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How Customer Reviews Can Rev Up Conversions

Whether your business is product or service based, B2B or B2C, great reviews will help smash your conversion goals. It’s time to leverage customer reviews to boost online traffic, sales and revenue.

Reviews are a critical part of the online buying experience, and although they aren’t necessarily capable of driving sales on their own, you can use reviews to generate conversions, ramp up product interest, and ultimately sell more.

The Power of Trust

Customer reviews are essential to reputation management and consumer trust in your brand.  A local consumer review study by BrightLocal found:

  • 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)
  • Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business
  • 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year
  • 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars
  • 80% of 18-34 year olds have written online reviews – compared to just 41% of consumers over 55
  • 91% of 18-34 year old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews

Not only do ratings and reviews determine purchasing habits, they also affect a businesses’ search engine results…

How Reviews Affect SEO

When looking for a brand or product, search engines display not only business websites, but also the results from top review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List and Trip Advisor. Because these sites are often on the first page of search results, it’s critical for businesses to ensure that the reviews about their business are accurate and properly reflect how they treat customers. Even when faced with a negative review, how your business responds to them can win round not only the author of the review, but every potential customer who reads it.

As the above BrightLocal study findings show, consumer review trends prove that honest reviews have a significant pull on consumers’ buying habits, and in some cases, may have more influence than the company’s website itself.

Online reviews carry significant SEO benefits because each review consists of unique, often keyword-heavy content useful for search engines, which can increase ranking. Therefore a comprehensive reputation management (reviews) strategy should be integrated into your SEO efforts to help get more conversions online.

Increasing Clickthrough and Conversion Rates

Because of the prevalence of user review websites, you may think it’s unnecessary to implement reviews on your own site. However, there is a lot of research to support the power of on-site reviews when it comes to conversion rates:

  • Reevoo found that 50+ reviews per product or service offering can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
  • According to a study from iPerceptions, 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews.
  • Bazaarvoice found site visitors who interact with both reviews and customer questions and answers are 105% more likely to purchase while visiting, and spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact with user generated content.
  • eMarketer found consumer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than descriptions that come from manufacturers.
  • According to Reevoo, reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales.

Third-party (off-site) websites reviews matter hugely too of course. They have the power to influence customer reviews & word-of-mouth, which in turn influences sales on websites. Third-party user reviews also strengthen the impact of sales on retailer-hosted reviews.

The More the Merrier

Reevo found that the quantity of reviews alone correlates strongly with conversion rates:

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How to Display Reviews

So, how do you maximize the effectiveness of your reviews? Of course, it has to do with the quality and quantity of reviews. But it largely has to do with how you display the reviews too. The most common way to display reviews is chronologically. And while this has some SEO benefits, Pratik Dholakiya explains how to best to display your reviews online to maximize conversions:

“You should consider testing these and other alternatives:

  • Allow users to rate each review, and then sort them by most helpful. The study found that the most helpful reviews on Amazon were also the most likely to use the appropriate linguistic style.
  • Show users a representative sample of the variability in star ratings. In other words, if 50 percent of the reviews have 5 stars, show them a list of 10 reviews, 5 of them with 5 star ratings.
  • Experiment with showing the most positive reviews from each star rating. In other words, show the 1, 2, and 3 star ratings.”

Final Thoughts

Reviews are a great way to increase conversion on your website and in search, so putting time and money into them is a great investment on the part of any business. While you should budget and plan accordingly, you can and will see ROI based on your efforts.

If you’re looking for innovative ways to achieve long term search engine visibility for your website, give the Digital Marketing experts at Onimod Global a call. We develop organic search engine optimization campaigns that deliver increases in organic traffic through an increase in natural rankings on major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

We would love to work with you so start the conversation here.