Local Reviews in 2019 and Their Growing Impact on Your Business

Local reviews

Local Reviews impact continues to grow.

Following the study into SEO by Moz which showed that reviews have increased their influence in 2018,  Bright Local has announced its own study, which goes a step further.  The consumer study, first commissioned in 2010 goes into more depth, finding out what reviews really mean to customers and what affect that has for businesses.

The facts and figures gives simple suggestions for shaping your local review strategy in 2019 and beyond.

Our summary of the key findings of the Local Reviews report, and what they mean for you:

Fake Reviews Are a Bigger Problem

  • Reviews needed before consumers believe a business rating – 40
  • Up from 34 in 2017
  • More people reported spotting fake reviews in 2018 – 33%
  • Up from 25% in 2017

Consumers are now more aware than ever of fake reviews.  They need to see a higher review count before they will believe the rating before there eyes.

It can be difficult for businesses, let alone consumers to spot fake reviews, positive or negative.  Be proactive in monitoring your reviews and question any that seem suspicious. You should look for:

  • Strange names for the reviewer (We have seen names such as Today Today, Ninja Sky etc..)
  • Very general, defamatory language
  • Spelling mistakes
  • Be cautious of fake reviews left by “local guides”. Here’s why.

Consumers Expect Fresh Reviews

  • 40% of respondents said that a review must be from the last two weeks to affect their purchasing decision.
  • Up from 18% in 2017
  • 18-24 year old’s and 35-54 year old’s both agree, those 55+ did not care as much.

Without a steady stream of reviews, businesses can be stuck with reviews from 6 months ago, a year ago, or even longer.  This isn’t enough for some customers.  Many will not value these older reviews as much as one from say, two weeks or a month ago.

Responding to Reviews IS Important

  • 89% of consumers read the responses from businesses to their reviews.
  • 30% of consumers highly value a business’s response to a review

Consumers are used to businesses engaging with them on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  This expectation follows into reviews too (especially bad ones), although it is a good habit to respond to any review.  The Bright Local study shows that not only will they be read, but they will be valued too.

Expectations About Ratings Have Increased

  • 57% wont use a business with fewer than 4 stars
  • Up from 48% in 2017
  • 11% won’t use a business with fewer than 5 stars
  • Up from 9% in 2017

General expectations about business ratings have increased.  The need for 5 stars has only risen a small amount, however this does now represent more than 1 in 10 potential customers.  For the sake of 1 star, the possibility of losing 1 in 10 customers is a big price to pay.

In addition to the number of stars a business has, the ratings that make up those stars must be considered to.  Expectations about the number of reviews a business have have risen too.

  • 49% of respondents value the quantity of reviews
  • Up from 46% in 2017 and 35% in 2016

To summarize

  • Look out for fake reviews, don’t assume that every one of your reviews will be legitimate.
  • Respond to customer reviews (especially on Google), it doesn’t take long!
  • Try to keep a steady stream of reviews, don’t settle.
  • Deal with negative reviews as soon as possible.  Try to remedy the situation.
  • If your rating is below 4, focus all your efforts on getting it higher. (Even 4 may be considered low to some people).

Follow these points and you should have a good, effective marketing campaign to attract and keep new customers. A simple way to get reviews is to hand out instructions on how to leave reviews for your company at the point of sale. Need help with that? Leave the term “review sheet” in the comments section below with the name and location of your business. We’ll be happy to send you a PDF.

Being active on your Google my Business listing will not only pay dividends with your reviews, catching fakes, responding to them etc.. It will help your overall business in general. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *