What is it that really makes the sale of a product or service online? Is it quality? Hard to know from a browser. What about affordability? Eh, prices are good all over. Maybe availability? Nah, we can ship around the globe in days. These things are necessary but not sufficient factors in a larger equation.
Yes, quality, affordability, or availability are strong selling points, but they aren’t enough to make the sale. Ultimately, it’s the trust consumers have in your products and services that persuade them to commit or even convert. Trust sells.
Customers want assurance that a meal is going to be delicious, that a smartphone is going to work right out of the box, or that a new car won’t have dozens of issues down the road. Think about how often people ask for referrals, recommendations, and suggestions. Maybe someone even referred you to this article. Getting the perspective of someone “in the know” is our method of doubling-checking our unconfirmed impression about a company’s product or service before actually committing.
Typically we would ask our friends and family for recommendations, but these days they may not have any experience with the thing we’re interested in. So, consumers have largely taken to online reviews before making a purchase. Not only do these reviews affect conversions, but the evidence suggests that reviews also affect SEO.
Do Consumers Trust a Stranger’s Reviews?
They certainly do. A good online review from a complete stranger typically influences a decision as much as a recommendation from a friend or family member. In fact, according to Bright Local’s2017 Review Survey, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Obviously, reviews are extremely influential when it comes to a person’s thoughts on your product or service. That influence can go either way, hurting or helping. But what’s really interesting is that positive and negative reviews are not weighted equally as driving decision factors.
For instance, researchers found that 68% of US consumers said that positive reviews made them more likely to use a business, whereas negative reviews made them only 40% less likely to use a business. Furthermore, the influence of negativity has decreased by 28% since 2016.
So what does this mean? It means that, while positive reviews are always better than negative ones, consumers are less likely to completely write off your business even if you have a poor review. In truth, there is even some data that supports the claim that a few bad reviews actually increase trust.
What To Do With A Bad Review
While it may sound counterintuitive, a negative review may actually make your business more trustworthy. According to a study byReevoo, 95% of consumers suspect faked or censored reviews when bad scores aren’t present.
ResearcherPanagiotis Ipeirotis found that vague positive reviews such, “great packaging” actually reduced sales. Conversely, a specific negative review increased sales. This is because, “Negative reviews that are specific actually tend to serve as risk mitigators,” notes Ipeirotis.
Moreover, Google found that when it came to YouTube videos in which products are being reviewed, people want to hear the good along with the bad. Even with a few criticisms, most consumers will understand that there are sub-optimum conditions and certain shortcomings for any product.
However, this does not change the fact that consumers will have reason to question the quality of a business that has a negative review. So, what can you do if you get slapped with some harsh feedback?
Well, 95% of unhappy customers will return if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently, according toPeopleClaim.com. This means it’s critically important that you make it a priority to respond to negative (and positive) reviews. Let customers know you’ve fixed, or are actively working on the problem.
Reporting A Fake Negative Review
Sometimes a negative review is just flat out false. For this reason, Google allows you to flag inappropriate reviews. To flag a review:
- Be sure that it actually violates Google's review policies
- Sign in to your Google My Business (GMB) account
- Click Reviews from the menu
- Find the review you would like to flag and click the three dot menu
- Click Flag as inappropriate
It should be noted that Google uses “automated spam detection” to remove reviews that are probably spam. However, Google will not get involved if they see there is simply a disagreement between a merchant and customer. To report fake reviews for Facebook or Yelp, click the links below:
Fake reviews are a major concern for small businesses. Moreover, 84% of consumers can’t consistently spot a fake review, according to Bright Local. So, it’s imperative that you flag any reviews you suspect are inauthentic in order to try and get them removed sooner than later.
Does a Review Boost SEO?
In a 2017 study by ReviewTrackers, more than six in ten consumers look to Google for reviews. This also means businesses with good reviews are ripe for the clicking.
When businesses use Google’s “rich snippets” to display their star rating in organic search engine results pages (SERPs), Bright Localfound that there was an increase in click through rate (CTR) as high as 7% if you have four or five stars. This is important, as researchers over at MOZ found that with local SEO, behavior signals like CTR, mobile clicks to calls, or check-ins account for 11% of the Google’s search algorithm factors. (Translation: more good reviews = higher up in google results).
However, if you have a weak rating, displaying your stars will actually do more harm than good. In this case, hold off on using rich snippets until you repair your reputation. But, all things being equal, review signals which include review quantity, review velocity, and review diversity can account for 8% of Google’s algorithm factors.
Ask for Reviews
There is no doubt about it, reviews matter. If you’re lacking feedback, simply ask your customers or clients to review your business on GMB or Google Maps. 51% of consumers who have been asked to leave a review left positive remarks!
While asking may seem awkward, it’s imperative that you do so. Just a few positive reviews could drum up a significant amount of business. However, be sure to keep your reviews fresh, as Bright Local also found that after about two to three months the influence of a review dropped off by more than half!
Build A Website to Match Your Great Reviews
In conjunction with good reviews, it’s essential that your website performs exceptionally well on both desktop and mobile. Because unlike CTR, bounce rate has a negative impact on SEO. So you need to make sure that potential customers who find your site stay there long enough to become buyers. If you’re in need of a site that matches your highly-regarded business, click here to contact Werkbot today.