We all know those shiny review stars that we encounter on the internet, and especially on Google’s SERP. They help us choose a hotel and get the best Bluetooth speaker.
There’s just something very appealing in seeing a row of 4-5 stars and something unattractive about anything with 3 stars or less.
Think for a second – how many times did seeing those stars influence you to choose a certain product or service? We can bet quite a few. This little feature packs a very powerful marketing punch that can give you an edge even if you’re not a marketing guru.
Customer reviews are a real marketing SUPERPOWER that all business owners should use.
Why do we call it a superpower? Well, having reviews displayed in the open has some tremendous benefits. And as it happens, we’ve collected a pile of really cool facts and stats about reviews to back it up.
They draw higher-quality customers
People who look for reviews are real potential customers. Unlike someone who’s just taking the first steps to a decision, such as maybe just casually browsing Google and learning about the product, a person who’s actively looking at reviews is likely already on a clear path to a purchase. He or she just wants to be won over properly by a high-quality product or service that’s already endorsed by others who have already made the choice.
They are 100% attainable by everyone
SEO and marketing are high-level skills, and unless you work in these fields yourself, you might require external experts to handle those ends.
Getting customer reviews, however, mainly requires you to be good at what you do, plus a few social skills to encourage customers to leave honest reviews about the product or service you’ve provided for them.
It’s one of the most powerful entry-level marketing tools you can get your hands on. A high rating speaks volumes about your company. In some cases, it can beat the most clever and well-written ad or marketing content with ease.
Wisdom of others
We all know this from experience – certain people don’t even bother reading the content associated with a product/service. They know what they’re looking for, they’re short on time, and the decisive factor for them would mostly be reviews.
Reviews are essentially customers outsourcing their research to others. It’s a shortcut to consumers in making a pseudo-educated decision.
When there’s a nice batch of customer reviews, they don’t need to dig deep into a company’s record. Instead, they rely on a bunch of people who have already walked that path.
Reviews have a measurable impact on purchasing decisions
There’s a slew of surveys and research that indicate reliance on reviews is a major element of typical consumer behavior on the internet.
Here are some interesting stats collected by Spiegel Research Center:
Ninety-five percent of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase. That makes it an essential standard for businesses.
Reviews are more effective and carry more weight for expensive items and services. That’s not to say they’re ineffective for cheap items, as conversion rates for cheap items improve by 190% with the inclusion of reviews, but for expensive items, those rates soar to 380%!
This also applies to high-consideration items (which are often also expensive). These are items that require a more focused and serious approach, meaning consumers will be a lot more careful and calculated before making a purchase. It can be items that have an impact on health and safety, items that reflect a person’s identity, items that are intended for a long-time use, or new brands and products.
The reason for that is high-consideration items are usually associated with more risk, so having a bunch of solid reviews helps alleviate some of that purchasing anxiety and risk.
The number of reviews matters even more than you might think – the likelihood of a purchase increases by a whopping 270% for a product with 5 reviews vs. a product with no reviews. However, interestingly enough, the impact growth rate seems to diminish after that 5 reviews point. A product with 1,000+ reviews might not have that much of an edge over a product with “just” 50 reviews, for example.
But if the contest comes down to two products with the same rating, the one with more reviews will win.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your customers to get those first 5 power reviews and get the ball rolling – 80% of reviews originate from post-purchase emails.
Anonymous reviewers are more likely to give negative reviews than verified reviewers. If possible, make sure to gain reviews from actual people that have used the item, since it will look more credible.
Reviews of “verified buyers” (with a visible badge or icon that indicates that) can give an additional 15% boost to purchasing rates vs. just anonymous reviews.
Even negative and lukewarm reviews are important!
This might seem counter-intuitive at first, but negative and lukewarm reviews might actually be more powerful than positive ones – they have a special power positive reviews will never have – they establish credibility.
It’s ok — no one expects your product or service to be perfect. In fact, if it’s too perfect, it will raise alarm bells and doubts. We all know that caveat that “if something’s too good to be true, then it probably is”.
Spiegel Research Center found that purchase likelihood for virtually all product categories peaks at 4.0-4.7 range and after that begins to diminish.
Eighty-two percent of consumers will actively search for negative reviews. This makes sense since no one trusts anything blindly, and people need to feel they made an educated decision.
It’s perfectly fine for some people not to dig your product or service. What is truly strange is a 100% approval rating across the board. Even if that 100% rating is legit, it will be hard to believe.
