Survey: Local Reviews Gaining In Importance

UK based SEO firm BrightLocal recently conducted an online survey of just over 2,000 consumers in the US and UK to determine local search usage patterns and attitudes. There are no real surprises in the data but it validates other surveys about local search. Among other findings it reinforces the importance of reviews for online consumers. (The importance of reviews for ranking also appears to be growing.)

Below I highlight some of the US specific findings, but you can find the full survey discussion and data on the BrightLocal blog. Key findings include the following:

  • 79% of US respondents said they used the internet to find a local business in the past year (there are variations by age especially regarding frequency)
  • 71% of online consumers consulted local business reviews at least occasionally, with 22% saying they do so regularly
  • Those in the 35-54 age range consult reviews more than other groups
  • 55% of US consumers trust a local business more after reading positive online reviews, and reviews appear to have a meaningful impact on consumer behavior
  • 67% of respondents say they trust online reviews as much as word of mouth recommendations

How many times have you used the internet to find a local business in the last 12 months?

Do you read online customer reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business?

How do online customer reviews influence your decision to use/select a local business?

Do you trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations?

The internet is being used with growing frequency for local information. There’s nothing especially new there.

But the findings on reviews show they’re gaining in importance for consumers. For a large number of these respondents online reviews, if trustworthy, are just as good as personal recommendations. That represents quite a change from a few years ago when online reviews were harder to find and regarded with greater skepticism.

See related post: The Decor My Eyes Fiasco & Local Reviews Tactics

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Stats: General | Stats: Search Behavior


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • chatmeter

    Greg, Great re-cap on BrightLocal’s results on Local Search. At chatmeter we definitely understand how important it is for small business owners to monitor their local reviews online. The difficult part is there are so many local directories now, it’s difficult to monitor them all. That’s why our chatmeter report is so helpful for any SMB owner.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide