Tuesday 26 August, 2014
Online review sites allow customers to leave reviews of businesses or services they use. It’s a way for past customers to tell potential customers about a business before they try them. For the businesses themselves, listing on review sites and getting reviewed are major boosts to local SEO. Your SEO campaign should include review sites, especially if you’re targeting a local area.
The Rise of Review Sites
Review sites have grown in popularity in recent years in leaps and bounds. People use them like crazy, reviewing restaurants or telling their friend’s about a shop’s excellent customer service. They’ve become so popular that they’re now some of the highest ranking sites in Google. This is why they’re so important to SEO.
Just how much SEO power do review sites pack? Do a web search on a local business. You’re likely to find review sites like Yelp and Google Places right alongside the business’s official site. In fact, they may even rank higher. This is why it’s so important to target them.
Review Sites and Local Search
Review sites are good for any business but they’re especially helpful if you’re targeting local search terms. The obvious reason is that people are looking for local businesses when they check review sites. If a person in Marin County is looking for a plumber, that’s what they’ll search for. If they want a good slice of pizza in downtown St. Louis, those terms are going to be used. Review sites rank high for these local search terms.
Local keywords are great for SEO because they tend to have a high number of searches that are highly targeted, but they have low competition. To take the above example, fewer people are looking for ‘plumber in Marin County’ than just ‘plumber,’ but those people are really looking for a plumber in Marin County (they’re highly targeted).
Which Review Sites?
You should find your listing or get listed on every review site possible. Even smaller ones may be targeted to a narrower audience and can therefore be beneficial to you. But you should definitely make sure you’re on the major sites.
The best site to get reviews on is Google + Local. The simple reason is that this is Google’s own service. This ensures that it has a great deal of SEO power with the search engine itself.
Other sites that are good to list on include Yelp, Yell and Scoot. These are the most popular at the time of writing. It’s good to list on every site possible because diversity is a good SEO strategy. You’ll have backlinks from a variety of sources and if one of them goes down, you’ll still have the others.
Your business may already be listed on these sites. Start by checking to see if it’s there. If you already have a listing, you need to go through the site’s process of claiming this listing. Once claimed, you can edit and manage it. Whether you claim or create your listings, write your profile so that it’s SEO optimized and it explains what your business is all about.
Word of Warning
One word of warning – no matter how badly you want good reviews, don’t do anything suspicious or try to wheedle good reviews out of your customers. Most sites have strict policies against doing this. I believe that Yelp even says you can’t ask your customers, much less pay them off. Encourage your customers to write reviews but don’t be heavy-handed about it.
Review sites are not only good for SEO but also good for exposure all around. When people see that others have said good things about you, this provides social proof, which garners trust.