Are reviews important for your business?

Yes, yes and more yes! It's 2021 and your online reputation has become a major factor in consumer's decision-making. Read on to see where and how reviews became the beast that it is.
84% People Trust Online Reviews Graphic

This has been the number one question from small business owners in the past few years. There has always been talk of “SEO” or Social Media, but more recently, online reputation has been on the minds of business owners. The obvious answer is yes! Why not get positive feedback for the business you’ve worked so hard for. There are many ways to get reviews for your business in 2020. From websites to apps, getting reviews can be fairly easy as long as you ask for them.

83%
of customers need more than just traditional advertising to convert
49%
of customers trust businesses that have higher number of reviews
84%
of millennials trust online reviews more than their friends and family

Where can a review be made?

While there are dozens of mainstream websites that your customers can use, here are the top online review websites you should watch out for.

Google My Business

Google takes the lead in online reviews and user engagement. With a simple interface, all Google (Gmail) users can search almost any small business in the world and leave their feedback. While Google had purchased it’s own review system back in 2002, it wasn’t until 10 years later when leaving reviews became a ‘thing’ for customers.

More Reviews for Better SEO

Since then, Google has dominated the internet with their search results, almost requiring business owners to hop on the band wagon. What’s best about Google reviews is that it enables your business to show better for local search results. Better meaning that you’ll get points for having customers leave real reviews; thus moving your online presence up the search engines.


Yelp

The king of reviews for local restaurants and home services. Three years after its initial launch, Yelp gained over 1 million reviews by 2007. Made popular by the younger age group, Yelp was able to become a staple in local searches for small businesses. Its system is robust allowing users to leave reviews, upload pictures, and book reservations.

Today, Yelp has more than 28 million users uploading mouthwatering foodie pictures daily. It’s no wonder why so many people think of Yelp when their tummies are hungry.

Facebook

A giant user base such as Facebook was sure to beat the competition early on. In 2013, Facebook became the biggest online portal for customer based reviews. They quickly created a “check-in” system for customers to show their current locations, and encouraged them to leave reviews while at it. Let’s face it, in those years, who wasn’t on Facebook (a whopping 71% of American adults are on Facebook!) ? The massive population already using Facebook was now also leaving reviews for local businesses in an instant.

And since 2016, Facebook users spent an average of at least 40 minutes per day using the app, giving plenty of time drop a line about their favorite local business.

BBB Better Business Bureau

The good ol’ trustworthy BBB.

It used to be that businesses were terrified of getting reported by the Better Business Bureau. Created in 1912, BBB aims to set the standard for marketplace trust. They have created a grading system that ranks small businesses a letter grade from A to F based on 16 factors that include business behavior that is checked by BBB experts.

In recent years, the Better Business Bureau has run into some PR issues, but nonetheless, customers are still providing feedback everyday.

Timeline of Online Reviews

Over 20 years of online reviews, and there’s no stopping.

1999Reviews were limited to product sites such as eBay and the BBB.
1999Rate It All, Deja and Epinons appeared online
2001Citysearch and Yellowpages expanded to online reviews
2002Google buys Deja and it’s technology
2004Yelp is started by two former PayPal employees
2005Yelp allows users to make reviews public
2009Google and Yelp allow business owners to respond to reviews
2012Online reviews exploded and owners include reviews as part of their strategy
2012Facebook takes the lead with the most online reviews
2016Reviews make up 8.4% of how Google ranks a local business
2017Reviews make up 13.13% of how Google ranks a local business
2018Yelp and Google being implementing policies against review gating.
2018TripAdvisor releases study indicating engaging with reviews increases positive ones.
201997% of consumers read reviews before making their decision

Why now?

It was just yesterday that reviews couldn’t take down a business. Today, more than 81% of Americans own a Smartphone. Not a simple cell phone, but a Smartphone that can look up virtually any piece of data from business photos to uploaded videos in a matter of seconds. This also includes information about your business, hence the reason why owners are jumping on the bandwagon to get a hold of the trend before being swallowed by the masses.

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