Online reviews integral in purchasing process

According to Cone's 2011 Online Influence Trend Tracker study, four out of five consumers wouldn't purchase a product based on a negative feedback in an online review. Similarly, slightly more than 80 percent of users have used positive reviews to confirm their purchasing decisions.

Business Insider reports that online reviews have become increasingly important to monitor during local SEO campaigns, as negative reviews can significantly deter a customer from purchasing a product or service. Furthermore, an overabundance of positive reviews might seem a little shady, prompting potential buyers to believe users are either getting paid to post reviews or are company employees.

"Today's consumers want reassurance before loosening their purse strings," explained Mike Hollywood, director of new media at Cone.

The fact that Hollywood eluded to "purse strings" is telling, as recent data from ecommerce optimization specialist Postcode Anywhere found that women are "significantly more likely" to respond to online customer reviews than men.

Researchers found that 36 percent more women than men rated customer reviews as "very important," while 22 percent more men than women believed user reviews were "not important at all."