Originally at http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/9375/2279372

Posted by MaryBowling

In ranking businesses in the local search results, Google’s goal has always been to model the real world. It aims to reward the companies that are the most popular and prominent within their own market areas — those that are the most highly regarded by their customers, considered to among the best at what they do and that people generally patronize, talk well about and recommend to their friends. Those are the local businesses that Google wants to show in its local search results.

That’s what searchers want to see in their results, too! After all, no one wants to get awful or even so-so service if they can choose to use a business that has a history of making its customers very happy, instead. Whether people think you’re doing a stellar job or a stinky one, there’s no way to hide from your reputation anymore. Prospective buyers can now see the collective history of a business’s ability to keep its customers happy 24 hours a day via online reviews.

Why are reviews so important?

Depending on which survey you see, somewhere between 75% and 90% of consumers read online reviews when considering a purchase. A slightly smaller number of us trust online reviews as much as we trust recommendations made by people that we know.

While it may at first sound a little crazy, that trust is developed via our ability to read multiple opinions on a variety of websites made by a diverse group of people with differing standards and tastes. Then, while considering the public’s overall opinion of a business, we take into consideration the factors that are most important to us.

For example, a light sleeper may be more concerned about the noisiness of a hotel than they are about whether it offers a hot breakfast or a clean pool, and a traveler with an early flight may be looking at guests’ opinions of the reliability of a hotel’s airport shuttle service more than at any other amenity.

Moving beyond reputation …

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