Did you know that over 99% of consumers used the internet to look up local businesses in 2021? Regardless of your industry, if you run a local business, your customers will probably use the internet to learn more about your business.
Enter: reviews. Over 98% of customers read online reviews for local businesses. That’s because it’s really hard to trust a business, especially in today’s competitive landscape. Your customers want to make sure that they’re doing business with or purchasing from a reliable business.
To evaluate a local business, consumers head over to review websites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, Tripadvisor, Trustpilot, and many more. While there are tons of business review websites out there that any and every business can use, some are industry and product specific.
In a recent report, Bright Local shared which review sites customers used the most in 2021 and 2020.
Over 81% of consumers used Google reviews to evaluate a business in 2021, whereas the number stood at 63% in 2020. Over 53% used Yelp to evaluate a business in 2021, whereas only 32% relied on the platform in 2020.
Throughout this blog post, we’ll be looking at the four business review websites all businesses should consider using if they want to establish a strong online presence. Alongside this, we’ll also share a list of industry-specific review websites you might want to consider.
Let’s dive in.
Why Do We Care so Much About Reviews?
Reviews have basically become a part of our day-to-day lives. Think about it. Let’s say you’re looking for a mouthwateringly good Italian restaurant in your neighborhood, and you haven’t gotten any good recommendations from your friends or family. We’ve all been there—and in times like these, Google is your best friend.
Hop onto Google.
Type in something like, “best Italian restaurants near me.”
Explore the restaurants listed in the Google 3-Pack.
Maybe you’ll even start to explore other review sites. And whether consciously or not, you’ll likely form an opinion about each of these restaurants based on their online presence. You’ll be looking for positive signals like a linked website or menu, drool-worthy photos, and most importantly, reviews.
It’s just what we do nowadays.
4 Customer Review Sites You Should Care About in 2022 & Beyond
As we’ve mentioned, there are tons of review websites to choose from, which makes it hard to know which ones your business should use. While there are various industry-specific review sites out there, let’s start with four review sites that every local business can—and should—use.
1 – Google Business Profile
Google is the most popular search engine on the internet. More than 90k+ queries are processed each second by Google. Whether you’re looking for a restaurant or pest control business, you’re highly likely to look up a local business on Google.
Consumers’ use of Google Business Profile for evaluating local businesses has spiked from 63% in 2020 to a staggering 81% in 2021. And in 2022, those numbers are only continuing to rise. So whether you run a B2B or B2C company, we’d advise you to laser-focus on creating a rock-solid Google Business Profile.
BrightLocal’s aforementioned report states that consumers’ use of Yelp for evaluating local businesses spiked from 32% in 2020 to an impressive 53% in 2021. Yelp is one of the top review sites that allow customers to review just about any type of business on a five-star scale.
Any business can get their Yelp listing up and running in no time—for free.
Now, you may have heard that the platform has been subject to heavy criticism for shady practices like asking businesses to pay them money in exchange for pushing their bad customer reviews down. Yelp has even been accused of unethical business practices, however, none of these complaints are backed by evidence.
Irrespective of that, consumers consider Yelp to be their one-stop shop for online reviews about a local business. If your business isn’t on Yelp, it’s time to change that.
Facebook Ratings & Reviews
Did you know that Facebook is the most heavily used social media platform in 2022 with over 2.9 billion monthly active users? This means that your customers are already hanging out on Facebook.
Over 48% of consumers used Facebook for evaluating a business in 2021. While that number has dropped from 54% in 2020 due to controversies like Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal, the platform is still adored by billions. Love it or hate it, Facebook is still a fantastic marketing tool.
So, how do you get started? First, you need to have a Facebook Business Page. Second, you need to make sure it’s highly optimized. One of the most important parts of optimization involves—you guessed it—asking your customers to drop their valuable feedback.
Trust Pilot is a quickly-growing review platform that is used by consumers and companies worldwide for evaluating and collecting customer reviews.
While you can go ahead and create your free Trust Pilot account to get your business listing up and running, if you want to take your reviews to the next level, you can upgrade to one of their paid plans. Trust Pilot plans include:
- Standard Plan – Suitable for small businesses.
- Scale Plan – Suitable for growing businesses.
- Enterprise Plan – Suitable for corporates.
Learn more about their pricing model here.
Industry-Specific Review Sites
We wouldn’t leave you hanging with just four review sites to focus on. We also put together a list of industry-specific review sites that may be right for your business.
Start Gathering Reviews Today
Building trust and positioning your business as reliable should be your #1 priority. If it isn’t, you’ll struggle to compete. Allow us to share a few stats from our 2021 State of Reviews guide:
- More than 50% of consumers are willing to travel farther and even pay more to patronize a business with higher reviews.
- Consumers use different review sites and search engines to make their decisions.
- 41% of consumers say they are more compelled to patronize local businesses since COVID-19.
- Many consumers (81%) leave a business review four times a year or less. 20% say they have never left a business review.
Simply put: reviews can make or break your business. To simplify the reputation management process for you and your team, Podium allows businesses to request, manage and address customer reviews across different platforms under a single roof. Whether you want to request a customer review on Google Business or address negative reviews on Yelp, you can manage all of it using Podium.
Start your 14-day free trial today.