If you’ve ever bought anything online, you’ve encountered a typical online review. You might have found an aggregated “star” rating for a product you wanted to buy, or a poorly-spelled review about one user’s traumatic experience with it. Though customer reviews range in thoroughness and comprehensibility, they do hold a powerful effect on the behavior of your audience—and therefore, the performance of your brand.
It’s no secret that online reviews can be significant, but just how important are they to a marketing campaign? Can they really make or break a sale? Can the quantity or quality of the reviews you receive have that big of an impact on your company’s bottom line?
The number of online consumers who read and trust online reviews is increasing. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation—which is astounding, considering most online reviews are posted by total strangers. The same survey found that only 12 percent of the population did not regularly read reviews for consumer products.
What this means is that not offering user reviews (or ignoring them as a potential marketing opportunity) is akin to alienating 88 percent of your buying population, depriving them of information they want to help them make their buying decisions.
On-site Ranking Benefits
Enabling customer reviews on your site can have a positive effect on your company’s organic search rankings in search engines. For starters, each new review written about a product on your site increases the amount of unique content your site offers on that product, meaning you’ll be seen as having higher authority, more relevance, and, as such, a higher chance of getting those pages ranked. If that weren’t enough, there’s actually a way to microformat the reviews on your site so Google GOOGL +0% can index them directly and hold them as possible “rich answers” for user queries. Ostensibly, this would allow a review of your product to be featured above the fold of normal search results for queries specific to the product in question, giving you even more search visibility.
Read more here at Forbes.com.