SEO News: Local Consumer Review Survey | Online Reviews Statistics & Trends

SEO News: Local Consumer Review Survey | Online Reviews Statistics & Trends

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How recent does an online review need to be to impact your decisionHow recent does an online review need to be to impact your decision - age

Key Findings

  • 85% of consumers think that online reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant
  • 40% of consumers only care about reviews submitted within the last two weeks (18% last year)
  • 64% of 18-34-year-olds are only impacted by reviews from the past two weeks

In the last year, there’s been a huge increase in consumers expecting reviews to be new. The proportion of consumers who are solely impacted by reviews written within the past two weeks has more than doubled.

85% of consumers believe reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant – up from 77% in 2017. Local businesses need to keep fresh reviews coming in if they are to impress potential customers. Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

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Responding to Consumer Reviews

When searching for a local business, do you read businesses’ responses to their reviews?When searching for a local business do you read businesses' responses to your reviews

Key Findings

  • 89% of consumers read local businesses’ responses to reviews
  • 29% always read review responses
  • Nearly all (96%) of 18-34-year-olds read review responses

For the first time, we’ve added a question on replies to reviews to find out if these are valued by consumers.

We found that the vast majority of consumers read business owners’ responses to reviews. Whether they’re positive, negative, or even fake, it’s absolutely critical that businesses stay on top of their reviews, and respond professionally, politely – and pronto!

Monitoring reviews across multiple platforms take time, but it’s critical to monitor these so you’re aware of everything that’s being said about the business.

Negative feedback deters many consumers from choosing a business, so replying to these give readers the context needed to understand poor feedback. Responding to reviews gives you the chance to get your story across, as well as to show potential customers what you’re really like as a business.

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Posting Online Reviews

Have you ever left a local business an online review?

Have you ever left a local business an online review

Key Findings

  • 86% of consumers would consider leaving reviews for businesses
  • 80% of 18-34-year-olds have left businesses reviews
  • Over 55s are least likely to have left reviews

This year, a higher proportion of respondents told us they hadn’t left local business reviews. While this could be a quirk of this dataset, there could also be other reasons.

Trust in reviews has been damaged, with the prevalence of fake reviews hammering home that you can’t always believe what you read on the internet. We’ll be sure to watch this trend for the 2019 report.

The youngest group are far more inclined to leave online reviews, with 96% being open-minded about feeding back to businesses. These digital natives may well see leaving reviews as commonplace, rather than something done for standout service.

Over 55s are far less likely to leave reviews, with 22% saying they ‘never’ will. It’s critical for local businesses to engage every type of customer to get a truly representative idea of how the business is performing.

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Have you ever been asked to leave a review for a business?

Have you ever been asked to leave a review for a business

Key Findings

  • 66% of consumers have been asked to leave a review (down from 74% last year)
  • 83% of 18-34-year-olds have had requests to review local businesses
  • 50% of over 55s have been asked to leave a review

This is another question where we’ve seen an unexpected drop this year. While this could be down to the individual experiences of this year’s respondents, it may also be due to a growing reluctance among businesses to ask for reviews.

Asking for Yelp reviews is a big no-no, and can lead to reviews being discounted by the platform’s algorithm. Likewise, in 2018 Google cracked down on review gating. With two of the major platforms adding rules and complexities to review management, it could be that some businesses are feeling confused about what they can and can’t do.

The dramatic difference across age groups of the consumers who’ve been asked to leave reviews was particularly interesting. Only 50% of over 55s have been asked to leave reviews, with 29% going on to do so. 18-34-year-olds were far more likely to have been asked, and also, far more likely to leave a review if asked to.

But this is no reason to narrow your reputation management strategy to only focus on this millennial and Gen Z segment. Every review is equal – and by asking every customer to leave a review, you’re far more likely to grow the number of reviews quickly and naturally.

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Methodology

This year’s Local Consumer Review Survey follows on from 2017’s, exploring trends in online reviews for local businesses over the past year. It includes new and modified questions to fit into the key SEO and local business reviews agenda of 2018. The statistics and findings are solely concerned with reviews for local businesses (on sites such as Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp etc), and not general product reviews (such as on Amazon).

Based on the views of a representative sample of 1,000 US-based consumers, the Local Consumer Review Survey was conducted in October 2018 with an independent consumer panel. This year, we have altered the number of respondents in each age group to more closely match the US population and thus provide representative results. The breakdowns are as follows:

  US Population 2017 2018
18-34 28% 37% 28%
35-54 34% 40% 34%
55+ 37% 23% 37%

When analyzing data on those who have read consumer reviews, we removed respondents who don’t read reviews to give a more accurate reading. Averages for statistics in Q11 and Q12 are based on the midpoints of data bandings.

For any questions about the report, or to speak with a member of the BrightLocal team, please contact content@brightlocal.com, or leave a comment below. Publishers are welcome to use charts and online reviews statistics crediting BrightLocal and linking to the report.

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Thank you for reading the 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey! If you have any questions or thoughts on what these statistics mean for local businesses, please leave a comment below. 



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