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1. Find out which review sites Google pulls from for your industry. A good first step is to do a Google search, scroll down to the local pack (the 7 or so listings with pins in the map), and open the pop-up next to each listing (see example below). The review sites Google links to repeatedly for your competitors would be good for you to get reviews in, too. (Credit: Mike Blumenthal)
2. Have great customer service. Your business needs to have happy customers to get good ratings and reviews. If your service is terrible, stay away from local SEO. (Credit: Ammon)
3. Never pay for reviews. It may be tempting to offer incentives to customers for reviewing your business, but don’t do it. Google forbids giving incentives for reviews.
4. Don’t ask anyone to create a Yelp review. Yelp prohibits businesses from soliciting reviews and enforces it vigilantly. But also on a practical note, there’s no point asking for a review because only people with a Yelp account can do it. Better idea: stick a Yelp sign on your window or wall. True Yelp posters will take the subtle hint and possibly write you a review. (Credit: Darren)
5. Encourage customers to write reviews. Encourage your customers to leave reviews using a soft-sell approach. You could make suggestions in your newsletter, ask customers after a satisfactory experience, or put up review-site logos in your place of business.
6. Display printed-out reviews in your place of business. Another soft-sell idea is to display reviews where people can see them. This tells customers you value their reviews, provides social proof that your business deserves praise, and also shows which review sites you’re sourcing. Brilliant. (Credit: Ammon)
7. Don’t force users to a particular review site. Having reviews distributed among various review sites looks most natural to the search engines and to users. If all of your reviews are on one site, Google may suspect that you have automated or fabricated the process. So when suggesting review sites, give your customers a choice of several that are used in your industry (see #1). (Credit: Mike)
8. Use schema markup. If you have reviews and testimonials on your website, you can help search engines understand it with schema markup. Basically, you insert specific codes into the HTML of your web pages to identify what kind of content it is. Having structured data doesn’t impact your rankings, but it does improve indexing and can increase click-throughs to your site if rich snippets are displayed in your search results. (See Google’s support page for Reviews Rich Snippets for details.)
“Anything you can do that helps Google understand what you do better is a good thing … [Using schema markup] is critical in local sites.” – Mike Blumenthal
9. Connect with customers from the start. Set up a simple system for connecting with customers through regular social media or email contact. A local bakery, for instance, has a clipboard to get people’s names and email addresses for its newsletter. Get involved with social media, reach out to customers, and be responsive to their ideas. Being visible on the web can set your business apart. (Credit: Bill)
10. How many reviews do you need? You don’t need that many reviews, just enough to stand out in your industry. Getting a bunch all at once looks unnatural; so does having 200 reviews if your competitors have only 2. Try to get at least one review per quarter. If you ask all your customers, you’ll get a few, and that will be enough to stay ahead of the pack since they accumulate over time. (Credit: Mike)
11. Manage reviews and testimonials. There are many software products that can help you manage reviews and testimonials. One free monitoring tool is Google Alerts, which regularly notifies you by email of any mentions of a search phrase you set up (in this case, your brand or product name). You can also do Google exact match searches (inside quotation marks), social media site searches, and so forth. The point is to set up a system that lets you easily monitor your online reputation.
12. Keep listening to experts. Follow experts like Darren Shaw, Mike Blumenthal and David Mihm on social media. Their posts are among the most informed on the topic of local SEO. (Credit: Ammon) Five Star Video Marketing 235 park creek drive woodstock Georgia 30188Advertising On Internet Review Alpharetta GA
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