Holding a Human Skull is Kind of Creepy and Gross –>
According to a study done in 2009 by Opinion Research Corp, 84% of Americans reported that online customer evaluations influence their decision to purchase a product or service. Yet, it’s not uncommon to hear concerns about whether to allow comments on a site. So, should you add consumer reviews to your website?
1) That same study also revealed that only 28% of web users in America actually left their own feedback. While that 28% vocal minority may seem small, when you consider the percentage of web users that are influenced by those reviews, the minority actually carries a lot of influence. So whether they say something neutral, positive or negative, listen. There’s a good chance you can find an opportunity to improve a product/service and/or change a weakness in your customer service or workflow, etc. The effort to improve can go a long way in changing the impression a consumer has of your product/service and company.
2) If only 28% of web users are willing to take the time to say something, they must be pretty fired up. Not allowing comments on your site doesn’t mean an angry consumer can’t (or won’t) go elsewhere to vent. If a negative (or positive) review is going to be posted anyway, you might as well have the ability to easily find it, analyze it, and take the appropriate course of action.
3) Consumer reviews also provide the ability to freshen up the content on the page. With the full-blown release of Google Caffeine, the new content can be an indicator to the search engines that the page is more worthy of being indexed, and may even help positively influence your organic search engine rankings.
4) Lastly, and keeping on the topic of organic search engine rankings, user-generated comments also provide the opportunity for “unintentional SEO.” What I mean is that it is likely to assume that in a consumer review, the name of the product, brand, etc will be written. The unintended inclusion of keywords and keyword permutations can only be beneficial to your rankings.
So, to be or not to be when it comes to consumer reviews on your site? It’s not really a question in my opinion.