Businesses should not ignore online review websites; they have become too important over the years. Prospective customers value online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations from friends and family.

So Why Are People Visiting Online Reviews Sites?

1. A search engine sent them there – when they were trying to find a local business

The number one reason why people use these sites? Because search engines like Google show these websites at the top of the search result when people are searching for local businesses. Companies with a decent number of positive reviews are trusted more than comparable ones with fewer or worse reviews.

Search engines like Google try to present searchers with the best results, and will rank pages that show better review scores higher. And since websites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, or RateMDs show lots of reviews, these websites are showing up high in the search results.

How many reviews a restaurant, doctor’s office or computer repair store has on these directory sites will often determine whether it will show up high in the search engines or not.So who are people going to find – your organization, or your competitor’s?

Would you rather eat at a restaurant with a bad review or a good review?

2. They are trying to find coupons and discounts

A lot of websites that show online business reviews also have coupons for special deals and discounts. This is a draw all and by itself, so people looking for special deals may end up finding local business listings, and their online reviews.“Hm, is that the time already? Maybe we should eat out tonight. Where to go?”Restaurants with plenty of good reviews will probably rank higher on the overview page, so chances are interested people may not even see your listing if your place doesn’t have enough positive mentions.

3. To read reviews

Most people visit sites like Yelp or Tripadvisor to read reviews. They hope that these pages will provide some insight into which business to choose from all those different options available. They are looking for recommendations. So if your company has too many bad reviews, no reviews, or reviews from a while ago, it may not be considered.

4. To leave reviews

Some people visit online business review sites with the clear intent to leave a review. And while everybody wants to be an amateur food critic these days by snapping a picture from their plate and posting it on social media, actual reviews on review sites like Yelp may need a little help.Sometimes all you have to do is ask: “How did we do?”. There are software solutions available to make this process a little easier. Semi-automated.

Review Sites Are Important

Your business - Leave a review

These are just a few examples showing why online review sites are important, and why they should get special consideration in your marketing mix.

Even when people are not specifically planning to head over there, they may end up on such a website because of other reasons – and your listing better be optimized to beat out the competition.

A claimed and optimized listing, with a steady flow of positive reviews, will gain trust and respect from potential customers – like a personalized recommendation.

A sure recipe to gain new customers and increase sales!

What To Do Next?

So how to make best use of these potential lead machines on review sites?

  • Make sure your listings are claimed and as complete as possible
  • Encourage your customers to leave reviews on these sites
  • Engage into conversations with people who leave reviews (note: this is one of the reasons why you should claim your listing!)

With all of that in place, your listings’ popularity and conversions will go up.

A Little Help: Software

Need more reviews? Need better reviews? Check out The Best Review Tool, and ask for the free trial.