Why Google is Like High School All Over Again
by Nick Maus
High school was all just one big popularity contest…well, and that learning thing we had to do too. I graduated high school and moved on to college and was ecstatic that I was done with all the judgmental people. Then I met Google…
Your online reputation has a lot more to do with your marketing and driving YOY growth than most businesses understand. Your reputation, often measured in stars, is how most people will judge your business before even visiting your website. It can be your biggest promoter or your Achilles heel. Google recently updated how they calculate your star rating. Previously, they used a Bayesian method where you could have all 5-star reviews and still only have a 4.5 rating due to various factors. They have since switched to an arithmetic method where the number of stars is divided by the number of reviews. In addition, you no longer need a minimum of five reviews to have a star rating, you only need one. So what does this mean for your business? You have more competition when competing for reputation ranking and will need to source a wider pool of reviews to stay on top.
The digital age has shifted how we shop for our products. We are willing to spend extra minutes, hours or even days performing search after search looking for the perfect balance between product review, vendor reputation and price. If the product review is negative, we find a new product. If the seller review is sub-par, we move down the list to the next person selling the same product. If the price is too high, we search for another vendor that has a more reasonable price.
A few fun facts:
- 92% of consumers now read online reviews vs. 88% in 2014
- There has been a considerable decrease in those that “never” search for a local business online, down from 22% to 9%
- Only 14% of consumers would consider using a business with a one or two star rating
- 94% of consumers would use a business with a four star rating
- 88% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decision
- Reviews produce an average of 18% uplift in sales
- 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews
Ebay places the seller’s ranking status at the top of the page before you even have the option to place a bid. Amazon has dedicated a significant amount of real estate on every product page to highlight reviews from customers. Having a mediocre online reputation is like having the digital plague. Consumers will avoid spending money with you at all costs due to the fear of a less than acceptable experience.
Let’s take this a step further. Google has also released a pretty cool feature within their Maps category. You can now make lists of places you like, want to visit…or maybe want to avoid. You have the option to share your list publically or privately. Within your list you can give star ratings to each location on your list. Looking back at the stats above, I’d say it’s pretty safe to draw the conclusion that it’s not likely that you will end up on anyone’s list if you have a poor online reputation. It’s my own humble opinion that this information will, at some point, become available for marketing purposes and businesses will be able to see how many lists they show up on and their list star rating. From there the marketing possibilities are endless.
I have my own theories on how this will change the way we market to potential customers but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. Subscribe to our blog and look for the next article on how to be the cool kid in school.