Facts of Online Reviews

A massive 98% of North American consumers read online reviews to find out about a business. According to a BrightLocal Consumer Review survey, for better or for worse, most consumers are checking out: Google Reviews, Yelp, and other customer feedback systems, to get more information on businesses. Consumers frequently take into account what other people write about a brand, product or service, to determine whether it is good or not.

Now, more than ever, people look to the internet to get information and formulate opinions on people and businesses. With few users perusing below the top three results that pop up in a search query, first impressions are even more important online than in real life. Miss your chance to make a positive impact off the bat and you may never get another opportunity.

Your search engine image goes beyond your ranking on the page. Even the “auto-complete” responses that pop up in Google can give new customers pause –– or inspire them to learn more about you. It’s important to think (and search) like your customers would in order to determine what your online presence is really saying about you.

Each search engine has its own unique algorithm that determines your relevancy, authority, and ultimately, your ranking for a given search query. The nuances of the algorithms are largely unknown (and the search engines make sure to keep it that way), but your best bet is to focus your efforts on improving your ranking with Google. That being said, you can’t quite ignore the other search engines, when you consider just how many people are searching on a daily basis.

A colossal 74% of consumers have greater trust in a company if they read overwhelmingly positive reviews. Conversely, the research shows that 60% of respondents said that negative reviews made them not want to use a business. Moreover, reviews that only gave 1 or 2 stars, failed to convert 86% of prospective customers. Clearly, this scenario is a major loss, particularly for startups, which need the initial momentum to get their businesses off the ground.

The report also shows that consumers are getting better at sorting the real reviews from the fake, and they’re more likely to take a recent review seriously than an older one. Consumers will catch on when businesses hire people to write fake reviews or resort to other automated, non-organic means of cultivating a positive reputation. Only authentic reviews will do. 

69% of job seekers would reject an offer from a company with a weak online reputation, even if they were unemployed. To that end, it is clear that keeping a positive, professional, social buzz around your brand, whether it is your business or personal identity, can open doors and opportunities for you.

Naturally, people pay close attention to social posts from friends. And with the average consumer mentioning brands 90 times a month to their friends, family, and co-workers, you can never underestimate the necessity of providing positive experiences. The ripple effect caused by social media and its overwhelming ability to broadcast personal experiences to a large number of people places extreme importance on social media monitoring as part of your reputation management plan.

Yes, a very large number of people always comparison shop. According to Mckinsey, 87% of people do comparative shopping for every single purchase they make, and they shop on multiple channels.

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