The point of this blog post is to answer one question. Is there tangible evidence of how review management software helps a small business? At the end of the day it comes down to numbers and competition. In the past, we’ve explored some general statistics that focus on customers’ attitudes toward reviews. For example, how many people trust reviews? 85% trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Or how many reviews do people read before forming an opinion? The answer is 7.
This post will focus less on customer attitudes and instead talk about improvements to your bottom line and search position. So get ready for some numbers. We’ll see if we can prove the worth of a review management software.
Let’s start with the most reputable of sources: Harvard. Michael Luca, professor of business administration at Harvard conducted a study of Yelp reviews in 2016. It continues to be one of the most academically significant studies about the power of online reviews.
Luca’s study was a collaborative effort with the Washington State Department of Revenue to measure the relationship between Yelp reviews and revenue, specifically in the restaurant industry in Seattle. He looked at a 6 year period as his data set.
Luca found the power of a one-star rating increase in his study. When a restaurant increases their reviews one star, it results in around a 9% increase in revenue. Significant? Oh yeah. 9% more revenue is huge, especially from a strategy as simple yet effective as review management.
The second noteworthy finding in Luca’s study is about the amount of reviews. This was a little bit more difficult to put a number on. Nevertheless, Luca states, “I show that market responses to changes in a restaurant’s rating are largest when a restaurant has many reviews.” Or in other words, the more reviews a company gets, the more customers notice and react.
Luca credits this to the amount of information in reviews. If a company has 10 reviews and another has 60, the customer perceives the one with 60 as more credible. If a customer has 60 reviews to browse through instead of just 10, they’ll learn more about the company. The additional information they learn from the reviews makes them feel more comfortable come decision time. A review management strategy shouldn’t just include gathering reviews but aiming to make those reviews quality and full of information.
Reviews Impact on Search Engine Ranking
Before getting into statistics, let’s clarify a misconception about search results and small businesses. Most people aren’t searching directly for your business. Instead, they’ll search for your industry. For example, instead of searching for “Bob’s Plumbing”, a customer will search for “plumbers near me”. That’s a huge difference. For your branded name, you’ll almost always be the first search result. However, for an industry search, you’re competing against every other local and online business in that industry. In this scenario “Bob’s Plumbing” competes with “John’s Plumbing” and “Tom’s Plumbing.”
In thinking about the impact of review management on SEO, there are two things that matter. First, how important are reviews in search algorithms? Second, how much does a better search ranking improve the amount of traffic to your business?
Reviews play a big role in most search algorithms, especially Google’s. Moz says that reviews play 10% part in the total search algorithm. Within that 10%, Google considers both quantity, frequency of new reviews, and, of course, the ranking out of five stars. These results factor into the search page and Google Maps results where Google stacks different business listings against each other. It may seem intuitive, but it’s worth repeating that your review management strategy is at its best when you’re constantly gathering new, positive reviews.
Now for the second aspect of SEO. If reviews do play a significant role in ranking, does a better search ranking significantly improve the amount of traffic to your business? The answer is a huge yes. Get this: The top ranking search result gets 5-6x’s more traffic than the fifth place ranking. And it goes down from there. Check out this graph from Moz to see the difference.
We don’t have a Harvard professor to tell us the exact impact on revenue that an SEO strategy brings. Suffice it to say, if your listing or website is getting 5-6x’s more traffic on a local search, you’ll see benefits.
Review Management Software
Is a review management software worth it? Simple answer: Yes. Long Answer: a review management software helps you gather new, better reviews which boosts your SEO and can result in 9% more revenue. So why get the software?
A review management software makes gathering reviews more efficient. Sonic Local includes a tool to generate new reviews with a personalized text or email. It puts you, the business owner, in a proactive position. Instead of waiting for reviews to come in, you’re targeting the best customers with a request to show their satisfaction in a review. Doing so ensures positive, more frequent reviews, and as we learned from the studies above, boosts your revenue and search ranking.