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Local SEO Review ManagementLocal SEO helps your site to rank for local keywords, like “dentist Cardiff” or “vet Bristol”. Good local SEO can get you fea­tured in both the organic (unpaid) search results and the “map pack” that appears above them. That’s obvi­ously good for sales. So how can you master local SEO?

Well, it differs from non-local (aka “national”) SEO, because for local searches, search engines need to be con­fident of your firm’s loc­ation. Your online repu­tation matters a lot more, too. So whilst good on-site SEO and back­links are still as vital as for normal SEO, cita­tions and reviews are the keys to good local search pos­i­tioning.

Unfor­tu­nately, both cita­tions and reviews have common pit­falls that can easily undermine your rankings.

Citation Consistency for Local SEO

Cita­tions are places that mention your company, even if they don’t provide a link. If you want to do well in local search results, listing your business on major online dir­ect­ories can help a lot. There’s a catch, though…

Google verifies your firm’s loc­ation through its Name, Address and Phone Number (“NAP”) cita­tions. Trouble is, those aren’t always listed con­sist­ently across dif­ferent sites. For instance, one may spell out “Road” in your address, whilst another uses “Rd”.

Such incon­sist­encies develop more often than you may think. As do duplicate listings — which can undermine your search pos­i­tioning. Entries are often updated indi­vidually, and some­times changes to the dir­ect­ories them­selves cause problems.

Google sees con­sistency as a sign of quality and con­fidence, rewarding it with better rankings. So it’s wise to check the con­sistency of your dir­ectory listings occa­sionally — but doing so can be a lot of work!

Review Management for Local Sales

Reviews are even more powerful than cita­tions, yet far less pre­dictable. Still, they aren’t just good for search pos­i­tioning. Most people now act­ively seek reviews for any non-routine pur­chase they make. So those little gold stars on your search listings are… well, like gold!

Want some stats on how important reviews are to local business?

  1. 90% of con­sumers read reviews for local busi­nesses before making a pur­chase
  2. 89% read the business owner’s response to online reviews
  3. 70% are more likely to con­sider a business with pos­itive online reviews
  4. 60% look to Google My Business for reviews on a local business
  5. 57% will only con­sider a business if it has 4 or more stars — and expect more than 11 online reviews
  6. Over half expect busi­nesses to respond to neg­ative online reviews within 7 days, but 63 percent say that a business has never responded to their review
  7. Half will visit a business’s website after reading pos­itive online reviews
  8. 49% value the quantity of online reviews a business has
  9. 40% will not con­sider a business with neg­ative online reviews
  10. Only 5% of local busi­nesses on Google My Business have a star rating lower than 3 stars

Review Management — Vital for Millennial Markets

18 to 35 year olds rely even more heavily on reviews. So in those markets, review man­agement can make or break a business:

  1. 91% trust online reviews as much as a recom­mend­ation from a friend or family member
  2. 80% have written online reviews for a local business
  3. Half always read online reviews before con­sid­ering a local business
  4. Only 5% never read online reviews

Sources:

Of course, reviews can be faked, but most major review sites can detect or prevent this. Still, Google nat­urally takes more notice of reviews left on your firm’s Google My Business (“GMB”) page, if you have one. It can detect fake reviews more easily on there, after all.

What about mali­cious fakes and genuine bad reviews, though? Well, the more reviews you have, the less impact a bad one will have. Still, most people are quicker to com­plain than to com­pliment. So GMB and other review sites let you respond to reviews, or even request their deletion. However:

  • Poor responses in a public forum — espe­cially retali­ation — can do more harm than good
  • Reviews aren’t likely to get removed just because you don’t like them
  • Genuine reviews are poten­tially valuable feedback, anyway

That’s fine for reviews that are genuine and fair. Less so for those that are not.

How Can You Master Local SEO?

So, mas­tering local SEO requires man­aging your online repu­tation. Most firms trade on repu­tation, but Just earning your clients’ trust isn’t enough. You need to make sure that’s reflected online. So you need to:

  • Promote your business on major web­sites and business dis­covery apps
  • Easily monitor and manage your cita­tions, to avoid incon­sist­encies and duplicates
  • Track how cus­tomers dis­cover your business on search engines
  • Get more people to pos­it­ively recommend your business on the internet
  • Preempt unfair reviews to better serve your clients and manage your online repu­tation
  • Get data-backed evidence about how your online presence is helping your business
  • Boost your organic (unpaid) search pos­i­tioning for local and national terms

If that sounds like a lot of work — well, it can be. That’s why search engines reward it with better local search pos­i­tioning.

If you’d like an easier way to do all that though, check out Loc­al­Crowd — my full-fea­tured citation and review man­agement solution.

Take control of your online repu­tation today!