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