Why Companies Should Respond to Customer Reviews for Local SEO

There are many components to having an effective local SEO campaign, and of them, customer reviews are now more important than ever. This trend can be seen as ambivalent for businesses; they now have much more responsibility in dealing with customers after transactions, which will either lead to their demise if they ignore bad reviews, or will be another opportunity to show gratitude and turn one-time customers into loyal customers.

Customer reviews may seem a bit unfair for businesses; they may have plenty of satisfied customers who don’t feel the need to leave an online review, and then one disgruntled customer can wreck havoc on their brand reputation. Nevertheless, a recent Search Engine Watch article reported that 85% of consumers read reviews for local businesses and 60% of consumers read 2-6 online reviews before making a purchasing decision, signaling that unfair or not, businesses have to respond to customer reviews.

A recent Business 2 Community article discusses this new responsibility for businesses, and how both positive and negative customer reviews should be handled:

“Across all review sites and social networks, transparency is ideal. Utmost visibility means that local businesses can no longer delete these bad reviews or comments and expect the problems to disappear. Unless it is absolutely false or spam, we recommend addressing the issues and responding quickly to reassure current and potential customers that you’re on top of it. The same goes for positive remarks as well – thank them and build a loyal following.”

So even if a satisfied customer leaves a positive review of your company, it’s just as important to thank them and show that you appreciate their business. The idea is to focus on and create more attention at how your business not only has loyal customers, but also shows appreciation for them. When responding to a negative review in a professional manner, your business will seem poised and mature, juxtaposed to the over-the-top customer.

If you’re interested in local SEO and the effect of customer reviews, contact us.

3 Essentials of Local SEO

Beginning in local SEO can be a bit daunting.  There is a wealth of information out there that can be difficult to manage – from the steps you have to take to ensure good rankings, as well as in-depth information that is best suited for a later date.

You have to start with the basics, though, to truly get on track.

What are these basics?  We can follow a recent piece that offers a great starting point for this topic:

  • Know Your Audience: What are your audience’s interests?  Make sure you know the demographics of your target audience, which will help you create content that specifically meets their needs – and their searches for local SEO.

  • Include Location in Your Titles: This is a great point and essential differentiates local SEO from SEO.  If you don’t include location in your titles and, in general, focus on your location(s), you probably won’t have much luck with local SEO.

  • Claim Your Business Profile, Everywhere: From Yahoo and Merchant Circle to Google’s Local Business Center, there are plenty of places where you should be claiming your business profile.  Taking control of these (and others, such as Yelp, Foursquare, etc.) profiles is vital, as they offer amazing local SEO value.  Make sure all information is up-to-date – from your address and hours to much more!

These essentials themselves can do a great deal to raising your rankings in local searches.  Make sure you follow through well for maximum impact.

Need further help with local SEO?  Contact us today to learn much more about this area!


3 Steps to Setting Up Your Business Google Local Search Listing

Lead generation and Google Local Search make the perfect combination. Regardless if you have a warehouse, a brick and mortar store or any other type of business you need visitors to your business website, and using Google Local Search for lead generation is an effective tactic.

This program is very simple to use. You simply enter a keyword like pizza shop or shoe stores and the zip code or city. You will then be presented with the results, any reviews, any contact information and a map.Many people who are looking for specific places are looking in their local area. They want a service provider that they trust and can recognize as well as a place they can visit in their own area. Local business owners benefit from using Google Local. It enables their listing to show up in local searches, and it gives out their details and offers depending on what the searcher entered. Below are 3 steps to getting started with Google Local Search.

Set up Shop

It is not an automatic process being added to Google Local, therefore the business owner will have to set up their business information in the Google Business Center. However, occasionally you might see your business listing in Google Places. If you did not add your listing there personally, you will need to still claim that listing as well as verify that all business information is accurate. It is likely you will have to add more details to it as well.

Proper Keyword Selection

Selecting the right keywords to optimize your listing is a must. When using Local Search, keep your ideal customers in mind and their reason for buying from you. This is important when you are picking out your keywords. Your main objective here is to anticipate the search terms your customers will be typing into Google search when they are seeking out the products and services that you sell. Focus on small niche groups for best results.

Play by the Rules

Properly claim your Google Local listing and ensure it does not violate any rules. Making only a couple mistakes, such as adding in too many keywords in your description, can hurt your listing with the algorithm of search engines. For more information on Google Local Search and other web services, please contact us here at JC Whelan LLC.