How Important are Online Reviews
Data Analysis - Local Search and Online Reviews Survey 2017 Conducted by Review Trackers
Review Trackers conducted an online survey in 2017 to determine the influence of online reviews on consumers when making a buying decision, and their findings are compelling for all business categories. The data shows that online reviews are more influential than any paid advertising, and poor reviews will undermine any paid advertising investments.
According to Review Trackers, these findings echo the results of previous studies:
- Approximately 4 in 5 American consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. 79 percent do so to make sure the product or service is good, 61 percent read reviews to make sure the product or service works, and 53 percent read reviews to make sure that they don’t get ripped off. (YouGov)
- 4 out of 5 consumers reverse their purchase decisions based on negative reviews. (Sprout Social)
- 7 percent of consumers read at least 20 online reviews before they put enough trust in a business. (eMarketer)
It is essential in today's environment that business claim online listings, closely monitor reviews and have a strategy for responding to both positive and negative reviews online. This translates to dollars, as customers put their money where their trust is. A Harvard Business School study found that a restaurant that sees a one-star increase on Yelp will see revenues increase anywhere from five to nine percent.
How Reviews Effect SEO
Gone are the days when all a business obtained SEO rankings through keyword "stuffing" and for this, we are all thankful. There are tons of factors that affect search engine ranking (SERP factors) and many of them include reviews. Some of those are:
• Diversity of third-party sites on which reviews are present
• Authority of third-party sites on which reviews are present
• Quantity of Reviews by Authority Reviewers (e.g.Yelp Elite, Google Local Guides, etc)
• Positive Sentiment in Reviews
• Overall Velocity of Reviews (Native + Third-Party)
• Quantity of Third-Party Traditional Reviews
• Product/Service Keywords in Reviews Aside from SEO on Google and other search engines,
How Reviews Effect SALES
According to a survey conducted by Podium, 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their buying decisions for products or services and that a 3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business that consumers would consider engaging with.
Consumers will also choose quality over price. The survey also found that 68% consumers are willing to pay 15% more if they believe that they are going to have a good experience. 
Take control of your online reputation
Your reputation is what you say about yourself and what others say about you. Every day, customers are talking about your business on websites like TripAdvisor, Google Maps, Facebook, blogs and elsewhere, and this chatter has a direct impact on your revenue — it’s time you join the conversation. Reputation Management gives you control over your online presence by helping you correct online listings, respond to reviews, benchmark yourself against competitors and more.
Verify your listings to improve your search rank
Verify the accuracy of your online business listings across review sites, directory sites and social networks. Inconsistent listing data can lead to poor placement in search results.
Hear what people are saying all over the web
Compile mentions from a variety of sources, including news sites, blogs and social networks. Plus, highlight the most positive and negative mentions using automated sentiment analysis.
Push positive reviews out to multiple sources
Generate new positive reviews, and pull in results from major review websites to view overall scores. See which keywords your customers are using to describe your business.