Showing negative reviews shows transparency and that you are complaint-friendly. This actually increases trust in your company.
Next, if you respond to the negative reviews in a respectable and conscientious manner, then bonus points to you, since it’ll show that you were willing to take full responsibility for your product or service. Plus, if you ask politely, many people will agree to bump up their original negative review once they feel their issues were addressed and handled.
Of course, the number of reviews also comes into play here – 15 perfect reviews sounds plausible. But 150 perfect reviews begins to look iffy. Preferably, there should be negative and “ok” reviews mixed into the batch.
Also, negative reviews are subjective – some might read a negative review and almost ironically be persuaded by them. John bought a bicycle and gave it a 3-star rating because it was too heavy to carry to the 3rd floor with no elevator, while Bill who likes heavy rides might read the review and will actually consider it a plus, making a purchasing decision based on a negative review.
Stars are the most common rating method
The standard use of stars to indicate the quality of a product or service dates back as far as 1844 when Baedeker Traveler’s Guides used stars to rate points of interest and later hotels.
It’s so engrained in our consumer psyche that just seeing them sparks an immediate interest. We don’t need an explanation to know that if something’s 5 stars, then it must be something really good.
It’s not that other rating systems are inferior, but stars are a universally recognized symbol that also carry a cultural meaning of something magical or cosmic. They are more of an eye candy than just bland numbers. And if you do use a number scale for your review, be sure to add colors – red, yellow/orange and green – to spice things up.
Reviews matter for SEO
Besides positively influencing purchasing decisions and conversion rates, reviews also impact your search-engine ranks. Reviews make up as much as 10% of total ranking signals, according to Moz.
Google loves reviews just because it loves diverse, relevant content for what they associate with a certain keyword. In a nutshell, the more times credible sources mention your website, the better. Reviews are a great source of external content that will mention your website and solidify your site as a possible legitimate authority in its respective niche.
Not only that, but reviews on your items gathered from external sources will matter even more than reviews you host on your website.
It could be a detailed review by a news site, a blog in your niche, or it could be feedback from neutral review directories such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and social networks like Facebook or Google+.
Google’s algorithms are designed to crawl and gather information from all across the internet, and if external reviews match the reviews you host on your website, they will both work in your favor.
After that, don’t forget to track your search engine progress CORRECTLY with Pro Rank Tracker:
|The ultimate SERP tracking guide: How to track ranks according to the type of website and business in 2018/2019|
They affect your Amazon ranks
Anyone in e-commerce that also sells their goods on Amazon should be concerned about how Amazon ranks their products.
Amazon’s A9 Algorithm uses many ranking signals, and there are plenty of SEO guides for Amazon to be found online, but one of the major ranking influencers is the number of reviews and their quality.
While Amazon is plagued with fake and bot reviews, they are slowly cracking down on the phenomenon, and sellers caught cheating get their ranks smacked down to oblivion and never to be featured on their SERP again. But if you strive to acquire legit reviews and use what you learn here, it will ultimately help your Amazon ranks.
Next, you can follow your Amazon ranks and actively see your products rise in ranks and popularity by tracking them with Pro Rank Tracker:
We also show you the search volume for each keyword that you track for your Amazon goods.
A successful batch of reviews will not only influence your ranks positively but you can also expect to see an increase in your brand’s monthly search volume.
Reviews impact Snack Pack and Google Map ranks
While the user’s location is the number one influencer of their search results on Snack Pack and the extended map view, your Google Business reviews play a big part as well.
Google might even adapt search results for your business based on keywords featured in the Google Business reviews.
Ideally, your best chances to be featured in the Snack Pack is to already have decent organic ranks, be relevant to the location of the user, AND have high-quality reviews on your business.
Next, you can make sure you’re well ranked for the area that you service by tracking your Snack Pack position with Pro Rank Tracker:
After that, even if you don’t feature on Snack Pack, don’t be discouraged! You can check to see if you’re ranked in the top 100 local extended map results with our Local Finder feature:
While customer reviews aren’t the only factor affecting a purchasing decision, it is a key element, and if you want to keep up with your competitors, you need them. Even a product with a low rating will most likely win over a product that has no reviews at all. So, start collecting those reviews, and don’t be afraid to show the negative ones as well!
And you know what else is great in addition to collecting quality reviews for your business? Subscribing to our blog and getting updated on the latest search-engine lore.
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