10 Ways Local SEOs Can Start Helping Their Clients Get Reviews

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Most local SEOs don’t help clients on reviews, much or at all.  They can’t outsource it, it doesn’t look like a lot of billable hours on paper, it takes tough love, and they’re not even sure what they’re supposed to do.

That’s a shame.  Few things can prove your worth as much as helping clients get dialed-in on reviews.  Having good rankings without good reviews is good only for one’s competitors.

Besides setting up the review tool du jour (usually a waste of time) and maybe creating some printouts (usually a good move), what can local SEOs do for clients on reviews?

Plenty.

1. Help troubleshoot their current review strategy. You will find problems – and ways to improve.

2.  Do a “review audit.” I like to do a quick “just the facts, ma’am” -type audit, with an emphasis on niche review sites.

But if you’ve got your client’s ear for broader business advice, you might also do this very different type of review audit, which Miriam Ellis suggests.

3.  Do a bulk “Find Friends” lookup on Yelp – as a way of identifying which customers are active on Yelp and there most likely to write a review there. Also, explain to your clients that they can easily look up new customers / clients / patients one at a time, as they come in, if that’s easier.

4.  Find the waste. Does your client have 200 DemandForce “reviews” but none on Google?  Does your client ask everyone for a Facebook “like,” but not even a Facebook review?  Has your client sent 50 people into Yelp’s meat grinder, only to have their words and goodwill extruded out as 50 filtered reviews?

5.  Critique and improve your client’s outreach emails. There should be two requests: one in-person, and a friendly email follow-up a few days later.  A personalized, friendly, brief, not-pushy email that offers customers a couple choices of review sites is an easy way to pick up stragglers who otherwise would’ve forgotten to put in a good word online.  Write a version that you think will do better than what your client currently sends, and test it out.

6.  Mine the reviews.

7.  Showcase your client’s reviews on the site. That’s not a problem with Yelp or with Google; they won’t get filtered.  But you still want them on the site, because [BLEEP] happens, and because you can’t assume that would-be customers saw all the good reviews in the search results before visiting the site.  Also, it’s relevant on-page content that you don’t have to write.

8.  Build a “Reviews” page.

This is one place to do #7, although you can and perhaps should show off your reviews elsewhere on the site, too.  By the way, the page doesn’t have to come across as “having your mom as a reference on your resume.”

9.  ALSO build a separate “Review Us” page. That’s different from the “Reviews” page, which you’d build mainly to impress would-be customers (and maybe even to rank for some “reviews” local search terms).  Only current and past customers see the “Review Us” page.  You’re no longer trying to impress them; now you’re encouraging them to write the kind of review that probably was why they chose your client in the first place.

10.  Discuss review strategy – continually. You won’t get dialed-in after one phone call, or even after a couple of months.  You need to help your clients diversify.  You need to keep them from bribing customers or making it too easy, so that the reviews your clients get are impressive and not bare-minimum or fishy.  You may need to replicate your success in other locations of your client’s business.  If you just don’t forget about all the ways you can help, you’ll become indispensable.

How do you help clients earn more and better reviews?

Any suggestions I’m missing?

Leave a comment!

Google Makes Local Knowledge Graph King – for a Day?

When you search for a specific local business, you may no longer see the knowledge graph appear in the right-hand sidebar.  Google appears to be testing its position on the SERPs.

The knowledge panel has moved to the left and fully above the fold.  It’s gone from shy prince in the margins to turkey-leg-chomping king in the middle of the court.

Of course, after I went to all the trouble of writing those two paragraphs, the knowledge graph moved back to the right.

And now I’m seeing the new layout again.

It seems to be another of Google’s tests, but it may be the start of a permanent change.

It may be partly for user-experience and to show local “one-box”-type results in a way similar to how they appear on mobile (that is, front and center).  I’m sure it also fits into another of Google’s schemes to squeeze out more AdWords revenue, though at this point it’s not clear to me how.

What would a bigger, bolder knowledge graph mean for you, the business owner?  Probably nothing you weren’t aware of already.  But if this change sticks, your Google reviews will get even more noticeable, important, and worth working on.

Have you seen this larger, shifted knowledge graph when you search for a company by name?

What do you make of the test?  What do you think Google is trying to accomplish?

Leave a comment!

Review-Site Sitelinks Just Got More Local?

You might be doing well on reviews, but can you see your business when you search for the review site? More so than I’ve ever seen before, Google’s showing specific local businesses in the sitelinks when I just type in “Yelp,” for example. I also see specific businesses show up when I search for Urbanspoon […]

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5 Years of Local Search Blogging

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My first blog post was 5 years ago today.  276 posts ago.  Time sure flies. I’d already been in “local” for a couple years by that point.  But my posts are the heart and lungs of this thing, so I consider 6/1/11 to be the real DOB of Local Visibility System, at least in its […]

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Yelp Shows Phone Numbers in Local Search Results

Either Yelp or Google – or some combination thereof – has decided your phone number should show up in the search results, rather than just on your Yelp listing. Here’s how a typical listing might have appeared until recently: And here it is now: As you can see, the phone number appears in the description […]

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Dummy Links: Part of a Smart Local SEO Strategy

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What I like to call “dummy links” are links that you can get with a little commitment of resources, but without having to think too hard. You’ll need to earn some good links (from other, relevant sites to your site) if you want to rank well in the local search results.  If you’re in a […]

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Why Send Good Customers to Crappy Review Sites?

Isn’t that a huge waste? Think of how hard you worked to learn your craft, start your business, stay in business, get customers, and do a great job for them and earn those positive reviews. That’s why it’s stupid not to ask for online reviews.  That’s even stupider than Stone Cold.  You’re missing half the […]

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Online Scheduling: on the Rise in Google and a Local Search Ranking Factor?

I want to emphasize that I have not tested this – even to the extent you can “test” anything in local search. Rather, I’ve just observed a couple things: 1.  Google seems to integrate online “Make an appointment” software into local businesses’ knowledge graphs more often than it used to. 2.  Businesses with the “Make […]

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The Most Obscure “Rule” in Google My Business – a Nasty Surprise

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A few days ago I wrote about a tricky issue I seem to have figured out based on a hunch: that having two or more Google My Business pages in the same service area can cause problems if you need to owner-verify one of the pages. When I was troubleshooting with my client, I couldn’t […]

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Unverified Google My Business Pages Now Showing in SERPs

Update 4/2/16: This appears to have been a result of a now-resolved bug.  Thanks to Priya Chandra for letting me know. How can you tell whether a Google My Business page is unverified?  Now Google will just show you in the SERPs if you search for it by name. It used to be a little tricky to tell whether […]

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