The Top Review Websites for Small Businesses
Online reviews are a key driver of online and in-person traffic for small businesses. In fact, a con-sumer tracking study from BIA/Kelsey’s found that 97 percent of consumers conduct online re-search when trying to find local products or services.
While a quality website is certainly a good start for building your online presence, many web users will be most influenced by online reviews from previous customers. Taking advantage of the many review websites that are available will ensure that customers get the right impression of your busi-ness.
Here are some of the most important review websites your small business should focus on when gathering reviews to establish your reputation with potential customers.
Why Do Online Reviews Matter So Much?
As previously noted, a lot of people use online reviews as part of their process for finding local businesses. Reviews are an extremely influential part of the buying process. In fact, a study from Spiegel Research Center found that online reviews can increase conversion rates by as much as 270 percent. This is especially true of more expensive items, as well as “high-consideration” purchases that typically involve more research and evaluation.
In fact, as many as 84 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. However, research from BrightLocal found that the average customer needs to read 10 reviews before they feel like they can trust a business. At the same time, 68 percent of customers say they are willing to leave a review if a small business asks them to.
So what makes online reviews so powerful? Quite simply, it’s the fact that these reviews are perceived as coming from living, breathing people who have tried your products or services for themselves. They’re not part of traditional advertising campaign.
Increasing the number of reviews you have on review websites builds trust in your brand, and gives potential customers the confidence they need to buy from you.
Top Review Websites for Your Small Business
As the biggest search engine in the world, it should come as no surprise that Google will be one of the most important review websites for any small business. For many people, Google is the starting point when trying to find a local business. You’ve likely used Google many times yourself to search for small business providers — think of searches like “plumber near me” or “landscapers in Orlando.”
To get Google reviews for your own business, you must start by claiming your My Google Business profile. This allows you to verify your address and contact information, which will help you appear in local search results and on Google Maps. Your reviews will show up alongside this information when your business appears in Google search results.
Google allows businesses to respond to reviews, as well as flag reviews that appear to be fake or spam. However, fake reviews may not always be deleted. Google is also fine with you asking customers to submit reviews, as long as you don’t ask for reviews “in bulk.”
While social media may not be the starting point of someone’s small business search, Facebook serves as an important form of social proof when someone is trying to decide if they should do business with you. An active, regularly updated Facebook profile helps you connect with your target audience, especially after reaching them with a Facebook ad targeted to their demographic.
One unique element of Facebook reviews is that the business has the ability to respond to users through private messaging. While it is still a good idea to leave a public reply, direct messaging offers an avenue to better resolve a customer complaint or question. This approach to customer service could even lead a dissatisfied customer to change their review later thanks to your efforts to solve their problem.
As the biggest social media platform, Facebook is where many people will go to talk about your brand. Ensuring that their conversation includes leaving a review on your profile will build valuable social proof for the future.
Research from Statista places Yelp as the second-most popular review website, landing only behind Google when it comes to researching local businesses. While Yelp initially focused on restaurants, it has expanded to cover just about every type of business, with a focus on hyper-local listings.
Because Yelp is so widely used, information drawn from its listings is sometimes even featured in national news outlets. For example, Yelp’s list of 2020’s top “glamping” destinations was highlighted in USA Today. If your business generates a lot of positive reviews on Yelp, you might be able to get additional press coverage that helps you gain even more customers.
Customers can leave reviews for your business on Yelp even if you haven’t claimed your profile, so all small businesses should do this as quickly as possible. No matter what your company sells, a Yelp profile should be a key part of your strategy for getting customer reviews.
Though it is primarily geared toward travelers, TripAdvisor can still be a powerful platform for certain local businesses. TripAdvisor reviews will often help them decide what activities to participate in and where to eat during their next adventure — even for a day trip.
Popular categories on TripAdvisor include hotels, restaurants and “things to do,” with highlighted activities often customized based on the location. For example, a listing for the city of Flagstaff, Arizona features a list of rafting & tubing businesses thanks to the city’s proximity to the Grand Canyon.
Top-rated businesses are often highlighted on city pages, and are even ranked by review score in TripAdvisor search results. Positive TripAdvisor reviews could help people looking for local activities discover your business even when you don’t have a strong SEO presence.
Angie’s List has become one of the go-to review websites for home and landscaping businesses. Service providers in industries ranging from plumbing and HVAC to roofing and housecleaning use their Angie’s List profiles to gain reviews and build their reputation.
As with other review websites on this list, Angie’s List is designed to help customers connect with businesses in their area, making this a powerful listing resource for gaining new clients.
Reviews on Angie’s List grade businesses on several criteria, including price, responsiveness, professionalism and the quality of the work. Top-rated providers are awarded with the Angie’s List Super Service Award on an annual basis, potentially offering some great marketing materials and social proof for your brand.
While Google My Business may get most of the focus in the world of SEO, your company shouldn’t overlook Bing Places. Over 500 million searches are conducted on Bing each month, with much of the platform’s stateside audience comprised of households with annual incomes of over $100,000.
Though Bing Places might target a slightly older, higher-income audience than Google, a Bing Places profile is still completely free. Claiming or adding your listing will allow you to add business hours, photos and other vital information.
While Bing itself does not allow users to leave reviews, it can provide social proof by drawing review information from your Facebook or Yelp account. Connecting these review websites with your Bing Places listing enables you to provide social proof to anyone using this search engine.
Foursquare is a unique social networking app that allows users to “check in” when they visit a local business. After a user has visited a location, the app lets them leave a review. This can be especially helpful for restaurants or other businesses that primarily rely on foot traffic. You can have confidence that reviews left on your Foursquare profile come from people who actually visited your business.
The reviews that customers leave in Foursquare will increase your store’s discoverability for future patrons. When users conduct a search for places to eat or things to do near their current location, your listing will appear, complete with review information.
While Facebook’s addition of a “check in” feature led to a slump in Foursquare’s user numbers, it is still a relatively popular review platform for finding local businesses. Foursquare reports that it has over 50 million users, and millions of businesses already have listings thanks to these users wanting to promote their favorite spots. Simply claim your profile to start taking full advantage of this app.
Which Review Websites Should You Use?
As you can see, there are many websites that small businesses can use to build their online reputation. Ideally, you should have active profiles on as many of these platforms as are applicable to your business. Focus on the websites that will be most relevant to your target audience — after all, while Angie’s List is great for home remodelers, it’s not the right fit for a restaurant.
Of course, the process of getting reviews across so many different websites can feel a bit overwhelming. This is where KAHA comes in. Our team of digital marketing experts draws on over 15 years of industry experience as well as efficient tools and processes to help you get quality reviews that will drive new customers to your business.
Interested in Working with KAHA to Get More Online Reviews?
Let us help you generate, monitor, and showcase online reviews in a smooth, simple, and effective way. Our services are competitively priced and easy to use. Learn how to transform your online reviews with KAHA and book your FREE strategy session ($1,000 value) today!