In 2014, Google ran over 1 trillion searches by users. As Google continues to permeate our daily lives, the power those search results can yield has become more and more an integral to our seeking out of information regarding brands, companies, or products.

An independent study was conducted to try to gain a better image of how Google impacts individual buying decisions by sampling a group of 1,000 people via Google Consumer Surveys. The purpose of this study was to observe and record how individuals interact with major sites like Google during their buying process.

To begin with, researchers were intent to find out how far people took their Google searches down the list of results. Did most shoppers stop at the first page, or did they go further onto page 2 or even further than that? This information gave researchers better concept of which page of results are viewed and are worth monitoring, versus pages of results where users never ventured.

When polled for results, about 36% of those surveyed claimed that they viewed pages one and two, occasionally including further results beyond the first two pages. Google’s data, on the other hand, clearly demonstrated that less than 2% of search users look below the top five results of page one. Clearly, the image shoppers have of their online behaviour differs drastically from the actual data.

What researchers did discover, however, was that most search results for products or services often pull review sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor near the top of the first page. This resulted in more consumers in the survey group looking at reviews first and the actual products or services second. Over 67% of participants responded that online reviews influenced their final decision to buy, and over 54% admitted that reviews did have some influence in their buying process.

So what does all this mean for your business? Positive reviews can go a long way to closing more sales, and negative reviews can hurt your business just as easily. Researchers found that a business risks losing as many as 22% of potential sales if a search user finds just one negative article, and if they find three, that number jumps to almost 60%. When you get into four or more negative reviews, you are looking at 70% losses.

Ultimately, the results of this research are clear: you need to make sure that your online image is not generating lost sales and costing you money. If you need help managing your digital reputation, you may want to talk to some reputation management experts like the people at Grow Digital Marketing. We are experts at making sure all content connected to your business’s products and services are aligned with your goals and focused on growth.

Get in touch with us today and start taking control of how searchers see your company!