Online Reviews are Vital to Small Business

16

JAN | 2017

start small business

Collecting good reviews for your business should be a part of your long term internet marketing strategy, and encouraging your satisfied customers to leave a positive comment on one of the internet business directories to bolster your online reputation is a constructive way to build your ranking in the SERPs. Internet marketing is becoming more important to small business as a means of attracting the local trade. While online sales have continued to grow, the use of the internet to find those same products or services from a local supplier has also grown; Google is reporting that 20% of all searches from desktops and 40% from mobile devices relate to location. With two thirds of all search engine traffic, Google is handling 471 million location related searches every month, and so claiming your business’ Google Places listing should be the first step towards developing a successful local online presence for your small business.

While this all seems straightforward on the surface, the downside to this trend for using local search to find a local business is that Google also turns up every single mention that has been posted online about your business at the same time. Worse yet, your Google Places listing uses the number of reviews of your business to determine where it will place your listing in the SERPs, and displays the latest reviews regardless of whether they are positive or negative. If one unhappy customer goes online and posts a couple of dozen bad reviews of your business, these complaints might be all that potential customers see when your Google Places listing pops up in their search results. The internet has had a significant influence on the way that people choose to make a purchase, with 58% of people indicating that they first do online research on the products that they are thinking of purchasing.

When they do go online, only 24% of users go to a company website for their information, and the remaining 76% look in the search engines or ask their friends on social media. The ease with which we can now leave a highly visible opinion about a business that we have dealt with has seen 24% of internet users saying that they have left a review of a product or service that they have purchased, and 80% of internet shoppers have said that they have changed their mind about making a purchase or dealing with a business after reading bad reviews online. All of this indicates that people are willing to take the time to post a review and that others are reading them and paying attention.