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Online Reviews: 10 Facts You Need to Know

(Note: Monitoring your business's online reputation is a requirement for success in the digital age. Try our free Review Scan now for an instant reputation report on your business.)
Posted On: September 4, 2018

Can “bad” reviews also be good? How many people actually post reviews regularly? Do people care if you respond to online reviews? Read on for those answers—and more!

We say it all the time, and we’ll say it once again: You absolutely must be monitoring your business’s online reputation and actively working to generate lots of positive reviews. It’s the most powerful tool for marketing a local business right now.

With that in mind, let’s look at 10 important facts about online reviews taken from a variety of recent studies. We think at least a few will surprise you.

#1: Even bad reviews can be “good.”

While you never want to have a bad overall rating, having a few less-than-stellar reviews sprinkled among the good ones isn’t all bad. Studies show that some rating variance is considered much more trustworthy than universal five-star reviews. Conversion rates actually improve if you have a few subpar reviews!

#2: Most Americans don’t consistently leave reviews.

Only approximately 10 percent either always or almost always leave reviews. A full 38 percent say they never post reviews. So it’s very important that you actively encourage clientele to review you.

#3: There’s a great benefit to responding to online reviews of your business.

A study found that 78 percent of consumers believe a business cares more about their clientele if they respond to reviews than those who do not.

#4: Today, an online review is essentially just as good as a personal recommendation.

That’s the view of today’s consumers—88 percent said they trust online reviews just as much as an endorsement from a friend or colleague.

#5: Your overall review rating (on a five-point star scale) must be over four stars.

You don’t need a perfect 5.0 or a 4.9, but your overall rating on a given platform really needs to be 4.0 or better. A full 94 percent of consumers will consider a business with four stars, but only 57 percent will do the same if it’s three stars.

#6: Reviews are more important to consumers than discounts or low prices.

Half of the consumers surveyed said they actively seek out reviews, while only a third make a point of searching for deals.

#7: The most important factor for local search engine rankings is the quantity and quality of online reviews.

That’s the determination of two separate recent studies from highly regarded industry research groups, and it aligns with several others. Your SEO is seriously deficient if you’re not generating reviews.

#8: The more recent, the better.

All positive reviews are beneficial because you need great review quantity, but consumers weight recent review much more heavily. Studies showed that 44 percent don’t believe a review is relevant if it’s at least a month old.

#9: Over half of adults under 50 check online reviews on a regular basis.

And that will just keep growing every year. Additionally, 40 percent of adults in that demographic “always” or “almost always” check reviews.

#10: Consumers care more about the quantity of your reviews than the quality (within reason).

That’s not to say they’ll be impressed with a bunch of one-star or two-star ratings, but in general, consumers tend to decide on products and services based more on the number of reviews than the average rating. So place your focus on being reviewed a lot, rather than fussing over a four-star review you think should have been five stars.

(Note: Monitoring your business’s online reputation is a requirement for success in the digital age. Try our free Review Scan now for an instant reputation report on your business.)

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