Here’s how to make the most of your customer reviews:
Make sure your local business is listed on major review platforms. These include Google my Business, Yelp, Angie’s List, and social media such as Facebook.
Identify any industry-specific or local review sites and claim your listings there, too.
Assign someone to monitor your online reviews. All customer reviews deserve a response, even good ones.
With positive reviews, you can simply thank the customer and say you hope to see them again.
With negative reviews, apologize for their bad experience. Then, reach out to them privately and resolve the issue. In many cases, this will inspire the reviewer to revise their review.
Put a system in place to request reviews from your customers. You may ask them in person. Alternatively, you may give them a handout or reach out to them via email. Note, Yelp has rules against asking for reviews.
Put links to your review pages on your web site to make it easy for people to write reviews.
All responses to reviews should be professional and timely.
Verify NAP Consistency
NAP = name address phone number
Your name, address and phone number should be on each page of your site.
NAP consistency plays a significant role. In fact, it was mentioned many times in my Local SEO Tips roundup.
If you have multiple locations, create a unique page for each one. Then, put the NAP listing of the location in the footer of its page.
Build Local Citations
We already talked about NAP Consistency. Now it is time to build your citations.
Here’s what to do:
Create a unique local citation for each businesses location. Include the physical address and phone number.
Eliminate any listings that use a PO Box. Only physical addresses help with local SEO.
Standardize all abbreviations. If you use Ave instead of Avenue, do it consistently.
Locate inaccurate or duplicate listings.
Contact pages and webmasters for inaccurate listings. When possible, correct them. If not, have them deleted.
Submit your details to these four data aggregators: Acxiom, Factual, Infogroup, and Neustar/Localeze.
Find niche directories and submit your website and citation to them. Examples include Yellow Book and Superpages. There may be others relevant to your industry and location.
Get listed in local business listings
The goal here is to standardize your listings. You can add listings, but only as they are relevant.
Hyper-Local Link Building
Now you will want to build quality local links. Local link building gives your site authority and makes it easy for customers to find you.
Here’s what you need to do:
Reach out to local blogs, offer to collaborate on blog posts.
Connect with other local business owners. Create partnerships to help one another out.
Join your city’s Chamber of Commerce and get listed on their site.
Join the local BBB chapter and get your site listed there, too.
Attend and sponsor local events and get your local business listed on the websites.
Build relationships with local media outlets. Submit press releases when something notable happens to your company.
These local ranking factors are based on my own experiences, not some fancy research. You can take several of these factors and move them up or down a few positions.
Proximity: How far is the searcher from your business or registered address on Google Maps? This plays a significant factor in where you rank.
Reviews: Reviews send a strong signal to Google that you are a real, quality business.
Citations and Consistency: NAP. The last thing Google wants to do is provide the wrong address or phone number.
Domain Authority: Domain trust matters, but not as much as for organic listings.
Google My Business Catagory: Selecting the proper category or categories that reflect your services.
Keywords in Business Title: Although you may see local businesses using false spammy names, it is only a matter of time until Google cleans up the local SEO rankings. Forget exact match domains. Consider a keyword in your domain name, especially if it works with your brand. Think long term.