Every company wants to stand out by ranking well when an interested customer or client does an Internet search. Local business reviews are now becoming the normal way interested clients and customers discover a company to acquire goods and services from. As a matter of fact over 65% of interested customers and clients use the Internet to find local goods and services.
Honest local business reviews, in our opinion are the main tie breaker for local search listings. All things being equal more reviews, from more resources will really help put your site at the top and keep it there. It could also propel your listing into the top ten where it previously was not discovered. Google likes to see there actually is interest in a local business from the community. Additionally potential clients want to see local business reviews as the primary consideration for many people is what other existing customers have to say about a small business or service.
In many cases hospitality businesses and service providers will typically already have citations in various locations around the Web. Here are a number of the directories where you will discover local business reviews:
In many cases these are legitimate local business reviews left by real customers. In some professions there are marketing service suppliers that generate user reviews. We were told by a dentist their rival used such a company to generate tons of reviews. I also know some local businesses contract with service providers who go offshore (Philippine Islands mostly) and have reviews artificially generated.
For new businesses and free lance experts you will need to develop a plan of action to generate local business reviews. Ask your friends to assist get the ball rolling. Ask existing customers if they will help. Offer new clients an incentive if they leave a review. Make things effortless for them to do this, provide targeted links and instructions. Providing a bonus like a Starbucks gift card, a rebate on future business will all help your campaigns. Be cautious though, don’t bundle reviews up at the same time, space them out. It looks strange if you get ten reviews in a single day and none for the next two months.
Citations are also like back-links. Links in sites that have your business contact details also help the cause. Mentions in local newsletters, event calendars, media sites (radio, newspaper, and TV) will create back-links and citation mention for your local business listing.
Some important things to consider in your review strategy:
A little bit of time spent on developing local business reviews will lead to big returns in your search presence and success. Look at how many the first couple of local listings have. That will be your target to beat!