Want a tidbit of good (and somewhat surprising) news about online consumer search behavior? A new online study found that 57% of consumers will look through more than just the first and second pages of search results to find reviews of a company they’re researching.
Third-party websites with reviews of your company or product aren’t something you can control with any SEO techniques known to man, but online reviews are something you should be aware of and use to your advantage. They can let you know which benefits of your product or service are most important to Joe Consumer, and what problems it solves for them – and that gives you a clue about which keywords to target and what to focus on when writing new web content, product descriptions or press releases.
But back to the survey results at hand: The Online Reputation Management Survey performed by McKremie found that 14% only look at the first page of search results, 29% stop after the second page, 33% stop after the third page, 10% stop after the fourth page, and 14% actually make it to the fifth page of results. (Of course, it goes without saying that your company looks a whole lot better to these amateur detectives if your own website is on the first page, as high up as possible.)
The survey also found, not surprisingly, that 87% of consumers either “always” or “occasionally” check out companies online before doing business with them or buying their products. More surprising are the 3% who say they “never” do online consumer research. (Who are these people??)
Here’s another unexpected piece of news from the same survey, and it’s news you can use: When asked what type of reviews they’ve left online, 68% responded that they’ve left positive reviews, 23% neutral and 38% negative. You might think that dissatisfied customers would be more vocal in their opinion and thus more likely to leave a negative review, but (fortunately) that’s clearly not always the case. So if you have an ecommerce website that allows product ratings and reviews, or some other way for your customers to leave reviews, encourage them to do so!
There’s one more thing you can learn from the McKremie report. Almost half of the consumers surveyed (45%) had used social media websites to research a company. Since it’s so easy for a satisfied or dissatisfied customer to leave a sort of “mini-review” on your Facebook page, it’s crucial to have someone on your team monitor your social media pages closely and answer customers’ complaints and concerns – and when the feedback is a glowing compliment on one of your products, guess what link you should share next on your Facebook page?
So while you can’t control or improve the SEO rankings of online reviews of your company or product, you can take heart in the fact that more people than you’d expect are clicking past the first couple of pages to find the reviews they seek. And of course you can use the information those reviews contain to improve your website’s SEO so more consumers will be able to find (and review) your company!