Business across all industries look to accrue positive reviews. They provide valuable social proof, give rise to word of mouth marketing and best of all, improve consumer confidence when it really counts – at checkout. In a perfect world, your business would have a plethora of amazing reviews without a single negative comment to worry about. But as you know, people are as imperfect as businesses, and you know… life happens! So when it comes to your local business, is it wiser to focus on accruing more reviews or just the best reviews you can find?

Some recent findings may actually shock you… 

Local vs Non-Local: Is There a Difference?

In some ways yes and in some ways no.

It really comes down to your line of business, which dictates how your potential customers make their purchasing decision.

After all, you won’t put the same kind of effort deciding which pizza spot to try vs investing in a big ticket item like a mattress.

In fact, Search Engine Land covered a study from Womply, which dug deep into this whole thing. As part of a study where Womply examined over 200,000 businesses across a wide range of industries including restaurants, salons, auto shops, retailers and more to find clarity on the relationship between review counts and review ratings. 

You may think quality over quantity always, but there are some things you may not be considering.

Most notably, the study found that review counts had more review-oriented impact than the average star ratings. As part of these findings, companies with a full 5 stars tended to have fewer reviews, while companies with imperfect, but respectable ratings (3.5 – 4.5 stars) found more online business. In fact, businesses with more than the average amount of reviews (presumably in this 3.5 – 4.5 star range) brought in 82% more annual revenue than businesses with fewer than average reviews.

And if you really think about it, this makes perfect sense. For a local business, let’s say a restaurant in a small town… there might not be a lot of opportunities to accrue reviews in the first place. So the restaurant owner can have their 4-5 employees review their business to hike up their ratings.

I mean, realistically, what business can really bring in dozens of 5-star reviews without a single blemish? Unlikely.

So in a field where ratings can be manipulated with small sample sizes, consumers tend to look at volume rather than perfection.

That’s realistic, human – just like local thinking should be!

Analyze My Online Reputation

How to Think Local

As I mentioned before, people (at least most people) aren’t expecting perfection from a local business. They just want a reliable product or service and even more so, the peace of mind in knowing they have somewhere within a short drive to go in the future. That’s where the real profits start to take shape!

With that said, thinking local means providing good ol’ simple value. Don’t oversell yourself. Don’t try to be flashy. Showcase what makes your business special and offer that to your customers, whether they’re at your storefront or on your website.


“This town ain’t big enough for the two of us” isn’t an expression you should be hearing unless you’re watching an old western. So if you’re having trouble with your local business, look no further than the experts at Active Web Group. We’ve been helping businesses just like yours thrive for over 20 years in just about all areas of Digital Marketing, from Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click Advertising to Online Reputation Management and pretty much everything in between. Looking to take your small business to the next level? Contact Active Web Group for a free consultation today!