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Local SEO and the Importance of User Reviews

Reviews get customers

Picture this: you’re on a beach vacation in Malibu, and it’s your first time on the West Coast. Interested in a delicious, seafood dinner at a popular restaurant, you pull up Google on your phone and search for “seafood restaurant in Malibu.” And this is what you see…

 

Google Search Seafood Restaurant in Malibu

 

Not a list of restaurant homepages but reviews! Moz attributes 23.1% of the total Overall Ranking Factors in Google search to Google My Business and Review Signals (such as Yelp and TripAdvisor).

Moz Ranking Factors

 

As a retail brand (local or international), you can do several things to boost your SEO. Check out these top tips to optimize your ranking in Google search.

1. Take care of your Google My Business profile

Google My Business features a company profile for places of business, and results appear in Google Search, Google + and Google Maps. If you don’t have an account, sign your business up (it’s easy and free!). If you already have one, make sure your contact information, service offerings and categories are updated, then encourage your customers to review you. Your goal should be to get at least 10 reviews on Google My Business. Keep an eye on your competitors as well; you definitely want to aim to have more reviews on your profile compared to theirs.

2. Use Yelp!

Yelp is a crowd-sourced review platform for restaurants, shops, nightlife, entertainment destinations and more. On iPhone devices, Yelp shows up in search results on the Maps application. Which place do you think someone will try out based on search results alone: a 2-star rating or a 4-star rating? Keep contact information and hours updated, as people will find you when they are looking for products or services just like yours.

3. Encourage customer reviews

Customer engagement can earn you both loyalists and new business. Send thank you emails and/or receipt confirmations with a link to a landing page featuring all your profiles. Make it easy for customers to review you, and they are more likely to do it.

4. Earn great reviews

If you want to get great reviews, you have to earn them. Train your staff to be friendly and helpful with all customers, and learn from big brands like Google and Starbucks. A well-timed complimentary beverage or a holiday gift builds brand love and devotion. Encourage your employees to connect positively with everyone they interact with, and good reviews will start rolling in.

SEO isn’t easy to achieve, but there are some things you can do to improve it. With attention and a focus on garnering positive reviews, you can work towards increasing your ranking in Google. It’s a non-technical way to move your position up in search results, and is well worth your time and effort (and good business practice in general!). Once you have more reviews and a higher position in Google, you just might have more people coming through your door or to your website. Mission accomplished!

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