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Posted by: Brandon Moore

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Back in the day, years before the internet truly took off, business reviews were only found in official publications. Professional reviewers wrote them up. And we depended on their opinions to shape our own. However, these days every single consumer has a voice and an opinion that matters. They can leave reviews for your business on numerous websites online. You need to take these reviews seriously. People generally research products or services online before they make a purchasing decision. This means that they will look up whatever reviews that they can. If your reviews are overwhelmingly negative, you are going to lose business. The following are three of the reasons why online reviews are essential to your small business:

Attract More Customers

This is the most obvious reason to care about your online reviews. Not only do good reviews help bring in more customers – more reviews do too. The more reviews you have, the more people will end up reading the reviews. For example, a restaurant on yelp with a couple hundred reviews will get more views than a restaurant that only has a dozen or so reviews. This is because the average score of a couple hundred reviews is going to reflect more closely to how good the products or services are then a handful of reviews. The thing is, by having more reviews online for your company, the easier it will be for customers in your area to find you. There are consumers who may have never heard of your business but are in need of your product or service. When they search for products and services within their area online, they’ll find you if you have a substantial amount of reviews – and they will come to your business or go to your website if those reviews are mostly positive.

Improve SEO

Essentially, more positive reviews can help to improve your search ranking. Google has begun to take notice of user business reviews. They take social signals into account when determining the web ranking of websites. This means that if you have many high quality reviews on various websites that allow user reviews (such as Yelp and Amazon to name a few); you’ll have a considerably better chance at a higher web ranking. In fact according to the local search ranking factor survey done by MOZ, it’s believed that online reviews make up roughly 10 percent of how search engines such as Google decide to rank search results. Google has even begun to show ratings for businesses on its Google Map feature, thereby allowing users to now only find businesses nearby, but letting them see user feedback immediately in order to make a quick decision.

Obtain Feedback

Your online business reviews are actually a fantastic way to obtain feedback about your products, services or business overall. By reading your own reviews, you can get a sense of what the customer was looking for, what the strengths of your products, services or business were and what the weakness were. You should also be sure to seek out the negative reviews on major review sites such as Yelp, which actually allows to you respond. Communicate with the customer that left the poor review and find out if there is anything you can do to rectify their poor experience. Not only does this show other consumers that are reading your reviews that you care about your customers, but also it could lead to the original reviewer amending their review in order to reflect the positive action you took. So not only are you getting great feedback, it’s a great way to provide good customer service.

These are three of the reasons why you should take online reviews seriously and why all small businesses need to focus on getting good online business reviews.

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