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February 17, 2012

Do Online Reviews Help the SEO of a Small Business?

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For the third article of this series I’ll concentrate on utilizing reviews to generate more business and look at how building great reputation online will help with the SEO of local firms.

The internet has completely transformed the way we look for products. Nowadays most of us search for online reviews, social media based evaluations, online video clips as well as extensive product information when we want to make a purchase.

As an example, now I don’t reserve a hotel until I’ve scanned at least a couple of months worth of opinions on Tripadvisor. The facts are readily available and these actual comments will help me make my decision. In the past, this kind of course of action was restricted to searching for hotels, dining establishments and so on. However, what we are now seeing is that this information
is available across several areas of business such as local builders or even skip hire companies. The ‘Amazon type’ journey is now taken for granted for anyone seeking to make any purchase on the internet, especially finding a local trades person.

What exactly should you do as a local company?

Make an effort to to get listed on as many review oriented websites as possible – I have listed a few to get you started.

Google Places – www.google.com/places, Qype – www.qype.co.uk, Freeindex – www.freeindex.co.uk

Bear in mind – you will have to submit listings in the first place to be able to allow access for customers to place reviews but not only will this make a big difference to your inbound link count for Search engine optimization it will also offer you additional presence. We’ll cover some of these sites in depth over time:

As a local small business, the goal should be to encourage clients to leave honest reviews. Use this platform as a means to tune into how customers feel about your business whether it be good or bad. Where the feedback is negative, react to it directly on your website and also internally within the company. Handle your online reputation with care, ensuring you are perceived in the best light to potential customers. In some cases ‘turning around’ the customers who leave negative reviews can provide more beneficial exposure for your business than if the negative review hadn’t appeared in the first place – it all depends on how well it’s handled.

Reviews should be actively encouraged – for example why not add a link to some of these review sites on your own website: Leave us a review on… This shows confidence in your product/service and should ensure you gain more free of charge positive publicity.

In summary – reviews matter… make them count.


Paul Cunningham has 11 years experience in website design & for the past five years has specialized in search engine optimization, in Stockport, UK. The team at http://www.websitedesignlab.co.uk has helped hundreds of small & medium sized local business maximize their revenues via cost effective SEO in Manchester and all over the UK.

5 Responses to “Do Online Reviews Help the SEO of a Small Business?

    avatar Scott Petoff says:

    I definitely agree that reviews are critical for small businesses of all types, not just tourism companies. However I would substitute the term “Online Reputation” and not refer to it as SEO since the benefits relate to the reputation of a business.

    By having a overall positive online reputation (every review can’t be A+ or 100% of course), a travel or other local business can convince more new customers to book or buy their services.

    Besides the local listing sites you mention, don’t forget the other big ones that U.S. buyers turn to:
    > Yelp
    > local.Yahoo.com
    > http://www.citysearch.com

    While QType is big in the UK, also check out WhoseView.ie in Ireland.

    -Scott, BookingCounts – Get More Bookings

    avatar Jeff Ellis says:

    Good stuff! I really like online reviews and have been encouraging my clients get more reviews as well as look for more local seo options. Thanks for sharing, Paul.

    Jeff

    avatar Helen says:

    Thank you for the mention Scott. We are also in the UK on WhoseView.co.uk.

    avatar Paul says:

    This article was interesting and I wanted to throw my companies hat in the ring. Customer Lobby. We are in the us and Canada. Reviews definitely help create customers.

    online reviews help in sales.

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