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Local Business Needs Reviews

For local businesses, online reviews are too important to ignore. Positive reviews help to establish your brand as a trusted place to do business and will give a bump to your SEO, while negative reviews will drive away customers and cost you in search engine rankings. In a nutshell, local business needs reviews!

Search engine rankings and a positive reputation are two of the biggest keys to success for local businesses – which means you shouldn’t be leaving your online reviews up to chance. Today, we’ll look at how good reviews help your business and a few tips on maximizing your potential.

Building Local Trust

As a local business, building trust is critical to success. And online reviews are the best way to go about building that trust. A recent survey by Bright Local found that 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Potential customers are looking at your reviews, and if they aren’t good (or don’t exist) then your business will be hurting. The survey quoted above also found that 87% of customers want to see at least three stars before they’ll visit a business. Make sure that you’re capturing that 87% by obtaining quality positive reviews.

The importance of real reviews is likely going to increase as we continue to move into a digital-first world. This year, 11% of customers look up business reviews every day, 53% at least once a month, and only 5% never do. This means customers are turning to online reviews to form opinions about local businesses.

Reviews and SEO

Local SEO is massively important. And obtaining positive reviews can help in your search engine optimization efforts. Reviews, as a form of social proof, influence SEO – although not always directly. If you’re hosting reviews on your own site, reviews help to meet the never-ending need for fresh content – which is always good for SEO.

But even if the reviews are on another site, they send strong social signals to the search engines. In fact, many estimates put review signals at making up about 10% of the total ranking factors. Currently, the top three third-party review sites are Google, Facebook, and Yelp – but wherever your reviews appear they can help to boost your SEO efforts.

Review Tips

Now that we’ve covered some of the importance of obtaining reviews, what should a local business do? There’s no cut-and-dried way to ensure you’re getting the reviews you need. But there are some best practices to follow that will help to get you on the right path:

  • Ask for Reviews: Sometimes if you want something, you should just ask for it. If you want reviews (and you should), consider just asking your existing customers for them. But before you do, make sure you’re in compliance with the review sites because some prohibit asking for reviews.
  • Don’t Cheat: Because of the value of reviews, the temptation to play dirty is real. But the risk of getting burned isn’t worth it. Whether you’re paying for reviews, offering rewards, or attacking competitors; review sites are getting better at identifying and removing dishonest reviews.
  • Monitor Closely: The unfortunate reality is that not all your reviews will be positive. That’s ok – just make sure that negative reviews are addressed (both publicly and within your business). At the end of the day, customers will respect your honesty and openness when dealing with negative reviews.
  • Be Compliant: I touched on this already, but it bears repeating: make sure you are following the various review sites terms and conditions. They all vary slightly, so take the 30 minutes to read through their terms and make sure you aren’t responsible for violations that could backfire on you.

Local Business Growth

Running a local business isn’t easy – and the proliferation of digital channels leads to more things on an already plate. But ignoring the importance of online reviews and local SEO can be disastrous. At Fusion Group USA, we love to help busy business owners stay on top of the digital world.

Toward that end, we offer monthly SEO services that include directory submissions, Google My Business, and review site optimization. Check out our extensive services offer on our main page: https://fusiongroupusa.com/website-search-engine-optimization-services

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