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New Study: Drop in Consumers Visiting Websites after Reading Reviews

Written by: Colleen Frye

Original article supplied by BrightLocal

BrightLocal is a service we use that specializes in local search tools & they perform a variety of surveys to allow SEO’s like us to get a better understanding of why consumers do what they do. They recently did a survey with 1,000 participants (from the United States) that focused on what customers did after they read a positive online review of a business. Were users visiting a business’ website? Were they calling them? Were they continuing to research another business? We had so many questions & we were excited to see what the results showed.

The results show a surprising pattern of confidence in reviews, and, crucially, a trend suggesting business websites are becoming less important to consumer decisions (though not completely!).

When reading the survey results, it is important to note the major findings –

Major takeaways

  • ‘17% fewer people say they visit the business’ website after reading a positive review than in 2016
  • 10% more people say they visit the business in person after reading a positive review than in 2016
  • 7% more people say they contact the business directly after reading a positive review than in 2016’

– Data supplied by BrightLocal

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Our first question is… why are 17% more individuals more apt to visit or contact the business directly after reading a positive review than in 2016? Our summation is that the trustworthiness of review profiles has increased in the last year. We also know that reviews are the second biggest ranking factor for an online business & you’re able to get the full landscape of a business & how they are viewed by their customers, more readily.

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Our second question is….since Google now allows your business to highlight so many aspects, is that what is causing a drop in site visits, but an increase in overall contacts? On Google My Business, there are so many new features that allow for users to decide about the business without having to research further – i.e. visiting the business’ website. Users can:

  • Text the business
  • Schedule an appointment
  • Read reviews
  • See what’s new – Google Posts
  • Ask a question about the business – New Q&A section
  • Learn more about the business by way of categories
  • Plus so much more!

We feel confident coming to the conclusion that because Google My Business offers so many insights, users are not as reliant on the website for more information.

But just because Google My Business supplies much needed information, it doesn’t mean that the website loses it’s role & significance.

Why Websites Are Still Crucial

  • A strong website is crucial for ranking high in organic search results.
  • Even though less potential customers are clicking on your website, it is still the #1 action that consumers take after reading reviews
  • 36% of consumers believe that a sharp looking website gives a business more credibility!
  • Google My Business listings or social media profiles, like Facebook don’t give you enough online space to present your business in the best way possible like a full on website does.
  • Your website is the most important local citation that Google uses to to learn more about your business – i.e. phone number & address
  • Your website provides a platform for you to exhibit all your information – case studies, testimonials, social pages, videos, yada yada!

Major takeaway of your website’s role – If you don’t work on achieving organic rankings for your site, you stand little chance of attaining visibility in local and map results. And that’s with all the great reviews in the world.

To come full circle, the statistics gained from this survey suggest that visiting a website is becoming a lesser part of consumers purchasing decisions, though it’s still critical to have one.

Images provided by BrightLocal

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