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How can Customer Reviews Boost up Local SEO Campaign?
By Robert Wilson | April 17, 2013

We all know what an online review is, and it is indeed one important way for a local business owner to understand how well his business is being perceived by the customers. From the marketing point of view, the online reviews boost the credibility of the business to a large extent. According to a survey, 65% of the consumers refer to local businesses that have positive reviews in the web. In this post, we will try to find out how online reviews can boost the visibility of the local businesses.

Online reviews are one of the most important strategies in local SEO campaign, that are implemented to increase the visibility of the small business in search engines. But the question that haunts – how will the customer review websites help? Well, here’s how…

What is Venice Update?

Ever heard of the Venice Update launched by Google back in 2012? If you haven’t, let me tell you what it is. Before this update, if a person living in San Francisco, California needed to find a local business (for example, a pizza restaurant) in the city, he had to type “San Francisco California Pizza Restaurant” in the search bar of Google. With the introduction of the Venice Update, Google can now determine where a user is exactly located through localized signals. As a result, typing “Pizza Restaurant” into the search bar would now be sufficient as Google will determine your physical location, for instance, San Francisco, and will display the results according to the specific geolocation.

How Online Customer Reviews help?

The benefits available from the online customer reviews can be received in two ways. The local SEO campaign gets benefited from the end of the customers and from the end of the search engines as well.

Firstly, positive reviews about your business posted by previous customers will encourage visitors to become potential customers. Positive reviews will increase the conversion rate, and as a result, there will be an increase in the sales of the business. Secondly, the introduction of Venice Update has made search engine spiders crawl through the customer reviews in order to look for keywords and location triggers. Search engine spiders have a great fascination towards original and regularly-updated content. Thus, the more reviews customers will post about your business, the visibility and ranking of your website in the result pages will automatically start getting better.

Why Online Customer Reviews help?

Search engines love online customer reviews because people love to see online customer reviews. But why do these reviews matter in local search engine optimization? Let’s find the answer.

  • Quantity: Search engines prefer websites with a decent number of customer reviews. Too many reviews are not appreciable as it makes the website too cluttered at times. A number somewhere between 15 to 20 fresh reviews is considered to be highly acceptable.
  • Keywords: Keywords are one of the significant parts of SEO. If customers mention relevant keywords or/and product names in the reviews, search engine spiders will find your website to be appropriate and will eventually start pulling you up in the result pages.
  • Ratings: Along with quantity, quality also matters for search engine spiders. If your products or services receive good ratings in the reviews, your website becomes more preferable to the search engines.
  • Competition: It is obvious that your competitors will also have customer reviews on their websites. However, it is wrong to believe that they will have better rankings just because they got started first. Good quality reviews can change the game anytime, and help you surpass them easily in the result pages.

Conclusion

Getting customer reviews is, therefore, extremely essential to have a local SEO perk. Here are some tips to get you started on the right track:

  • Do not wait to ask customers about their experience. Ask them for a review right away as their experience with you is very fresh in their minds.
  • If a customer does not leave a review right away, send a follow-up email within a couple of days.
  • Avoid telling your customers to fill in complicated forms in the review procedure. If things are not kept easy and simple, it’ll turn out to be a big turn-off and will eventually hamper the review.

Above all, you must remember that your customers should enjoy giving reviews. You should never force them to leave a review. It’s okay if they do not want to; surely they have not like something about your business. Change the probable problem areas to make your business better and try next time.

About the Author

Robert Wilson is a Customer Engagement & Retention Advisor for Local Businesses at Vintelli, a next generation mobile and web directory application. In his 5 years of experience in this field, he has assisted many local businesses in engaging customers, increasing customer loyalty and retaining customers. Robert is counted on when it comes to crafting strategies to drive up customer loyalty.

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