Are your customers reviewing you on the most important online review sites for your business? Let's look at these sites... and learn how to get more reviews on them.
Reading awesome online reviews of your business is great for your ego (5-stars, woo-hoo!), but these positive reviews are important for much bigger reasons.
Research has proven that customers give online reviews a lot of weight when making buying decisions and that most customers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from their own friends.
So you know that reviews can make or break your business.
But the internet's a big place. How can you be sure you're getting the most out of your customers' reviews?
By focusing on the review sites that matter most to those customers.
The “Big 3” Review Sites
Google is undoubtedly a leader in all things web, including reviews. Google My Business is a vital information source for millions of online users. You get every business's contact information and operating hours at your fingertips – plus, the reviews come in pretty handy, too.
Google reviews are crucial for a business's reputation, since they're easy for potential customers to find and minimize any uncertainty about the business.
Needless to say, Google is the most popular search engine, and as more and more people use it to make numerous searches each day, more companies are competing for top rankings… and reviews help businesses rank better.
On Facebook, users may create profiles, post photos and videos, send messages, and keep in touch with friends and family while following their favorite businesses and brands. Companies can develop business profiles that consumers can follow and rate depending on their interactions with the company. Yes, Facebook reviews are important regardless of your business type.
Yelp is a website and app that publishes reviews for local businesses. It also offers training to small companies on how to respond to negative reviews, hosts social events for Yelpers (also known as Yelp reviewers), and provides useful statistics on businesses, such as health inspection scores.
Yelp used to be the most important review site, and while it's marketshare has waned over the past decade, it's still a major player in the space and shouldn't be ignored.
Review Sites: By the Numbers
Not all popular review sites publicize their visitor stats, but we still know quite a bit about the number of visitors these sites attract.
- Yelp reports that it averages over 178 million unique visitors every month across all platforms. It also generates 28 million new users on its app every month. Yelp users had written a total of 224 million reviews between the site's launch in 2004 and the end of 2020.
- Facebook had 2.89 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2021. Anyone with a Facebook account can view reviews posted on the site, and over a third of the world's population actively uses Facebook. That's a lot of attention!
- Google doesn't provide any public information about the number of reviews that are posted by its users. But keep two things in mind: anyone with access to Google can read reviews posted on an organization's Google Business page, and Google had an estimated 270 million unique visitors in the U.S. alone in October 2020. Translation: almost everyone in your customer base probably has access to Google reviews written about your business.
Reviewer Habits: By the Numbers
While the "big three" review sites (Google, Facebook and Yelp) provide a bit of information about their user stats, a recent survey tells us a lot about how these sites rank against one another...
The survey asked respondents: "In the last 12 months, have you reviewed a local business online?"
- 63 percent of people surveyed had written Google reviews in the previous 12 months.
- 54 percent of people surveyed had written Facebook reviews in the previous 12 months.
- 32 percent of people surveyed had written Yelp reviews in the previous 12 months.
When it comes to posting reviews, Google and Facebook are growing in popularity while Yelp's popularity is holding steady and still remains incredibly powerful.
How to Focus in on Review Sites
Some businesses make the mistake of thinking online reviews are totally out of their control.
It's true that you shouldn't buy online reviews or try to manipulate your customers into writing false reviews about their experiences.
However, you can influence where your customers write reviews, so it's important to focus in on the sites that are most important to your business.
For most organizations, the big three review sites are important. Many businesses only focus on those three sites, but if your industry has niche review sites then add them to your list.
A few examples of niche review sites:
- For attorneys: Avvo, Lawyers.com
- For Medical professionals: Healthgrades, RealSelf, ZocDoc
- For restaurants: Zomato, TripAdvisor
- For service providers (contractors, roofers, cleaners, etc.): Angi (formerly AngiesList), HomeAdvisor
Keep in mind that more isn't always better when it comes to review sites.
Say that 30 satisfied customers write reviews about you in a given month. Would you rather have a few reviews posted on each of a dozen sites, or would you rather have five or six reviews posted on the most popular sites?
Of course you want to get reviews concentrated on the most important online review sites.
That's why we recommend you focus on no more than five review sites total.
Don't water down your reviews by scattering them too far and too wide.
The best thing you can do for your online reputation is to ensure that you're receiving a steady stream of positive reviews on a limited number of the most important online review sites for your business.
Tips for Selecting Online Review Sites
Here are a few tips on how to choose the best online review site for your business:
Select Mainstream Review Sites
Review sites typically set reasonable guidelines on what sort of customer review content they accept. Sticking to mainstream review sites with reasonable review content standards is beneficial for your business and just makes sense.
Go to Where Your Visitors Are
When determining which sites to focus on, a crucial factor to consider is how familiar your audience is with them. According to a recent survey, 66% of customers distrust internet review sites they’re unfamiliar with. As a result, putting effort into developing a presence on review sites that your clients aren't utilizing is probably a waste of time.
Instead, focus your efforts on the sites that provide the greatest benefit such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp. According to the same study, 87% of smartphone users have access to the apps for at least one of these three sites, and those with the apps installed are almost always already signed in, which makes it incredibly easy for them to write a review.
Choose User-Friendly Review Sites
Customers typically do not take the time to explore a new review site and wrap their head around its functioning, so you have to guide them to sites that make the whole leaving-a-review process as simple as possible. Writing a review is pretty simple, but a lot counts on the kind of user experience a review site offers – the small and super-niche ones often have a user experience that's sluggish, confusing, or just plain bad.
Put yourself in the customer's shoes while choosing the review sites that are most appropriate with your marketing approach. Check to see if the site makes it simple to write and post a review.
Once you've identified the most important review sites for your business, you can focus on getting customers to write those reviews. It's often as simple as asking your customers to review you.
But that's not a perfect system. Customers will forget to write reviews, or you'll forget to ask.
That's where using an automated system like ReputationStacker is so helpful.
It makes it incredibly easy to consistently rack up reviews on the most important online review sites for your business.
In Review(s) (see what we did there?)
With so many review sites operating online, it can be hard for a business to know which ones matter.
The big three - Yelp, Facebook and Google - are the most popular and therefore influential sites, but it's important not to ignore any niche sites that cater to your industry.
Once you've figured out where you want your customers writing reviews, get them working for you using an automated system like ReputationStacker, and take the work out of getting good reviews from your customers.
Ian Kirby has been working in digital marketing for over 15 years. Having worked both with and for digital marketing agencies and in-house with multiple companies, he has a specific interest and expertise in online reputation management, online reviews, and the implementation of business systems. Ian’s writing, videos, and interviews have garnered millions of reads, views, and listens.