Why Online Reputation Matters for Local Business

Online Reputation

There are many ways to think about your local business reputation.  The quality of products and services you provide to local customers. The experience people have when they do business with you. The things people share with friends and family about their experience with your company.

But in the Internet age, your business reputation is all of those things and so much more.

In addition to the in-person experiences of customers, your business reputation is also affected by your company’s Web Presence. In fact, your online reputation is often the first impression potential customers have of your business.
And while you may have a great reputation in person, research shows that consumers aren’t afraid to express their frustrations with businesses on the Internet. A recent Harris Interactive study showed that almost half of Internet users feel they can be “brutally honest” online, and over a quarter of social media users are likely to “share dissatisfaction with a company, brand or product via social media.

Online Reputation & the Consumer Purchase Path

Your online reputation is absolutely critical in today’s business world. In fact, research shows that online reputation plays a big role in the modern purchase path. According to research by kudzu.com:

  • 86% of consumers  look at business reviews online before they make a purchase decision
  • 90% of consumers trust the reviews they read

The bottom line is that what consumers see about you online ultimately determines whether they call you or a competitor.

Is Your Online Reputation Positive or Negative?

So, is your Web Presence making your business shine, or is it tarnishing your business reputation?

The way most potential customers will learn about your business online is by searching for you. So, the best way to investigate your business reputation is to discover your Web Presence by searching for your business name online.

You can evaluate your online reputation by searching to see what kinds of reviews your business is getting. For example, using search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, search for “your business name reviews” and “your business name complaints.” If customers are posting reviews or complaints about your business, this will help you determine exactly what is being said, and where it’s being posted.

Whether or not you are actively sharing information about your business online, your business already has a reputation online. Does it match up with your offline reputation? Is it costing you sales or helping you land new customers?

Either way, it’s important to actively manage your business reputation online by evaluating your business Web Presence so you can know what is being said about you, address any negatives reviews, and find opportunities to encourage positive reviews.


The ReachLocal online marketing blog shares practical tips and advice for those who want to reach local customers online. Learn about online marketing from our in-house experts and thought leaders.

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