Online reviews play a large role in whether or not someone will choose to patronize your business. For example, someone who just came across your company by searching for something like "clothing store in my area" or "restaurant in my area" will thoroughly check out your information before deciding whether or not to head over to your store or restaurant. As a part of their inspection, they'll read over those reviews.
Where can they find these reviews? Many different sites allow consumers toreview businesses online. Some are better than others. We'll list a number of them here, along with plenty of information, so that you can make an informed decision that's best for your business.
Why Are Online Business Reviews So Important?
Reviews help people choose whether or not to contact or go to your business, and they also serve many additional purposes. For example:
Online Reviews Improve Your Search Engine Rankings
Search engine algorithms reward companies that are experts in their fields with high rankings. If you want your business to appear in the top ten, you'll need several positive reviews.
While it's easy to think that Google is the best option, since they run Google Business Profiles as well, reviews on any of the top websites will help your business's SEO.
Reviews Prove That Your Company Exists
Have you ever come across a local business that has no reviews at all? It might be new, or the owners simply haven't determined or had the time to set up a business profile or location listing and start asking for reviews. Either way, you're more than likely going to avoid that business since you don't know what to expect or even know that it's still in existence.
Reviews provide consumers with the proof they need to trust that a company is still in business and will provide what they require. Without reviews, you run the risk of turning away potential customers.
Online Reviews Help You Provide Better Customer Service
We know that not all consumer reviews are positive, and this is actually a good thing. You can use negative reviews to improve your customer experience.
If you get negative customer feedback, work to improve that customer's issue. If someone leaves a bad review claiming that a certain employee was rude, pull them aside and have a chat with that person. In the end, your business will be better, and you'll have positive reviews to prove it.
By responding to online customer reviews, you can offer high quality service and have ensure more happy customers. This will help boost your online reputation, as you'll get more positive online reviews, and it will also impact your bottom line by generating more word-of-mouth support of your business.
Popular Online Review Sites
- Google Business Profile
- Better Business Bureau
- Judy's Book
- Merchant Circle
When it comes to online review sites, not all of them are created equal. Some have more power and weight to them than others. It's worth noting that with so many different online review sites out there, there are plenty dedicated to certain types of businesses.
Google Business Profile
The best-known place for reviews, Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business, has a lot of clout. Business owners can fill out the profile listing, including their company name, location, contact information, and more, and then customers can leave reviews. Google will average those reviews, giving the company a rating of between one and five stars.
These reviews and overall ratings appear towards the bottom of the company profile, making them easy to find when someone looks into the business. Plus, since the reviews are left directly on a Google platform, they'll play a large role in the company's overall search engine ranking.
Formerly known as Angie's List, Angi includes listings for companies that provide home improvement services. This is one place to go if you're looking for a plumber, electrician, carpenter, or more. Even better, the site allows consumers to leave reviews for the businesses they've chosen to hire, letting others know how the service went.
Yelp is one of the best-known review sites out there. While businesses can set up their profiles, including pertinent information about the company, in some cases, the system sets up a simple profile for you. (Note that it's best to customize and set up your profile on this site.)
When it comes to reviews, anyone can leave one. The site goes through all the ratings and gives you an overall number of stars, similar to the one from Google Business Profile.
Since Yelp is a very well-known review platform, it's one that you want your business to be listed on. You need to set up that profile and keep an eye on the reviews people have left.
Although Amazon is extremely well known, its review system only applies under certain circumstances. For example, if you sell items on Amazon through the main platform itself or your own storefront on the site, people can leave reviews for your products and services.
They can place these reviews on your main company profile on the site or under the listing for the purchased product. Either way, if you sell on Amazon, you'll want some reviews on the platform to provide potential customers with the information they need to choose to purchase from your business.
If your company has a Facebook page, which people can choose to "follow" or "fan," then this is another good platform where your customers can leave reviews. There are several options for leaving reviews on a business' Facebook page.
You can either allow people to post photos and reviews as comments directly on your wall or permit them to leave reviews in a special review section.
Either way, these reviews, and comments will be featured prominently on your Facebook wall for all to see.
Glassdoor is a site designed for employees to leave reviews of their employers.
While this may not sound like it will sway customers, it can. If you're doing a search on a business and come across their Glassdoor profile, then you'll want to look to see how they treat their workers.
If those reviews are overwhelmingly negative, then you're likely to look elsewhere and find another company to buy from.
OpenTable started as a way for people to get reservations for certain restaurants. Placing all their booking options on one site simplified the restaurant and diners' process. However, it's morphed from a reservation site to a place where diners can review the restaurants they've been to.
While this site only allows for restaurants to have listings, it's a great place for consumers to see what the food and service are like before making a decision.
