In what is now the most competitive digital landscape businesses have ever encountered, it’s become paramount that your online reputation stands out well above your competitors. Why? Because consumers are trusting online reviews more than ever before, and should yours not stack up against similar companies, you’ll be missing out on crucial business opportunities.
At the forefront of the growth in online reviews is Google, which has become the number one platform for consumers to compare, analyse and choose which local business to purchase their products and services from.
As shown in the graph above, Google Reviews have continually leapfrogged other platforms such as Facebook, Yelp, FourSquare and TripAdvisor over the past five years. According to a recent study conducted by BrightLocal, the number of Google Reviews increased 278 percent from 2015 to 2016, and experienced even more rapid growth in the 12 months from 2016 to 2017. That trend is set to continue in 2018.
There are a number of reasons why Google has taken over the market share of local reviews.
The sheer number of visitors to Google’s search pages is reason alone to explain this growth. Incredibly, Google processes more than 40,000 searches every second, which equates to around 3.5 billion searches globally every day. With increased visibility to Google My Business pages in the SERP, consumers can see the benefit of not only leaving reviews for products/services they’ve used, but also referring to other reviews when comparing businesses.
Ease of access
It’s become extremely simple to leave a Google Review with the more prominent display of Google My Business pages in search results. If you search for a business name, not only will their website show up in the listing, but usually, you’ll also be able to see their GMB page on the right side of the screen.
On mobile devices, it’s similarly easy, with Google even sending push notifications to review certain business that you’ve frequently visited.
Local companies have recognised the need for their GMB page to achieve a high star rating, as this will increase brand reputation online and create a higher likelihood of customers choosing them over their competitors. Not only that, but it’s also a good opportunity to encourage customers to share their testimonials in a public forum, highlighting positive experiences. Should there be fake or negative reviews, it’s important to get on the front foot and address those directly with the customer by responding broadly online and then discussing it further offline.
In addition, more traffic and engagement with your GMB page will also help you appear in local packs for relevant search terms, giving you great exposure to consumers.
In a recent post, we highlighted some of the key stats that point to the fact more people put their trust in Google Reviews than personal recommendations.
If your business is yet to fully embrace Google Reviews, you’ve now got a deeper understanding of its importance to your online brand reputation.
If you’d like further information about Google Reviews or need helping to optimise yours in the aim to increase business opportunities, feel free to get in touch with our Digital Strategists today.
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