Why Do Reviews Matter to Local Businesses

Myles is the CEO of BrightLocal and is totally passionate about local business reputation management (ratings and reviews).  He joined us to discuss why reviews are so important to local businesses. Enjoy the free video tip!

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Why Do Reviews Matter for Local Businesses Transcript

Myles Anderson:

Let’s talk about consumer attitudes to local reviews. How are consumers using local reviews? How is it influencing their understanding or attitudes to a business? And how does that lead through to their purchase decisions that they make?

We run a study every year with around 2,000 to 3,000 consumers called the local consumer review survey and we ask around 15 questions and the intent of this survey is to understand the impact that online reviews have on decision making by consumers. Again, it’s very locally focused so we’re always asking around attitudes towards local businesses.

I’m going to show some stats to you now and show you how this builds up, so 91% of consumers now read online reviews from local business. 84% of consumers actually trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so they’re reading reviews and they’re trusting the content of the reviews to a very high level. That leads through to them actually trusting the business, with 68% of people saying they actually trust a business more once they’ve had a chance to read positive reviews about them. That filters through to actually who they end up making contact and using, with 62% saying the positive reviews made it much more likely to use a local business.

If you put all this together what it means is that more and more local consumers are now reading reviews online. They’re also putting more trust and faith in the content and information they glean from those reviews. This goes through to trusting the business those reviews are written about. This influences who they’re going to buy from, and ultimately this drives leads into a business making for happy business owners. The direct correlation between getting that online reputation, to actually getting more customers to trust you and buy from you.

If we look at some other studies, some of which are done by us and also some done by another company, we can prove that positive reviews actually increase search rankings and also clicks from search. This basically is taken from a study done by a company called The Local SEO Guide, and they did a very large study with lots of data points, a large empirical study, that looked at which factors had the biggest influence on local rankings, that’s ranking within Google’s local result pack. The top factor that came out was Google reviews…the very high instance of businesses having lots of goodwill reviews and ranking high up in search results. And so I’ve put here that it has a very big influence on local ranking.

I’m not going to say that is this the number one factor that influences local ranking because there are other studies that don’t put it quite so high, but what we do know for sure is that Google wants to have information about businesses so that it can present the best business back to searchers, that they think they want to see. A great way of Google getting that data is to look at what consumers are writing about businesses, so it makes sense that Google will be referencing the reviews, putting a lot of stock in the content, the sentiment, and the quantity of these reviews, and that has an impact on ranking.

So yes, it absolutely has an impact on local search ranking so that’s a great way of increasing the visibility that your business has within local search results.


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Myles Anderson is the founder and CEO of local marketing platform BrightLocal. Since starting BrightLocal in 2009, Myles has worked tirelessly to make local marketing simple with their extensive reporting tools. Over 95,000 marketers and local businesses use BrightLocal to boost local rankings, increase online visibility, build citations, and grow their online reputations.