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Why Google and Yelp Reviews Matter for Improved Lead Generation

Importance of online reviews for local businesses

Online reviews matter for local business success.

Here are three good reasons why:

  • 99.9% of consumers read online reviews before hiring a business like yours. This number was 97% just a couple of years ago.
  • 77% of consumers say the average star rating is important, however most of them don’t trust the stars without reading the content of the actual reviews.
  • 71% of people trust the recent reviews more than the old ones.

What does that mean, exactly?

It means that, before making a purchase, most people conduct an online search for the products and services they need. It also means they’re paying special attention to online reviews in all new ways. Online reviews represent social proof. The more positive reviews you earn, the more business will come your way. Here is all you need to know about online reviews for greater leads, revenue, and return on investment.

Mobile Users Care About Online Reviews

You might already know that mobile devices have overtaken desktops as the primary source for online connections. This is great news for businesses like yours because mobile devices tend to lead to more conversions, especially with online reviews added to the mix. A full 93% of people who use mobile devices to conduct research on a product or service before buying eventually go on to make a purchase. This is the case for virtual and brick-and-mortar customers alike. Now here’s the kicker:

75% of 35 to 54-year-olds are reading online reviews as part of their research on mobile devices. If that describes your buyer persona, you know what to do…

Get More Positive Reviews!

Positive online reviews lead to a sales increase.


It’s common sense that more positive online reviews lead to a sales increase. That’s because, before making a buying decision, most people want to know that others have had a positive experience. However, there is more to this story. Not only can more positive reviews lead to enhanced lead generation, but a series of excellent reviews can cause customers to spend up to 31% more on the goods and services they buy!

This is true for 7 out of 10 consumers who tend to only do business with shops with a string of positive online reviews. To put it another way, attract more positive online reviews and your business will GROW! But what if your business gets one or more BAD reviews? Should you freak out? Throw in the towel? Don’t do anything of those things, because…

Negative Reviews = Bad? Not Always!

Getting a negative review never feels good.

Even if a troll left the review or the individual greatly exaggerated their experience, the reaction to getting a bad review is the same for most: As you read the review, your gut sinks. Your brow sweats and you begin to wonder just how many people are reading these foul words? Instead of getting all worked up over one lousy review, you should reframe your relationship with negative reviews entirely. That’s because, when it comes to negative reviews, there’s a fine line between GOOD and BAD.

Here are some points to consider.

1. Too many negative reviews are bad, which may seem like common sense. But some bad reviews can be a good thing.

Only 11% of consumers expect a business to have a pure 5-star listing. The rest get suspicious if a business is devoid of negative reviews entirely.

2. The Online Review “Sweet Spot” – a Mix of Good & Bad Reviews.

Spiegel Research Center found that consumers are most likely to buy if you have a star rating of 4.0 to 4.7.

3. Unexpectedly, the same study showed that conversion rates plummet the closer your business gets to five stars.

That means that customers appreciate when a business has more positive reviews than negative, but too many positive reviews without ANY negative reviews can be a turn-off. PowerReviews put it best in their report titled From Ratings to Revenue when they wrote: “[C]onsumers perceive ratings closer to a perfect 5.0 as “too good to be true.” As counterintuitive as it may seem, negative reviews have a positive impact because they help establish trust and authenticity.”
The report goes on to say that a star rating of 4.2 to 4.5 is the “sweet spot” for higher purchase probabilities. 4.5 is the best.

How Online Reviews Affect Purchase Decisions

4.5-star review is the best
Just as long as you don’t let your star rating go too low. Studies show that 57% of consumers won’t buy from a business with fewer than 4 stars. If your business is represented by the 4-stars and under club, here’s how to ramp up your reviews to achieve your business goals.


4. The Critical Importance of Google Reviews

The Critical Importance of Google Reviews

Of all platforms that display online reviews, Google is the most important.
That should come as no surprise. Google is the search engine of choice among most local business consumers. Of those that do search online for local businesses, 72% end up visiting a store within five miles. And 92% will pick businesses on the first page of local results.
Which results will those Google users pay attention to most? You guessed it. The one with the most online reviews (and accompanying yellow stars).

5. Have You Claimed Your GMB Listing?

Google reserves a special platform for consumers intent on controlling their information and collecting online reviews. That platform is known as Google My Business, which 6 out of 10 consumers turn to when selecting a local store. Google My Business allows business owners to create an eye-catching profile that includes pertinent information for consumers.

For instance, consumers can view (at a single glance) your business’s hours of operation, phone number,  and other pertinent details, but consumers can also leave their own (positive or negative) reviews.

To ensure Google My Business has the most accurate information about your business, make sure you claim your listing, which is a simple process to follow.

Sadly, only 56% of local businesses have claimed their GMB listings. Claim yours today by logging into Google and visiting Google My Business to control your information and collect more online reviews to attract an all-new army of leads. You can get information on how to create or claim your listing at the Google My Business help center.

6. Are Yelp Reviews Important?

Yelp Users Mobile Activity

When it comes to online reviews, Google isn’t the only platform deserving of your focus. Yelp, for instance, can be helpful for certain types of businesses.

