Research is showing that you may be better off focusing on getting more online reviews versus focusing on trying to increase the rating of those reviews.

Why Online Reviews are Important

Most people will read reviews before they purchase a product and the importance of having positive reviews has been shown many times over. According to Search Engine Watch:

  • 90% of customers read reviews before visiting a site
  • 72% of customers will only take action after reading a positive review
  • 88% of customers trust online reviews

So, having positive reviews is really important. But, here are three reasons why your primary focus should be on getting more reviews.

  1. Having more (current) reviews positively effects your SEO
  2. The more reviews you have, the higher your average rating will be
  3. People choose products with more reviews over those with fewer reviews. This happens EVEN IF the more reviewed product has a LOWER rating than the less reviewed product

Having Current Reviews Positively effects SEO

Search Engines are constantly trying to provide the most up to date information and online reviews are a great way for them to show this information. According to a 2017 survey by Moz, online reviews are estimated to account for 7 – 13% of how search engines determine a site’s ranking.

Takeaway

This means ~10% of where you will rank in local search is determined by online reviews and ratings. It’s important to have a plan to encourage more current customer reviews as part of your SEO strategy.

More Reviews Will Lead to a Higher Average Rating

In a study done on hotel reviews they found a positive correlation between the number of reviews and the average rating. That when an establishment first started receiving reviews, they were often skewed to the negative but over time the average score increased.

Takeaway

Assume that you will get some negative reviews, particularly early on in a business. That being said, over time as you get more reviews you should see a percentage increase in the number of positive reviews. This will help offset those early negative reviews and lead to a higher overall rating of the product or service.

People Choose The More Reviewed Products Even if it is RATED LOWER than a Comparable Product

As you would expect, consumers are more likely to choose products/services that are highly rated and have a high volume of reviews.
What’s more interesting, is that in certain situations people will choose a lower rated product that has a higher volume of reviews over a comparable product with a higher average rating but a lower volume of reviews. Or to put it another way, people will choose the lower rated product just because it has more reviews.

Takeaway

GET MORE ONLINE REVIEWS... and don't be scared of the occasional thumbs down.

How To Get More Reviews

Reviews are important, so how do you get them? Well start by asking for them. Search Engine Land has a great little article on tips to get more reviews. I’d recommend making it part of your after sales follow-up. Like any process, it needs to be done consistently to yield the best results.