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Survey: 6-10 Local Business Reviews Required For Trust

UK based SEO firm BrightLocal has released a second wave of findings from a consumer survey conducted in September 2010 (n=2,012 US & UK residents), which asked about local search behavior and online reviews. The first round of findings was released in December.

This second release includes numerous findings. However I’ll focus on several that I believe to be the most interesting among them.

First some of the high-level takeaways:

  • 51% of consumers cite Reliability as the most important trait when selecting a local business to use
  • ‘Reputation’ matters the most for Dentists/Doctors, Tradesmen & Hotels; however Reputation is also very important for Restaurants, Builders and Garages
  • Local consumers read most online reviews for Restaurants, Hotels and Pubs/Bars
  • Restaurants/Cafes are the most searched for type of local business – 37% of consumers

According to the survey, a local business needs at least 6 to 10 reviews to be credible and trusted:

If the data are segmented by age, it appears that younger users are more inclined to go with businesses that have fewer reviews. However those over 55 appear to only need 2-3 reviews to be generally satisfied:

The survey also asked about which “traits” were most valued by consumers. Here “reliability” is the top quality consumers were seeking. Interestingly being an independent small businesses didn’t matter that much to these respondents. And, strangely, “courtesy” and “friendliness” didn’t appear to count that much.

Overall reputation matters across the board, but it was more significant in certain categories according to the survey:

According to these data reputation was most important in the doctor/dentist category, which makes sense. But it also mattered in the lower-consideration hotels & restaurants category and selected trades/service professions. In addition the survey found that women were, generally speaking, more focused on reputation than men and were more likely to consult online reviews.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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