3 Nimble Moves for Local-Review Ninjas

It pains me to say this, but these review-encouragement ideas aren’t mine: Other people told me (or reminded me) about them recently.

We’ve walked step-by-step through what your strategy should be.  We’ve looked at which review sites you should focus on.  I’ve even breathed down your neck to keep you motivated.

But maybe you’ve got the basics covered and want some next-level ideas – ways to get more out of your current efforts to get reviews.  I’ve got 3 of those for you.

They’re “advanced,” but they’re not hard.  You can work them into your current strategy quickly and almost invisibly (without having to change your strategy).  That’s why I call them “ninja moves.”

Ninja Move 1: Feature your Google+ reviews in posts on your local page.

Darren mentioned the Blue Plate Diner in Edmonton in a recent comment, at which point I noticed the review they showcased in their “posts” stream.

This is a subtle way to encourage any customers who see your “posts” stream to write you a review.  But it’s more important as a way to broadcast your existing reviews a little more.

It’s also wise to showcase your reviews in your posts because anyone who clicks on the link to your Google+ page in the main search results will be taken straight to the “posts” tab of your page.

How do you feature a review in a post?

Assuming you’ve got the “upgraded” type of Google+ Local page, you first go to the “About” tab on your page and find a review you’d like to share.

Let’s use my poor, neglected local page as an example, and let’s look at the overly generous review by Angela Wright MBE.

If I were smart, I’d click the “share this review” arrow, and put the review in my “posts” stream.  That’s it.

Oh, and in the post you’ll want to thank your reviewer, as Blue Plate Diner wisely did.

 

Ninja Move 2: Hard-laminate any printed instructions you give to potential reviewers.

“But lamination is expensive.”

“I don’t have time.”

“I don’t have a laminator.”

“Why can’t I just email customers to ask for a review?”

“Get with the times, Phil.  If it’s not an app people don’t use it.”

Phooey.

Texas dentist Mike Freeman told me about this approach, and it’s brilliant.  Simply laminate whatever paper instructions you use to show your customers, clients, or patients how to leave you a review.

(Dr. Freeman ordered my battle-tested Google+ review handout, but you can laminate whatever instructions you like.)

You don’t need to laminate hundreds of copies of whatever instructions you use.  Try it with a few and see what happens.

The lamination accomplishes three things: (1) it makes the instructions hard to crumple up or fold up, (2) it makes them harder to lose in the sea of papers and bills on the kitchen table, and (3) it makes your request seem better-planned-out and more sincere.

It may be a professional touch, but it’s not expensive.  As Dr. Freeman told me:

“Laminators can be purchased on Amazon for roughly $30 and the plastic pouches cost about $20 for a pack of 100. A very low investment on what could potentially help a small business gain a lot of reviews.”

 

Ninja Move 3: Use Yelp’s “Find Friends” feature to identify active Yelpers.

This is another stick of Darren dynamite (see this and this).  As he, I, and others have written, the big factor that determines whether Yelp reviews get filtered is how active the reviewers are.  Anything written by a first-time reviewer probably won’t see the light of day.

So how do you find customers who at least already have Yelp accounts?  Log into your Yelp account and go to go the “Find Friends” area (https://www.yelp.com/find_friends/address_book).

This feature won’t help you much if you have no contact with your customers – by email or on Facebook.  But if you don’t have any means of reaching them, you’ve got bigger problems than reviews.

Yelp doesn’t want you even to ask for reviews.  I’m not alone when I say that’s a stupid rule, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.  What you do with any “active” Yelper-customers is up to you.  This is just the best way to identify those people.

Have you tried any of the above?  How’s it worked out?

What are some “ninja” review moves that have worked for you?

Leave a comment!

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Local Search Wisdom from SearchLove Boston 2014

Darren’s talk yesterday on How to Prioritize Your Local Search Work was the most practical I’ve seen.  It was a peak among peaks at Distilled’s SearchLove conference.

Local SEO is filled with hocus pocus.  Even when people do work on important stuff, they often neglect some of the basics.  That’s because their priorities aren’t clear.

Problem solved:

Darren’s not one to read off the slide deck.  It’s packed with nuggets, but his talk itself covered even more.  Here are a few things that wouldn’t come through on the slides:

 1.  All the good advice that didn’t make the cut because it wasn’t must-do stuff.  Darren wanted to talk even more about reviews – which he cited as the highest-payoff part of local SEO (and I agree with that).

2.  How highly he recommends GetFiveStars and Moz Local.

3.  Darren gave a nice shout-out to Yext – in the context of it being handy for enterprise-level SEO.

4.  The handy cheat-sheet – which is easy to miss (on slide 90 of 99).

5.  How many questions Darren got during the Q&A and during breaks.  Local search is a pain-point for so many business owners, marketers, and SEOs.

What did you take away from the slides?

What are your local SEO “priorities”?

Questions?

Leave a comment!

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10 Classy Google+ Local Cover Photos – and How to Make Yours Better

There’s no reason you can’t have a slick and benefit-oriented cover photo on your Google+ Local page.  You don’t need to be in a “cool” industry, or have a nice building, or be in a scenic location. The photo is one of the few parts of your page where you can get creative.  You can […]

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A Map of the Local Search Turf War: 5 Big Boys vs. Goliath Google

Lots of companies want to be the place customers turn to when searching for local businesses.  It’s a battle a between Google on one side, and every other search engine and major directory on the other side. Greg Sterling recently said it’s between Google and Yelp – that they’re like Spain and Portugal back in […]

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Locus Pocus

What’s with the name?  It’s a portmanteau of local and hocus pocus. Just my way of referring to semi-common local SEO practices that I think are superstition. We talked about “Local SEO Myths” in 2013.  But there’s even more to say.  In that post, I and other local-search geeks focused on myths that lead business […]

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How to Execute the Perfect Local Reviews Strategy

Step 1.  Commit – or don’t. What do you want?  What disaster are you trying to keep away from your reputation? You’ll need to be patient and have a little fire in your belly – no matter what you’re trying to accomplish or avoid. And you’ll need to learn from your reviews to make your […]

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How to Troubleshoot: Good Organic Rankings, No Google Places Rankings

Do you rank page-one in the organic results, but seem locked out of the Google Places (AKA Google+ Local) results? If this situation looks something like yours… …then you might have what I call “detached” local rankings. In other words, you’ve got an organic ranking right above or right below the “7-pack,” and you’re wondering […]

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10 Guidelines for Putting NAP Info on Your Site for Local SEO

Peanut (our cat) - the nap expert.

Putting your business’s NAP info – name, address, phone – on your site is a basic step you take if you want to rank well in the local results. It’s also common sense if you’re trying to attract local customers. Still, I get questions all the time – questions about all the details.  I’m hoping […]

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Microsites for Local SEO: the Pros and Cons

Some business owners think the best way to rank in many cities in the local search is to have many websites.  That’s a losing strategy. They build microsites – by which I mean a bunch of small, usually almost identical sites with names like:             PlumbingCompanyCambridge.com             PlumbingCompanySomerville.com             PlumbingCompanyWatertown.com             PlumbingCompanyMalden.com             PlumbingCompanyCharlestown.com             […]

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Factual Improves “Submit a Business” Form

Now you don’t even have to wade through the guidelines and send an email to the right people to get your business listed on Factual. You can just go to http://www.factual.com/contact and type your info to the right of the prompts in the “Your Message” box. I don’t believe the “Factual ID” field is required […]

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