6 Reasons Why Google Reviews Matter

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Here's How Google or Facebook Reviews can Make or Break Your Business

People say that one negative review is worth 12 positive ones. With Google being easy to access, reviews of your business can be seen by anyone at any time, from anywhere! Restaurants, real estate agents, salons, doctors, auto repair shops, and everything in between are affected by the trusted 5-star rating. So, what’s the big deal? The data reveals some shocking results…

 

What the Data Says

86% of people will pay for a proven better experience, and if your reviews strike below a 4.5, you are less likely to be considered than better reviewed competitors. You need to know what your customers are saying online, and positively engage with negative reviewers. What they say and how you respond to their discontent greatly impacts your business’s success.

Yes, some people can still effectively get business by word of mouth, but it is much slower. Hypothetically, if you’re a dentist and Jane Doe loves your work, she might recommend you to Susan. It is likely Susan will research your credentials and reviews online first, and like the majority of customers, Susan will read up to 6 reviews before forming an opinion of you and your business.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, as of January 2014, 87% of adults use the internet and 58% own smartphones. On top of that, worldwide 40% of the population is online, according to the UN. Remember when we said anyone, any time, anywhere? We weren’t joking! The internet is the #1 source of information in our daily lives. “Who are the best real estate agents in my area?  Why is everyone crazy about coconut oil? How do I increase my Google reviews?” The answers are at our fingertips.

Why Online Reviews Matter

Here are 6 reasons online reviews are crucial to your business growth:

1. 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

You read that right- today the vast majority of consumers trust the opinions of strangers on the internet as much as their own friends. Though an online review coming from an anonymous user (not connected or verifiable through Google or Facebook), a review that lacks details, or one that doesn’t seem genuine won’t fall into this category… online reviews can be thorough, thoughtful and personal, much like casual advice from a friend.

2. 68% of consumers trust opinions posted online.

“I read it on the internet, so it must be true!” Though many of us joke about this statement, it holds great strength in the rating world. Yelp has 207 million visits per month, which includes people looking for and sharing opinions about businesses like yours. Now imagine these people are reading up to six reviews, both positive and negative, before ever having met you or stepped foot in your business. What is being said about your business should matter to you because it matters to everyone else six times over.

3. Customers are more likely to share bad experiences than good ones.

Sharing a bad customer experience online is an easy way to release frustration. It just feels good to tell other people you’ve been wronged and save a stranger from having your same awful experience. Think of your last negative customer experience - did you tell anyone about it? What you can take away from this is that it’s important to ask happy customers to leave positive reviews. In fact, you can even make it easy for them to leave one through email,  or even SMS text messages. Here at SMILE media, you can easily accomplish that.

4. You can turn a negative review into a positive one.

When a reviewer says something negative about your business, you have an opportunity to excel at customer service. You can reply to negative reviews on almost every review site. Make an effort to publicly apologize to them and offer a gesture of good will, like a discounted fee or a free gift. What’s better than letting off some steam about a bad experience? Knowing the business that caused your frustrations wants to remedy the situation. Often times after a business reaches out, the negative reviewer will update their review upon the next service, if they do decide to come back. Though some people are unfortunately stubborn, it’s still worth the shot every time!

5. 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust businesses more.

This is common sense. If you are like many people, it isn’t likely that you’d want to take chances on a business with negative reviews or no reviews at all. Everyone wants confirmation, and if your business has a ton of negative reviews, the prospect can confirm that they don’t want the same negative experience and won’t even give your business a second thought. The opposite holds true for positive reviews. For example, if you’re looking at restaurants nearest you in an unfamiliar city, you’ll definitely lean towards the one with the highest possible rating within your budget.

6. Google recently changed their star rating threshold.

In the past, your business would require five ratings before a star rating would appear on Google, based on the average of those 5 ratings. However, it now only takes one review to show a star rating, such as in the example below:

The above example has fewer than five reviews and shows a 4.5 rating, which is great! However, there are two issues -- if it ends up that your business's first review is negative, you're already fighting a losing battle. The second issue is that (for this example only) Googie's Sandwich Shoppe is heavily competing for local SEO. They are on the 7th page of Google under “Portsmouth NH places to eat.” Why? They only have four reviews. Google will always show higher reviews in star rating and reviewer amount. According to MOZ's Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results. 

What Are People Saying About Your Business?

So, have you taken a look at your Google, Facebook, Yelp or other reviews? How do they all tally up? Are people saying good or bad things about your business? Perhaps they are saying nothing at all?

As the world exists today, you must care about online reviews. SMILE media knows how to skyrocket your ratings, just as we did for Seapoint Family Healthcare in Portsmouth, NH. We raised their rating by 414.30%. Contact SMILE media at 603-758-4118, or visit our contact page to learn more about how we can help your business by leaps and bounds.

Kirsten Arnold
Kirsten's professional interests include communications, inbound marketing, video editing, and psychology. A "Jill" of many trades with a passion for business, she brings a mix of related certifications and accomplishments to the SMILE team.