Online Review Trends for Yelp, Facebook and Google Reviews

Have you ever googled your name or the name of your business? What did you find? If you are uncomfortable with the search results, imagine how your potential customers will react. People all over the U.S. are using the Internet and social media to find and interact with the services they need, from dentists, doctors and lawyers to home improvement contractors and auto repair shops. If you own a business, the chances are great that your would-be clients are looking for reviews and information. The hard fact is that only 28% of all American consumers have written an online review, but 84% of all consumers are reading them. Negative search results will drive them away and it is crucial for small business owners to have an efficient online reputation management strategy in place.

A recent scientific study revealed that we subconsciously put a lot of weight on what other people think and say online. We do this even if the review is posted anonymously and we have no way of confirming if what is being said is true (around 20-30% of all online reviews are, as a matter of fact, fake). The only reviews we trust more than the ones we find online are from friends and family.

There are two aspects to every review: where do you leave them, and how do your customers find them? If you are not active on social media, this is the time to start. The majority of all social media interactions are not public. In other words, as a small business owner, you need to connect with your customers on the social platforms they frequent.

Not surprisingly, the most common online review platform in the United States is Amazon, with an impressive 42% of all consumers having left at least one review. Other important review sources for the North American market are Google+ (14%), Yahoo (13%), and Yelp (10%). Worldwide, the most popular of social media platforms is Facebook, which in December 2014 received 22.06 billion visits, followed by Google+ with 19.47 billion visits.

Of course, not all social media channels are created equal and there are many differences between them. For example, Amazon has recently seen a rise of consumers who are so skilled in writing funny and amusing reviews that they have received cult-status and have a reach far beyond the normal reviewers. Another example is Facebook Reviews, which, when it was launched in late 2013, were dismissed by many industry experts as a simple Yelp copycat. However, Facebook Reviews has gone through a rapid expansion and have since its inception been able to become a major source for online reviews. Although a 2014 survey reported that Google+ was the platform of choice for online reviews (32.0%), Facebook was their second choice (20.6%), followed by Yelp (17.5%).

As a small business owner you should welcome the rise of Facebook Reviews. It will make it easier to implement an efficient online reputation management. In contrast with many other online review sites and social media, your customers are using their real names on Facebook, which should encourage more honest reviews and decrease the number of fake ones.

Your online reputation management matters for the success of your business. For small business owners providing local services, it is particularly important to have a substantial amount of good reviews, as it may influence up to 10% of your SEO ranking. How can you take charge of your online reputation and turn it to your advantage? Are you looking to convert impressions into leads and turn those digital leads into increased revenue? Among our many services, we offer an online reputation management strategy that can help you succeed.