Review WebsitesLast month, BrightLocal published their “2014 Local Consumer Review Survey” which is an annual look at how consumers read and use online reviews. They just released the findings of the 13 question survey. Here are the five top statistics:

1. 88% of consumers have read reviews to better understand the quality of a local business. Incredibly, nine out of ten consumers revealed that they depend upon online reviews to help them make purchasing decisions. Of these, 49% said they read reviews occasionally and 39% said they do so regularly.

2. 72% of consumers say that a positive review will make them trust a local business more. This should be a wake-up call for any brick and mortar business. If you are not doing so already, you should start requesting reviews at your business location, on your website and in any promotional tools you use such as email lists. A word of caution here, don’t get over zealous with your review requests. This is because a large number of reviews about your business that appear in a short period of time could look suspicious to the search engines and they may actually hurt your online rankings.

3. 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This has increased from 79% just a year ago. Think about that for a moment, nine out of ten of your online visitors trust reviews of your business as much as a friend recommending it!

4. 72% of consumers will take action after reading a positive review. Almost ¾ of the visitors to your website have said that they will take an action after reading a positive  review. These actions were broken down as follows: 57% say they will visit your website after reading a positive review and 15% said that they would phone your business after a positive review! Where else can you get that kind of referral quality?

5. Reliability (72%), expertise (21%) & professionalism (18%) are the most important reputation traits for a local business. Reliability is an incredibly important factor in your online success. As a business owner, you should emphasize the reliability of your goods or services above all else.

We have found that placing a “Leave Feedback” area on your website, perhaps in a sidebar, can help generate reviews by making it easier for your clients to leave one. On the Net101 site, we have links for people to review us on Google+, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Foursquare and Angie’s List.

If you should have any questions about customer reviews and how they can get your business to another level, contact Marc Harris.

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Marc Harris has extensive experience in SEO, content creation, website development and internet marketing. He is a moderator at WebmasterWorld, one of the largest websites for news and discussions geared toward website professionals.