Online customer reviews are a key part of a small businesses local SEO strategy; we all like to find out what others think of a product or service so Google has integrated this into their algorithm for ranking local businesses.
Google takes into account customer reviews on its own Google Places platform as well as certain other directories, click on the thumbnail to see this on a Google Places listing:
I posed this question to the highly respected SEO expert and owner of SEO Training, Joe Williams:
I note that you are using Google Places reviews quite extensively.
The downside of Google Places reviews as we all know is that they are cumbersome for the customer to actually do.
I’ve also been learning about how Google syndicates other local directory reviews, and some also have the view that some of these may even have greater weighting currently than a Google review?
The general consensus on various SEO blogs seems to be to get reviews in a few places including Google Places so when Google changes their mind on things all bases are covered.
I’ve been looking into the directories that are syndicated for all types of UK businesses, and of these Qype and Touch Local come up regally (amongst many others) for many types of business throughout the UK. Qype is great because they also have a widget that you can put on your site to make the review process for the customer very easy.
I just wondered what your thoughts were on this as it does appear that for local search reviews are critical?”
I do agree that Google Places reviews are a little cumbersome to do; though I can’t see Google dropping their own reviews where they might with other websites. I do agree a few places are best – like in link building, diversity is important.
How important reviews are is questionable for Google Places but it certainly has helped in my experience. Since the Google Venice update it has helped even more – when you type ‘seo training’ from London or surrounding areas, my Google Places reviews now show up. That’s only started happening in the last month or two – before it was for location specific queries like seo training in London.
It is definitely worth investing time in reviews for localised businesses plus it’s also good to aid conversion rates.
My tuppence worth.
For the small businesses who have limited time my view is to request customers to place reviews in the following places:
As Joe has pointed out, Google is unlikely to drop their own reviews, so in deciding where you are going to ask customers to post their reviews you have to balance the ease of review posting on Yelp vs. the probable longer-term sustainability of Google Places plus the benefit of having reviews on an industry-specific directory.
I would greatly appreciate any other comments on this plus any other recommended directories.
I’d also like to say a big thank you to Joe for replying to my question. I attended an SEO training course by SEO Training and was fortunate to have Joe as the trainer, Joe is a fountain of knowledge on SEO and if you are considering any type of training relating to this field, I would highly recommend them.