Online reviews are critical in influencing customers’ buying decisions. A recent survey showed that 9 out of 10 consumers base purchase decisions on reviews. More importantly, 80% of buyers will change their purchasing decision based on negative evaluations. If this hasn’t convinced you that online reviews are important to your company’s success, here are 5 benefits of online reviews:

Build credibility through online reviews

Did you know? 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. Thus, reviews can help build credibility for your business. Don’t worry if your reviews aren’t 100% perfect though. A perfect score from at least 10 reviews might look fishy for potential customers.

The more people share their positive experiences regarding your company, the more trust potential clients who are reading those reviews will feel. Considering that 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business, fresh reviews are pretty important.

Improve local search rankings

Online reviews are among the top factors for local search engine rankings. This is where you want to rank higher than your competitors. When multiple companies meet a search criteria, such as “pizza delivery in my town”, Google will display businesses with better reviews higher on the search result list.

Thus, if you want to be at the top of the organic search rankings in search engines, you need to enable customer reviews from Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc. Moreover, the reviews you receive contribute to the amount of unique content on your site, which contributes to your SEO.

Improve off-site rankings

Off-site rankings refer to having an online presence on other websites than your own. When you list your business on popular review websites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor, more clients will be able to review your business, which will draw in more clients.

In addition, ranking high in review aggregators like Yelp will also boost your position in search engine result lists. Some review aggregators do a good job at promoting unbiased reviews that provide a helpful insight into what a business does or offers.

Understand customers better

The option to leave reviews for a product or service can not only boost your credibility, but also learn the good and the bad about your business. Positive reviews help you know what to focus on more and negative reviews help you learn how to improve your services.

Increase sales, conversion and profits

84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. This means that your business is exposed to 84% of the buying population online. This automatically increases your chances of generating leads and sales as long as the information that your customers put in your online reviews are more positive than negative.

Last but not least, an important idea to emphasize is knowing how to respond to reviews. As a business owner, you should monitor what people write about your company online. Address negative comments or reviews promptly and try to offer a solution to the client’s problem. Answer to positive reviews, too. Clients will know that you appreciate their efforts to leave a review and this might incentivize them to leave a new positive review in the future.