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The need for local SEO is gaining importance to small and mid-sized businesses. How does your business stack up? As a web design company we are often asked by clients about the most effective way to use SEO. Our answer lately has been that you should crush Local SEO by using reviews and location data to outrank your competition.

It is the combination of these two factors, location data and reviews, which will make the difference in outperforming your competitors for customers in your area in the near future.

The One-Two Punch

So why is the combination of these two factors so important? The answer lies in the direction that Google seems to be heading.

It starts with your location data. When people are searching on mobile using location information your business will show up along with the competition. So what will set apart the listings? As of right now rankings is not really considered a very powerful ranking factor although it is still a factor, but that appears to be something that will change.

There have been indicators that Google is ramping up the importance of rankings and is testing how they will play in various search results. While other factors will be important, such as brand authority, the focus of their searches is to provide customers with what they want which well ranked establishments seem to provide.

That is something that makes perfect sense.

When you are checking out Yelp to find someplace to eat nearby how often do you start by looking at a 1, 2, or even 3-star establishment? If you are like most people your goal is a 4 or 5-star that sounds good with a 3-star being passable at best and 2-star locations to be avoided unless you are starving.

The same thing happens when you search for things like ‘bars near me’. While the results aren’t ordered based on review rankings, the bottom ranked options appear much further down the list and the “Rating” sort option is prominently displayed which encourages sorting by rankings.

How should I Manage My Reviews?

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Understand the platforms – There are various places where people can leave reviews for your business. Directory listings, review sites like Yelp, and Google are basic starting points. You need to be aware what platforms are used in your area for your type of business, learn about them and then use them.
  • Be proactive – Good or bad, all reviews should be looked at on a weekly basis at minimum. Then you need to be proactive in responding to complaints or criticisms along with thanking customers for their patronage. Finally you can then actively address repeat issues to prevent them from happening in the future.
  • Encourage reviews regularly – A key to reviews is to obtain them on a regular basis. You want people checking in periodically which not only shows that you are still open but can give people a better picture on how your business does over time. On the flip side, large bunches of reviews can look suspect especially if the majority are positive. Reviews aren’t a race, but instead should be considered a long-term aspect of business.
  • Don’t fake them – Under no circumstances should you try and game the system. Honest reviews are the only reviews because if you get caught creating your reviews in any way the community can ostracize you. If the reviews you receive aren’t to your liking the only thing to do is work harder to satisfy your customers.

The bottom line is that for those businesses that rely on local customers for revenue, Local SEO is becoming more and more important. You can crush Local SEO by using reviews and location data by getting started the process now so that your business is ready to take advantage of the shift towards review rankings that Google seems poised to make.

Source: Lounge Lizard

This article was originally published in 11 June 2017. It was most recently updated in April 26, 2024 by Isaiah

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