Feel like traveling? Even if you're only going from one suburb to the next, you can check out the reviews on Tripadvisor. This site started as a way for vacationers to find the best places to stay, eat, and find things to do while on vacation. While it still offers that information, you don't have to be in a different city to check on the reviews for places near you.
Even better, many people who leave a review on Tripadvisor provide photographs of their experience, and the location owners can even include their thoughts following a review. These longer reviews provide a more comprehensive view of a company.
However, you need to run a business related to tourism in some way, shape, or form to have a listing here.
Like OpenTable, FourSquare started with a different purpose but has since become a review site. For a brief period in the mid-2000s, everyone wanted to let others know where they were. Foursquare made that happen, allowing people to tag themselves at several businesses in their main geographic area.
However, this popularity died off, and now FourSquare offers reviews of those same businesses. Anyone can leave a review for a business on the site, making it a popular way to see what people think of your company.
Better Business Bureau
With a name like the "Better Business Bureau" and its system of giving companies an alphabetical letter grade, it seems like the organization has more power than it does. While it can't always help people who have disputes with a particular business, it does provide a good place for reviews.
Businesses control their profiles on the organization's website, especially if they pay a yearly fee to join the program. Whether they do or not, customers can leave plenty of reviews on the site, and you have the power, as your business, to respond to those reviews. You can even help settle disputes if necessary.
Like Glassdoor, Indeed is where people can leave reviews for businesses they've worked for. This site was initially designed as a job listing website, allowing companies to post open positions and potential employees to submit their resumes and other requested information. However, it has expanded slightly and now allows people to leave reviews of the company on the site.
As with Glassdoor, people might choose to check out what employees have to say about a business before patronizing it. For this reason, it's important to check out the reviews and respond to them regularly.
Like Angi, Judy's Book offers reviews of different home improvement companies. Businesses can set up a profile and start collecting reviews as long as they fall within one of the site's many allowed categories and you're willing to pay for your profile. Yes, there's a membership fee for this site.
However, there are some additional perks. For example, if you receive a review via social media, email, or any other source, you can post it to your Judy's Book profile. This flexibility allows you to control better which reviews are on the site.
Trustpilot is a very detailed site that allows businesses to set up a profile and enable their customers to leave reviews. However, there's a membership fee involved.
Once you pay the fee (and there are different membership tiers to choose from), you can send out forms to your customers that will automatically place the review on your Trustpilot profile. This allows you to collect those reviews quickly and easily, posting them all in one place.
Also, you can share your reviews directly from the TrustPilot site onto your social media account. It's a good way to help spread the word about your business.
Another site similar to Judy's Book and Angi, HomeAdvisor allows businesses that provide home improvement services to set up a profile on the site and begin collecting reviews. The main difference is that the reviews are carefully vetted before they're posted. The site will verify the person leaving the review to ensure that they received the service from the company they're reviewing before publishing it.
This verification process goes a long way towards building trust, as consumers know that the reviews have been vetted and are left by other customers. It gives them a chance to make an informed decision.
Although setting up a profile on the Merchant Circle site is a little complicated, thankfully, there are many different articles available on the site itself to help you get started. Once you have a profile set up, though, there's a lot that you can do with Merchant Circle.
The site allows you to provide discounts to your customers and give them advice on certain products. Plus, its site search function lists companies according to several different things, with those who receive the best reviews and more traffic towards the top of the results.
If you want a place where people can leave reviews for any business under the sun, regardless of what it specializes in, then PlanetRate is the best option. This site is very open-ended, and any company can set up a profile on it and collect reviews.
While PlanetRate isn't always the first place people look to when they want to see what others think of a company, it is slowly becoming more popular and gaining more clout. This makes it worth setting up a listing profile and allowing for customer reviews.
SiteJabber is a little different than other review sites. Instead of accepting reviews and allowing businesses to set up a profile, people can ask questions about the business and receive answers. All of this is visible to anyone interested, making it a good place to find out more about a company.
In addition, if someone purchases the company off the SiteJabber website, they can leave a review on the company's site profile. The business can even solve customer service issues through the site. It's unique and worth setting up a profile for your business on the site.
While the old school, paper-printed Yellowpages may not be around as much as they used to, the new, online version still exists. This Yellowpages allows businesses to create a listing that includes all of their pertinent information, including location, hours, contact information, and more. Then, once the listing is created, people can leave reviews of the business directly on the profile.
How We Can Help Your Business Listings
Whether you need to update or create business location listings for your company or want to keep an eye on any reviews that pop up, we have a solution. We also offer improved on-site search functions, making it easier for customers to find what they're looking for on your site, leading to better reviews.