In a recent survey it was revealed that 79% of people now trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. For consumers conducting a local search for businesses, reading reviews has become an essential part of the decision-making process.
It has been shown that positive reviews can significantly boost a business’s rankings in a local search. Taking this in to consideration, review and reputation management is becoming extremely important for SEO professionals.
In a survey of 20 experts in local search, it was found that 65% of the respondents believed that managing reviews is either the most important aspect of online services or, at the very least, is very important. For local optimization, experts said that reviews are a major importance.
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Gaining reviews can be a tricky business. When experts were asked, 83% agreed that they used a similar strategy for each of their clients. While all clients are different, finding and gaining reviews is done via some similar steps. With the review target and preferred websites in mind, SEO experts spend time educating businesses on why local search reviews are important and how to ask clients to review products and services.
Chris Silver Smith, one of the experts questioned, said: “The very best approaches are highly naturalistic in the way in which reviews may be encouraged and influenced – it’s an area where sophistication and subtlety are called-for. Going about this in a clumsy manner can cause a business far more damage than the often marginal benefits that may be associated with reviews.”
One important figure to consider is just how many reviews per month are normally set as a goal. When the 20 professionals were questioned on this, there was a diverse range, varying from zero to between 11 and 20; however, 85% of the professionals said that they attempt to gain between one and five new reviews.
This conservative target suggests a number of facts:
- Quality beats quantity, with better reviews beating volume
- Reviews need to be gained naturally and consistently to avoid raising questions with consumers
- Don't overwhelm clients with setting the bar too high
With this in mind, businesses need to make sure they have the reviews required to impress modern consumers.