Are you interested in making it easy for your local business to be found online? If you answered "yes", then you must start to focus on local SEO.
There are many ranking factors for SEO for local businesses, but one of the many are online reviews. Reviews are an easy and great place to start if you want to improve your local SEO.
Here are a few important facts to consider about the importance of SEO for local businesses...
- Fact #1:
There are 3.5 billion Google searches daily which translates to 1.2 trillion yearly searches and these numbers rise every second.
What does this mean for you? More and more people are looking for businesses like yours online.
- Fact #2:
88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
What does this mean for you? Online reviews can heavily impact whether a person chooses to do business with you.
I think these are both compelling stats as to why you should be focused on local SEO and online reviews for your business.
Now let's dive a little deeper into Local SEO and its importance...
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a super effective way to market a business, a product, or a service with local intent. It is a variation of SEO that focuses on your business being found by local customers and is very geographic based.
Great local SEO increases your brand's visibility on location-based searches and is aimed at making sure your business gets found online by people searching locally.
These searches include geo qualifiers, such as:
- Zip Code
- "Near Me" searches
Google then picks up the geo-location of a customer and provides search results from that area.
So, how do you rank better in local SEO and stand out from your competition? Here are a few helpful steps...
Benefits of Local SEO
Local SEO isn't some abstract, meaningless marketing term. It's a real thing and it really does work. Here are some of the huge benefits of local SEO.
- It promotes higher local search engine ranking. In other words, it makes it easier for people to find your business. Which means...
- You'll see more visitors to your website. If you've got a great website, then...
- You'll see an increase in new customers and business growth.
How Online Reviews Impact Local SEO Rankings
As I pointed out before, consumers make buying decisions according to ratings and reviews. They research FIRST before making a buying decision and online reviews are a huge part of that.
To better explain how online reviews affect local SEO, first let me show you these graphs from the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors survey conducted by Moz.com:
Although the survey shows that online reviews only affect 13% of Local Pack/Finder Ranking and only 7% of Localized Organic Ranking, it can be the difference between the first and second page of results, or the first and second rank on the first page.
The same survey shows how important online reviews are in search rankings and in business growth in general.
Local search engines prioritize reviews. Want to know why? It's a very simple concept. Consumers love to read reviews, and local search engines specialize in giving consumers exactly the results that they want. It's also the reason why review sites have become such trusted resources for consumers.
I wrote an article about How Online Reviews Can Catapult Your Small Business Growth and I suggest you check it out to learn more about the benefits of online reviews.
Online reviews play a vital role in social proof for your business and local SEO. Focusing on your online reputation management IS important if you want to boost your local SEO.
What exactly is Online Reputation Management or ORM?
Online Reputation Management
Online Reputation Management or ORM is an active approach to managing and monitoring the online reviews for your business. It's about proactively seeking to get positive reviews for your business and minimizing the damage of any negative reviews.
Here are my tips on how to effortlessly manage your online reputation:
- Focus on Multiple Review Sites
Identify the top 3 to 5 review sites that are most appropriate for your business and focus on building reviews on each site.
- Always Be Honest
Make sure the reviews being posted are from real customers and encourage customers to be specific about what they liked about your business.
- Recent Reviews are a Priority
77% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant.
- You Need Both Quantity & Quality
You must have high-quality reviews/ratings and a lot of reviews to better manage your online reputation.
- Always Handle Negative Feedback
Negative feedback gives you the opportunity to make things right with an unhappy customer. They also present an opportunity to learn how you can make improvements in the future.
Check out this online reputation management article for a more in-depth look at the subject.
So how do you get more online reviews?
Let's take a look...
How to Get More Online Reviews
Here's how to get more online reviews to boost your local SEO...
First, Use the Right Online Review Websites...
Before you work on an online reputation management strategy, first you have to figure out the best review sites for your small business.
I'd recommend identifying the top 3-5 sites to start. Google MUST be on your list!
Next, Understand Review Website Posting Policies...
Make sure you understand review website guidelines.
Use common sense and act ethically. In general, if you don't solicit fake reviews or incentivize people for reviews you'll be in pretty good shape.
But, you want to be familiar with the guidelines. The last thing you want is for your account to be shut down due to a policy violation.
Lastly, Follow These Online Review Best Practices...
- Be proactive. Put a system in place for your business to consistently ask new customers for reviews. If you don't proactively ask for reviews, very few people will actually do it on their own.
- Always link to your review profiles on your website and social media pages.
- Use your reviews as social proof for your business and promote them where ever it makes sense.
Want to know how you are currently doing with your online reviews? Take advantage of our FREE Review Scan to find out immediately.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and start getting more reviews for your business today and I know it will boost your local SEO efforts.
Have something to say? I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below and SHARE.
Are you looking for more solid local marketing tips and tricks? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing.
Header image courtesy of Pixabay.