Customer Review Sites You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Customer review sites either help or hurt your local business today, like it or not. Find out which sites you can’t afford to ignore without affecting sales.

Topics covered in this article:

Do customer review sites matter to your local business?

When a customer has a negative experience at your company, the way you resolve the issue has an impact on whether or not that customer comes back in the future.

The process of communicating positive or negative experiences has been amplified by social media and customer review sites. These sites let your customers share experiences with anyone searching out your local business online.

Customer review sites are now vital to all small business owners. Studies show that 90% of consumers look at a review site before making a purchase.

Review sites also increase your local SEO as well as drive traffic to your website. Don’t ignore this data. Embrace it!

Reviews have been proven to have an impact on sales for small businesses. For example, Cornell University did a study that used hotels as a reference point. This study showed that hotels that increased their review scores by just 1 point were able to increase their prices by 11% and, at the same time, still maintain the same occupancy and keep customers from going to their competitors.

You’ll create a solid reputation for your company if you have a great business review profile on the best business review sites. And you’ll increase your local SEO and ultimately your leads and sales.

And if you don’t take advantage of customer review sites, it’s just a matter of time before your top competitor does. So you simply can’t afford to ignore customer review sites.

To take full advantage of customer review sites, do 2 things:

  1. Get a high star rating (4 to 5 stars) and a high number of customer reviews on the top customer review sites that are most important to your customer base.
  2. Get listed on as many customer review sites as possible, even those that aren’t as important as the top review sites.

For more in-depth information on how to get positive reviews on the top-priority review sites, check out our guide to customer reviews.

The top customer review sites no one can afford to ignore

There are hundreds of customer review sites online. It can be overwhelming to decide which ones are the most important for your business.

So we’ve tried to make it easy for you to prioritize.

First, check out our list of 180 business review sites.

Scroll down to the section on “General business review sites for any industry.”

The #1 site listed gets the most traffic and is most likely to convert to sales. The last site in the list gets the least sales-driving traffic.

We recommend you make a “short list” of between 2 to 6 top review sites. We don’t suggest you spend time trying to master more than six review sites. Usually just 2 or 3 is enough.

Make sure your “short list” includes Google, Yelp and Facebook. No one can afford to ignore these customer review sites. These are the Big 3 and every local business should have a profile or page set up there as soon as they open for business.

Google

Google is the best and most searched customer review site. So it is imperative that you claim your business profile.

Google is the most popular search engine, so it’s vital that you have an engaging and reputable business review profile on this search engine.

Make sure you set up a regular process to drive customers to Google to leave reviews on a regular basis. We have created a guide on how to get Google reviews to assist you in this process.

Yelp

Yelp presents many dangers to local businesses.

But despite the dangers, you need to have a Yelp profile to avoid losing customers to competitors who have a presence on Yelp.

Yelp is a large platform with the ability to make or break sales for local businesses. Studies show that the average star rating on Yelp can increase sales for many local businesses.

Yelp is known to be the thorn in the side of many business owners who feel that Yelp isn’t friendly to small business with the way they post or delete reviews. Many local business owners claim that Yelp filters out positive reviews until the company pays for advertising to get positive reviews unfiltered, although this has not been independently confirmed.

Whether or not that’s true, local business owners can’t ignore Yelp. So we’ve created a guide on the dangers of Yelp business reviews and how to minimize the risks.

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social media site worldwide. There are more than 214 million users in the United States alone. So it’s important for your local business to have a business profile page on Facebook.

Although most people think of Facebook as just a way to keep in contact with friends and family members, this social media platform has grown increasingly more important for business owners to use for branding and advertising.

People are comfortable with Facebook and use the site to look at business recommendations written by past customers of a business. And for many, Facebook is also the most natural site to use to leave a review.

The top industry-specific customer review sites you can’t afford to ignore

After you’ve picked your top “general” customer review sites that are not industry-specific, it’s time to focus on the customer review sites that are dedicated to your specific industry.

Industry-specific customer review sites don’t get as much traffic as the “general” sites, but they are often more important for direct sales.

These industry-specific review sites often generate better-qualified leads for you than even Google. That’s because these customer review sites focus on your niche market, so most of the people searching these sites are actively looking for your kind of business.

So the sites that focus on your industry generate traffic that’s more likely to convert to sales.

For example, if your company falls into the “home & garden” category, then Angie’s List and Home Advisor are excellent sources of customers consumers looking for reviews specifically about home & garden businesses. So you could have a significant impact on the growth of your business by making sure you have a compelling review profile on these industry-specific review sites.

Look at our list of industry-specific business review sites and pick the most important sites within your industry. In each industry-specific list, the first site listed is the one that gets the most traffic. The last site gets the least traffic. So prioritize accordingly.

The customer review sites you can ignore (but may still want to claim)

Begin by claiming your top general review sites and your top industry-specific sites.

Then focus on making sure you maximize the number of reviews and your average star rating on all of these sites. (Check out our guide on customer reviews for more on how to do this.)

While you’re working on maxing out your top priority sites, if time allows, go to the sites you excluded and get a free listing on each one.

There’s no need to focus on getting lots of positive reviews on these lower-priority sites. It’s much more important that you get those positive reviews on the top-priority sites instead.

However, signing up for a free listing on the low-priority sites can still help. And since you don’t need to maintain these profiles, it’s a one-time effort that can pay dividends for years to come.

Most review sites won’t matter much to your business after you’ve covered the big ones. But being on multiple sites will give your company SEO benefits as well as occasional traffic.

So cast a wide net and get listed on as many sites as possible. But focus on getting customers to leave reviews on only the most critical, top-priority sites.

Again, when you look at our list of review sites in both the general and industry-specific categories, then you can see the rankings that we gave them. In each list, the FIRST one is the best at driving traffic and sales. And the LAST on each list is the one with the least traffic and least likely to bring in business.

This list can help you pick the most important customer review sites to focus on. And at the same time, it can help you decide on those you want to claim but not necessarily use when asking for customer reviews.

Also, if you have a profile on multiple and lesser-known sites, you’ll benefit when Google shows reviews from these other sites on your Google My Business listing in search results.