted by BrightLocal, 88% of the consumers trusted the reviews they got via the web. More and more people are turning to Google to get information and direction from their peers. Not only are there a plethora of review sites for your customers to choose from, but the results can also appear right in the search engine results page.
Reviews feature prominently in the SERP
When you have a high average rating, it will feature prominently in the local “snack-pack” rankings toward the top. Armed with a bright, burning orange hue, and total number of reviews given in parenthesis, your business will look far better than the competition with a stunning review.
Reviews improve conversions
In one study conducted by Marketing Land, 90% of respondents claimed that online reviews positively influenced their decision to buy a product or choose a company. The opposite was also true – negative reviews greatly deterred them from buying as well.
Reviews affect rankings
This is a bit of a controversial topic since none of the major search engines (I.E. Google and the rest) have ever confirmed it, but a survey of major industry professionals as well as analysis of rankings in certain industries have suggested a correlation between quantity and quality of reviews and search engine rankings. In fact, major local marketers suggested that 10% of a ranking was due to reviews alone.
Great reviews are the result of above-and-beyond service, great selection, and the creation of a great buying experience. The internet has revolutionized the scale and speed of the exchange of word of mouth, and studies have shown that digital print is every bit as reliable to customers as spoken words. For those wondering if reviews really mattered for local search, the answer is definitely yes.