Which restaurant would you rather go to? A B&B with no online profile, a 3-star rated burger place peppered with dissatisfied customer posts, or a 4.7-star rated Italian place downtown with dozens of glowing reviews?
If you’re not one to take chances with a sketchy food joint, you’d probably go with the safest choice—the restaurant you can find online that has sparkling reviews!
As a business owner, I’m sure you know that online reviews are super influential. From Yelp to Trustpilot, people love to share their experiences with different products and services.
Did you know that 93% of shoppers trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation? Did you also know that 83% of customers say that reviews must be relevant and recent in order to be considered trustworthy?
With that said, these shared experiences have a huge impact on foot traffic, sales, and online presence. They are also one of Google’s ranking factors for Local SEO.
So, are you ready to learn how to get local business reviews? Keep reading!
Tips for How to Get Local Business Reviews
Google has even begun to factor them into its local SEO ranking algorithm. Not only does the number of reviews come into play, but so does the quality of those reviews.
Increasing the volume of quality reviews doesn’t have to be hard if you have a system set in place.
Here are a few great ways to get more reviews:
- Make your reviews visible
- Make it easy to leave reviews
- Incentives create a good customer experience
- Show how to leave a review or create a review request
- Don’t pay for reviews!
As I briefly mentioned, putting your reviews front and center is a great way to show people your brand is awesome. However, you first need to collect those reviews, to begin with.
But, once you do, you can encourage your loyal customers to leave you a good review on either Google Maps, Yelp, or anywhere else your business is displayed. Just make sure that your reviews are visible to your potential customers when they type your small business or company into a search engine.
Additionally, you need to make it easy for customers to review your business. Creating a clickable, easy access link for them to leave reviews at the end of their buyer’s journey can help you collect those reviews.
A good practice to incorporate into your local marketing is to follow-up up with past customers and simply ask for a review. You can also create prizes, raffles, and other incentives to make them want to review your business even more.
Google has been known to penalize businesses for many different reasons, and fake reviews are one of them. If you see a fake review that you weren’t involved with, you can report the review. However, it’s usually just best to respond in a customer service manner. Otherwise, Google may actually penalize your business if you report too many fake reviews.
Display positive reviews
Once you begin using the methods above, you can begin to collect positive reviews and display them on your homepage. By doing so, you can prompt and even convince potential customers that your brand is trustworthy and worth their time.
In fact, a BrightLocal study suggests that 80% of people say that they would be highly likely to leave a positive review on a review platform if their initial negative experience turned into a positive one.
You can then blast those sparkling compliments all over your website. You can place them on your front page, or have a whole page dedicated to reviews. However you do it, just make sure other people can see it.
Kind of like this:
In fact, here at The HOTH, we’ve been able to collect over 1000+ reviews just by asking!
You can read the step-by-step process in more detail on getting more reviews here.
Resolve negative reviews
Additionally, resolving bad reviews is vital to success.
A fantastic customer service approach is a great way to handle dissatisfied customers.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Don’t get defensive
- Don’t ignore it
- Don’t argue
- Acknowledge the issue and apologize
- Be authentic
- Offer a resolution either online or off
Benefits of customer reviews
If you’re sitting on the fence about whether or not you actually need business reviews for your business, here are some benefits you shouldn’t ignore:
- You can gain a better understanding of your customers and how to improve
- Boost credibility, authority, and social media proof
- Create customer loyalty
- Improve local rankings
- Helps with marketing
Claim Your Business Profile On Top Review Sites
The first thing you need to do is to claim your business profile on top review sites. This can help you with your local SEO strategy.
Choose which review sites are the best for your industry. If you’re in the housing business, Zillow is the review site for you. If you’re in the restaurant business, TripAdvisor would be an appropriate place to start. But, more on that later.
You can also check your customer service or onboarding reports to track how many potential customers reportedly found you from a local search or via a different local business directory.
What are the Best Business Review Sites?
Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile is one of the most crucial review platforms and listing tools for local businesses. In addition to being a place where customers can leave reviews, Google Business Profile can also help increase your business’ online visibility by boosting local search engine results
Bing Places for Business
Bing Places for Business uses the same verification process as Google Business Profile. Once your business is verified, your business information such as your NAP (business name, address, phone number) will begin to show up in their search engine.
Facebook Ratings and Reviews
Facebook is so much more than just a social media platform to share posts with friends and family. The social media platform is also where people can leave ratings and reviews for businesses on their business page by using Facebook Ratings and Reviews. Businesses can turn off ratings and reviews; however, it may not look great for credibility.
Better Business Bureau
The BBB or also known as the Better Business Bureau prides itself on being the most ethical marketplace that allows people to rate and review honestly.
The BBB is actually one of the oldest and most trusted review platforms. Businesses can become BBB accredited and the BBB will assign its own rating from A to F, however, these ratings are separate from independent reviews from customers.
Amazon Customer Reviews
Amazon’s reviews are star ratings between 1 to 5 stars and can help retailers gain a reputation. Business reviews also apply to any listing in Amazon’s Handmade section and other services provided in Amazon’s HomeService section.
Yelp, with its more than 100 million users, would also do well for almost all locally targeted businesses that want to show up on the map.
For Yelp, you can claim your business listing by entering your business name and address.
If it’s not listed, Yelp will prompt you to create a business profile.
It will take a while before Yelp’s moderators verify your business, but after that, you’ll receive an email and you’re good to go.
Many small businesses and marketers have a sort of love-hate relationship with Yelp.
Sometimes positive reviews can get less visibility than bad reviews. Regardless, you can’t really deny Yelp‘s importance.
Its pages are authoritative and show up frequently in search engines. Yelp has a dedicated customer service team that responds to reviews.
A Yelp listing can help businesses manage their online reputation and are one of the top websites that encourage customers to do business with you.
Foursquare uses third-party apps such as Swarm and CityGuides to allow users to check in and rate venues that they visit. They also leave tips for other people who plan on visiting the places of businesses.
Companies that sign up for Foursquare for Business can also add their own tips to Foursquare and make customer rewards. Foursquare data is often included in these third-party websites and apps.
If you are a business that operates a home improvement establishment or provides services to homeowners, then it’s vital to sign up for a review platform such as HomeAdvisor.
By listing your business in this directory, you can positively impact your business and help you get new customers.
All reviews that are written on HomeAdvisor go through an extensive screening process and are verified by the website’s monitors. No fake reviews there!
YellowPages is a free business directory that you can sign up for. It lets businesses manage the reviews placed on the website about their company.
YellowPages has overtime transitioned from paper directories to digital. It now supports businesses online with local marketing and local reviews.
While YellowPages is no longer the leading directory, it’s still a great way to bring in new customers for your business.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
Now that you know how to get local business reviews, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice.
If you’d like some help with this, you can check out our review software, HOTH STARS which will help you get more reviews! Schedule a call with an expert today!
Sign up now and check out our Local SEO Guide!