How much impact do online reviews have on my business’s image? Are they significant enough to affect my sales and ranking?
Your organic ranking depends on many different SEO ranking factors. Google’s algorithm relies on a lot of determining signals. It is difficult to identify where to spend the most time and resources to ensure a high ranking in the results. As companies realize the importance of their ranking in search engines’ results, it’s becoming even harder to rank on the top. One such factor is your online reputation.
Whether you like it or not, your online reputation speaks a lot about your business today. People would like reassurance before they purchase stuff online. They would search for your company and products on sites like Google, Yelp, Trustpilot, Consumer Affairs, etc., to know whether you’re worth their money.
In a recent study by Podium, up to 93% of people read online reviews before buying anything. The study also found that 91% of people aged 18 to 34 would believe in online reviews as much as personal sentiments. This amount is too great to be taken lightly. Your online reputation can lead to two things for your business: drive away or attract more customers.
Positive and Negative Reviews’ Effects on Your Business
Reviews can make a positive or negative impact on your business. Positive reviews are great opportunities for you. One study showed that 37% of people visit a site after reading positive reviews about it. Aside from this, there are other benefits too. Positive reviews can help your business have the following:
- Increased Customer Trust – People value online reviews almost as much as personal recommendations. Positive reviews automatically give you a better image.
- Direct Communication with Customers – Most review sites allow businesses to respond to their customers’ reviews. You can take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank your customers that leave positive remarks. Aside from that, reviews also indirectly allow you to determine what improvements you need to make.
- Higher Search Engine Rankings – Review signals (Review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) have 6.7% weight in local organic searches.
On the other hand, negative reviews can have detrimental effects on your business. You can lose up to 22% of your customers with just one negative article online. This number blows up to 59.2% if there are three negative articles found. The following are some things you need to take note of regarding negative online reviews:
- 94% of people say that they avoid a business because of an online review.
- 3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business that consumers would buy from, and only 13% of people would even consider a business with a 2-star rating or less.
- Negative reviews decrease your credibility.
How to Improve Your Online Reputation
Some things can be out of your control. Trolls giving fake reviews, customers that are impossible to please, and competing businesses are some examples. But there are many ways you can do to gain a better reputation online. Focus on the things that you can change. Implementing the following will help your business earn a better reputation:
- Transparency – Transparency shows that your company has confidence in its products and services. Yes, it is inevitable that you’ll have some negative reviews, even if you do everything you can. However, being transparent is a sign that you’re open to criticism and that you listen to your customers.
- Authenticity – Since it’s impossible to avoid negative reviews completely, you must learn how to handle them. A good way of dealing with them is to be as real as you can. Don’t just respond with generic messages. Be sure to acknowledge them and understand where they are coming from. Also, don’t fight fire with fire. Try to leave a positive impression on them that may overshadow the negative one.
- Creativity – Creativity may go a long way. Introducing new things will increase your business’s exposure. You’ll create news for your own company. Try doing things such as donating or partnering up with a charity. Especially now, people are keen about companies who support a moral cause. Remember, increased exposure may boost your ranking.
- Better Communication & Engagement – Whether it’s a positive or a negative review, there’s value in responding to your customers. When you reply to positive reviews, it shows that you value your customers’ satisfaction. For negative reviews, it shows that you’re willing to be better.
Taking good care of your online reputation is a must. The public’s perception of your business can make or break it. With the tips we’ve mentioned above, we hope you can improve your online reputation and increase your sales. You should be able to deal with both positive and negative reviews and use them to your advantage.