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July 23, 2014

Four Reasons Why You Need to Pay More Attention to Local Reviews

Photo Credit: People Love Us On Yelp by Michael Dorausch Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Getting a recommendation from a friend or family member can end up being one of the most powerful driving factors when it comes to you making or not making a purchase. This same power of suggestion is alive and well in the form of online local reviews. If you manage a small business or have clients who want more exposure in their local market, it is vital to start paying more attention to local reviews. Even if you have been active with them previously, there is always room for improvement. They can end up being the difference between a thriving online presence and a barren shell of a Google+ profile. Here are four reasons you need to pay more attention to local business reviews.

Correcting Past Mistakes

I recently began work with a client who is looking to turn around their online reputation. This process began with a new website and fresh content to help improve search ranking. However, one of the most glaring issues was there were some less than flattering online reviews present on an old Google+ profile. One of my major short-term goals for them is to get some fresh reviews that reflect the changes that have been made with the company. The first, and best, way to deal with negative online reviews is to make sure you are aware of them and develop a strategy to get new positive reviews in place.

It Will Build Up Your Business or Client

If you are dealing with your own business, it can still be a great boost to see a positive review on your listing or on a consumer review site. Actual reviews from customers can be a great morale boost and proof that your online strategy is paying dividends.

If you are working with clients, online reviews can be a powerful tool for measuring the success of your campaign, and for developing a long-term relationship with your client. Bringing more visitors and even increasing sales for a website you manage is a very good and measurable goal. However, giving your client’s customers a good experience, and having them want to share it with other potential customers, can end up being a difference maker when you are sharing the results of a campaign. If you are managing the SEO or online marketing for a company that has seen their online reviews grow during their time with you, I can almost guarantee they will be much easier to retain over the long-term.

Search Engines Will Like You – A Two Minute Case Study

It is a well-known fact that Google and the other search engines do attach weight to user reviews, Google +1’s, and other signals that a company or website is providing a quality experience. However, just how important are these reviews when it comes to SERP display and online marketing?

Here is a quick example to showcase the power of this information when it comes to Google ranking. If you search Landscaping Minneapolis, the first result you see should be Dean Bjorkstrand Inc. This company is one of my clients that has a great number of high quality reviews from clients. Not only does he have the top spot for this search term, but he has the most attractive map result with 34 Google reviews and a 4.9 rating. It is no coincidence that his reviews have helped push him to the top of the list for local results.

Customers Will Like You – Minute Two of the Two Minute Case Study

Online reviews can end up being a great way to help with search rank, but their intended purpose has always been to allow customers to share their experience with one another. Continuing with my previous example, search for Dean Bjorkstrand in your browser. Depending on your search settings you should be able to locate the same company from before. You will see a greatly expanded Google listing preview next to the standard search results. This includes reviews and snippets from them directly on the search results page. Also listed are additional reviews from different sites on the web. What better way to sell a businesses’ service than by having customers share their positive experience right on the Google search results?

A recent survey has found that Yelp is among the most trusted resources for consumer reviews with a high percentage of consumers utilizing this site very far into the purchasing process. It is vital to get your business or client exposure on these important mediums. Admittedly I would like to continue to improve my client’s Google reputation, and build a much stronger presence on Yelp and some other local listing site.

What have been your strategies for creating positive reviews and driving local SEO results? Also, feel free to give me a quick review of this article in the comments! Good luck and thanks for reading!


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Evan Wright is the digital content manager at DigitalParc, a Minneapolis Web design and SEO company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is also the author of The Art of Saving: How to Create Your Money Masterpiece, a consumer advice book. Evan specializes in content strategy, SEO, and online marketing.

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