Up to 90% of business leads research a brand online prior to a buying decision.
Research indicates that salespeople lose about 22% of prospective customers when only one negative article is seen when researching whether to buy a product or service. When there are two negatives in search results, the losses can double. When three negative things are seen in search results the losses can mount to almost 60%.
And when there are four or more a business is likely to lose about 70% of potential leads / customers. Source: Moz
The effect of reviews on business
According to the Harvard Business Review, a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue. A separate study by HBR found that online reviews are highly polarized — for the most part, only people either very happy, or very unhappy, write reviews. People in the middle are underrepresented, which makes reviews less trustworthy because in aggregate they are not a reliable indicator. In light of this fact, brands must be proactive and make certain reviews are an accurate reflection of their products and services.
How important are "clean" search results?
According to Hubspot, 60% of consumers feel reviews from other customers are either trustworthy or very trustworthy.
If 90% of consumers research a brand online, 60% of people trust reviews, and 22% of customers decide not to do business with a brand based on a "single" negative article, it seems that clean search results are very important.
How to calculate sales losses from a negative article
If a negative search result is causing 22% of leads to flee before even contacting the company, the brand is losing 1 out of 5 customers. Want to figure out what that's costing you? Here is the formula to use:
(Leads x Closure Rate) x (Customer Lifetime Value) x 22% = $ Loss
If there is more than one negative on the first page of search results the losses will be higher. If negatives are not usually on the first page of branded search results then the losses will be less because fewer people go to the second page of search results. In one study, only 5% of people go to the second page of Google