The Importance of Online Reviews – How They Increase Trust, Rankings, and Leads

The Importance of Online Reviews – How They Increase Trust, Rankings, and Leads

Online reviews are such an integral part of online shopping that it’s hard to imagine there was a time they didn’t exist. When was the last time you went out to a restaurant without checking its ratings first? It’s probably been a while.

A 2020 study found that last year, 87% of consumers read online reviews for businesses in their area before purchasing from them. Whether you see customer reviews as the lifeblood of your business or you wish you didn’t have to bother with them, they’re a part of doing business online in this day and age. The fact is that they’re here to stay because of the value they provide to customers. And if you play your cards right, they can add value to your business as well. Here’s how.


Build Trust

Customers want to engage with your company before they walk in the door. Your website is a key component of this. But reviews serve a unique purpose that can’t be ignored. Online reviews are a form of social capital that customers can use in lieu of individual recommendations from friends and family. This helps prospective customers feel comfortable before they ever interact with your business directly.


Even bad reviews can help build trust with prospective clients. With constructive and thoughtful responses, you can bolster your business’s good reputation and demonstrate how your company handles conflict.


Increase SEO Rankings

When you Google a company, you don’t just get their website in the top search results. You also get their Yelp profile, Google Reviews rating, and any reviews and ratings on industry-specific sites like TripAdvisor, Consumer Reports, or ZocDoc. Whether you have reviews built into your company website, consumers look at the ratings from all these sources to get a more well-rounded look at how your company operates. 


This also means a bigger SEO footprint for your company. Businesses that have more relevant front-page search results tend to look more well-established, legitimate, and professional. It also makes it easier for prospective clients to know you’re the company they’re searching for.


Generate New Leads

Higher visibility is a prerequisite for growth. The more people who see your business online, the more site traffic and customers you’ll get. Plentiful reviews make new leads more likely to become customers, giving you a more favorable conversion rate. That means more business for you without you having to expend additional effort or expense. 


Maintaining a high conversion rate also waters down the sting of negative reviews. At some point, every business receives negative reviews. But if you have a steady flow of good reviews coming in from new clients on a regular basis, that will shift the focus away from the bad reviews. Accept negative reviews as an inevitability and do what you can to encourage new customers to leave good reviews.


Want to harness the power of online reviews to increase sales, but not sure how? Big Fish Local’s digital strategists can help put together an action plan, no matter what stage of the process you’re in.

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