Monday, August 9, 2010

The Importance Of Online Customer Reviews For Google Local (Places) Listings

On average, 1 in every 9 Google (page one) search displays now contain a Google Local (Places) listing. It is undeniable that Google Local (now Places) listings should now be both claimed and optimized. But there is also another step that is just as important and it has to do with customer reviews.
Customer reviews is a feature that has been added to Google Local listings to allow your customers to write positive or negative feedback about their experiences with a business. These reviews are now present both on the search engine results pages but also in detail within the listings. So why are reviews so important?

According to a Jul7 2009 study by AC Nielson; 70% of people now indicate that they trust online consumer opinions. This is second only to opinions received from friends (90%). Just think about that for a moment: Next to opinions received from friends, 70% of people will now trust opinions provided by complete strangers online. Wow!

In reading through this analysis, I guess I really shouldn't be surprised after all. Thinking back to the last time I picked a florist, book, service station, and new TV, I too relied on the opinions online of complete strangers. How did fare as a result? Pretty well I must say...count me in as one of the 70%.

So what does all this mean for you? Simple: beyond claiming and optimizing your Google Local (Places) listing, you should also be asking your [happy] customers to be writing reviews for you online in your ad. The end result will be improved visibility and better conversions - apparently 70% of you strangers out there tend to agree.


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