The platform isn’t as popular as Google for driving leads. However, Harvard Business School found that a single star increase on Yelp can boost your revenue by 5 to 9%!

What’s more, studies show that 82% of Yelp users have immediate buyer intent. While Yelp has been accused of shady business practices in the past, which has even sparked a documentary called Billion Dollar Bully, many businesses still use the site to drive business. Mobile users also LOVE yelp, as is evidenced by the latest stats by the company itself (from March 2019). So, while your focus should always stay with Google, Yelp is a close second when sending customers to convey their experiences with your organization.

7. How Many Reviews are Necessary?

Reviews are of the utmost importance, that much we’ve covered. But how many do you need? The average business has 39 Google reviews and the average Google Star Rating for a local business is 4.42 stars. If you don’t have that many on your Google listing, here is how to get more.

How to Get More Online Reviews

How to Get More Online Reviews

Famed musician Stevie Wonder is quoted as saying, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” which is appropriate for our discussion. Studies show that 68% of consumers will leave a review for your business; all you have to do is ask. Even if you don’t ask, your customers may still leave a review, but it may not be pleasant. That’s because negative experiences tend to spur more customers toward leaving a review in general, or at least that’s how it used to be. The times they are a-changing. Reviews are seeing a shift from being someplace where consumers air their grievances to one where people can recommend businesses to others following a positive experience.

How Should You Ask for Online Reviews?

Spiegel found that emailing your customers a link to submit a review has the highest likelihood of success. Keep the email simple. Something like:


Subject: Thank you for your business!

Dear {Name},

From all of us at {your business}: Thank you for being a valued customer!

Your loyalty means a lot to us and our goal is to always make your experience a positive one.

Please take a few seconds and share your positive experience with others on Google (link this to your GMB). If your experience has been anything but positive, please let us know so we can take care of any issues immediately.

If you ever have questions, never hesitate to reach out. We are just as invested in your success as you are, we assure you.

Thanks again from your dedicated team,

{your business}


Rework the email to suit your business, industry and consumer goals. When adding the link to the email, start with your Google My Business listing, then Yelp, and others if you wish. But we’re not done yet. Gathering reviews is only half the battle. It’s what you do AFTER receiving the reviews that truly matters.

5 Steps to Take After Receiving Online Reviews

Steps to Take After Receiving Online Reviews

1. Read Without Emotion

Positive reviews feel great. Feel free to do a happy dance whenever you see one come in. If the review is negative, you’re going to get that sinking feeling. You might even get angry. It’s critical that you keep your cool. In fact, don’t react with emotion at all. Read the words as they are and take a moment to process them before proceeding onto the next step.

2. Prioritize the Reviews

When taking action on your online reviews, pay attention to the negative reviews first. Those are the customers that need the most attention. However, don’t neglect the happy customers. Put out any fires caused by the negative reviews first and foremost, then take action on the customers that rave about your business.

3. Leave a Response

Whether positive or negative, you should be responding to every review that comes in. Try to be quick about it. Over half (53%) of consumers expect you to respond to their review within 7 days. Responding shows you care about the consumer’s opinion, according to 41% of those surveyed.

4. Use Feedback Constructively

Positive reviews are akin to getting a pat on the back for all the great work you and your team have done. Negative reviews, on the other hand, typically involve consumers bashing your business, products and/or services. Instead of raging at the words left on the screen, use that information to grow and improve. Regardless of what’s said, use that information to make your offerings even BETTER!

  • Did a customer say you were rude over the phone? Take the proper steps to boost your phone game.
  • Did your product break a day after purchase? Source better materials or develop more stringent quality control protocols.
  • Are your services priced too high? Consider offering discounts, special bonuses or a different pricing structure altogether.
  • Did the phone ring too long without an answer? Hire more staff or consider improved personnel training.

Not all negative reviews will be honest or allow for positive learning experiences. Take each review on a case-by-case basis and, whatever you do…

5. Keep the Reviews Coming!

No matter how many reviews you earn, you can never have too many. Well, unless you have too many negative reviews. If that’s the case, keep performing at the highest levels, and your online reviews will soon reflect the excellence in all you do.

Online reviews matter and Google reviews matter most.

Yelp reviews come in a close second. You should be gathering more online reviews and as many as you can muster.

Send the necessary emails and attract the majority of consumers who are searching for your business online and looking for positive experiences from others like them.

Take action with your reviews, and don’t freak out when you receive bad ones. Instead, use the negative reviews for GOOD! Whatever you do, keep performing outstanding work and offering stellar products. Your customers are paying attention. All you have to do is ask and some may tell the world all about the QUALITY you provide.

Did You Like This Article?

If you did, leave us a 5-star review on Google. 🙂

Need help gathering online reviews or with your SEO campaigns in general? Contact Millionairium, where we offer Pay-Per-Lead SEO. Only pay for the leads you earn and let’s scale together. Visit our homepage or Contact us to learn more.

Why Google and Yelp Reviews Matter for Improved Lead Generation was last modified: April 17th, 2024 by Ali Husayni
  • Thank you, Ali! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Jason Little 5 years ago
  • Great article Jason. Thank you.

    Ali Husayni 5 years ago
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