The Online Review Blog

7 key factors of online reviews that affect consumer behavior & your bottom line

When I need to hire a local business, I could ask my friends for recommendations. But it’s often more helpful to look online, because I can see recommendations and feedback from hundreds or even thousands of people – in the form of online reviews. So if you run a business, you need to know the ‘7 key factors’ consumers look at when evaluating your online reviews.

7 key factors consumers look at when evaluating your online reviews

#1 Average star rating

Obviously, a company with a higher rating will look better than one with a lower rating. According to research by BrightLocal:

  • 98% of consumers read online reviews when researching local businesses, including 76% who “always” or “regularly” read online reviews.
  • 87% of consumers would not consider a business with an average rating below 3 stars.
  • 38% of consumers would not consider a business with an average rating below 4 stars.

If your average star rating is lower than your competitor’s, potential customers could be passing right by your listing and calling another company – and you won’t even know it.

#2 Total number of reviews

The more reviews, the better.

A company with lots of reviews demonstrates that it is very engaged with its customers. It’s leaving an impression on people. The experience is so powerful that customers feel compelled to speak publicly about it.

A high number of reviews can also be very eye-catching to prospective customers because there is a bandwagon effect.

If you currently have more reviews than your competitors, don’t let off the gas. If you ignore online reviews for a while, a competitor may quickly eclipse you with the right strategies.

#3 Review frequency

How often does the company get reviews? Are there large gaps between reviews?

Sometimes businesses will try really hard to get reviews for a few months. Then they stop trying, and there’s a “review draught” for the rest of the year. That doesn’t look good, because it doesn’t demonstrate your high-quality work. And it may upset the search engine algorithms.

Try to get reviews all year long.

#4 Age of reviews

Reading a review from two years ago doesn’t tell me if a company is still giving good service. But if the newest positive review was within the last week, that makes me feel more comfortable making a purchase today, because I can tell that this company is currently performing well.

46% of consumers surveyed prefer to read a review written within the last month.

#5 Ratings across multiple sites

Most online reviews are found on Google (up to 73%!). But consumers may look at multiple review sites, such as Facebook,, and the Better Business Bureau – especially when making a high-dollar purchase.

For example, if I’m about to hire a company to install a pool in my backyard, I’m going to thoroughly research that company and make sure they are legit before they start digging up my yard. I’m going to read lots of reviews from several sources.

Consumers may look at multiple review sites, such as Facebook,, and the Better Business Bureau – especially when making a high-dollar purchase.

#6 Overall sentiment of the reviews

Consumers who do their research will actually read the text of the reviews to get an overall sense of customer satisfaction. And they will notice a certain compliment or negative criticism repeated by more than one reviewer. They start to see patterns of good performance or bad performance.

69% of consumers feel good about using a business with reviews describing a positive experience.

#7 How a business responds to reviews

While they are reading all those reviews, consumers will also see your responses (or your lack of responses) to those reviews.

Do you sound polite? Do you thank people for their business? Do you handle negative feedback well?

BrightLocal data says 88% of consumers are likely to use a business if the business owner responds to all reviews – both positive and negative.

Why these 7 online review factors matter to your business

These seven factors of online reviews can greatly affect how many customers your business attracts each day.

As a reputation management specialist, I help your business stand out from the competition with better online reviews on a variety of online business directories. My service helps your company get more positive reviews while avoiding negative reviews.

Request a free quote. I’ll analyze your online review situation and present you with a custom report letting you know where you have room to improve. And I’ll recommend ways to stand out from the competition.

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