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If you’ve Googled your business lately, you may be surprised to find out what customers are posting about you online.  In a world where your online reputation can be your strongest ally or your biggest crutch, what shows up in your search results could make or break the success of your business.  Now, a click or two is enough to read reviews on any business, person, or product. While review sites and social media have their obvious benefits, the internet has also given the public a platform to voice their opinions – both good and bad.

Since your online footprint is so valuable, there’s no reason why you should ignore it.  Here are 5 statistics that prove the importance of online reputation management (ORM) and some suggestions for how you can improve your business’ reputation.

#1) 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing. 

It is rare for a customer to know what they want, so, they’ll turn to the internet to find a new company, service or product.  If your business doesn’t appear in the search results, your customers won’t be able to find you. Not having a reputable website or online presence is just inviting users to find your competitors and do business with them instead. If you want to become an option for consumers, then you need to make SEO a priority.

#2)  90% of customers are influenced by positive reviews when buying a product.

Positive online customer reviews not only affects revenue, but has a long lasting impact, influencing how much a consumer trusts a company.  The overall takeaway is that when businesses react quickly to a customer service issue or an online review, they create better customer experiences.  One way to gain a better online reputation is to ask happy customers to write a positive review of your business.  

#3) 80% of local searches convert to a visit or purchase

From searching for a place to eat to finding a new mechanic, local searches maintain an average conversion rate of 80 percent.  This compelling SEO statistic means people who conduct local searches often have the intent to buy since they want to find a business near them quickly.  Businesses that invest in a local SEO strategy can result in significant gains. 

#4) 93% of people never go beyond the first page of search results. 

When it comes to online reputation management (ORM), 93% of people do not go past the first page of Google when searching for information on a business.  If negative content about your business has reached the first page of a search engine’s results, then you’ll want to bury that content in the second, third, or fourth page.  How? Here are a few ways: 

  • Promote and optimize positive assets about your business.

  • Initiate a positive publicity campaign to gain earned media placements for your business.

  • Create positive content, articles, and social profiles about your business.

#5) 4.0, 4.5, 5 are the most trusted star ratings. 

More often than not, people will click on a business with a 4 or 5-star rating over one with a lower star rating; especially over those with no ratings at all.  Simply put, when it comes to star ratings, customers want to see a business with an average star rating of more than 4 stars. To increase your business’ rating it’s important to respond to customer reviews regularly and to work on getting more great reviews by evolving your business through a positive feedback loop.

The takeaway: online reputation management statistics prove that maintaining your business’ online presence is crucial to its success.  Hence, a little prevention goes a long way to warding off negative reviews before they occur. If your business needs help to establish a good online reputation, consider enlisting the guidance of an online reputation management expert, who will work with you to build a positive and effective SEO strategy. 

 

Matt Earle

Founder & President

Matt Earle, Founder of Reputation.ca, is a leading Canadian expert on online reputation management with over 15 years of hands on experience working in the space. Mr. Earle’s educational background includes an H.BSc from the University of Toronto and certification as a Google Professional. His expertise has been acknowledged through national television appearances on CBC, PBS and CTV, being a guest host on CBC radio, and numerous quotes in print and online media.