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Reviews are a massive part of the web now, and an absolute essential for online retailers. 

They’re also vital for local businesses, whether or not they sell online, thanks to their sheer prominence in local search results.

Just look at this search for best restaurants in Winnipeg. The best organic listings are taken by the restaurants with good reviews:

best restaurants in winnipeg - Google Search 2016-03-03 14-44-08

After this the next organic listings are mainly from review sites – Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, tourism sites, and so on. Only a couple of actual Winnipeg restaurant sites make it onto the first page.

While not every local search is exactly like this, the trend is clear. Indeed, the Google My Business listings are so dominant that many users will not even look at the other organic results.

This is the most important source. These review scores are an important signal for Google.

Indeed, Moz attributes review signals 8.4% of its ranking factor pie.

moz-local-ranking

A Google My Business listing is now an absolute essential for local search. It’s free to set up, it’s one of the best things you can do to improve local SEO visibility.

How to get more Google Reviews

This is what separates a good business from the rest, going the extra mile. Keep in mind, in every industry there’s a different type of demographic to please. The best way to get reviews is by experimenting, ask for a review and see what type of feedback you get. If you really take good care of your clients they are likely to leave you a review.

Ask customers when they’re in your business

Hand our cards, print it on receipts, ask customers as they’re paying the bill. Don’t be shy.

Many stores offer the incentive of entry into prize draws for leaving reviews, but this isn’t a good idea as this is against Google’s and most review site’s guidelines.

Email to ask for reviews

If you have customers’ email addresses, then send them a follow up email can be effective.

They’re on the web to answer the email anyway, so it’s less effort to head to leave a review online.

Use your social channels

If you have a decent following, then the occasional post or tweet asking for reviews can work. Don’t overdo it though.

Reply to negative reviews

Maybe not all, as some people will never be placated.

However, if you respond to criticism in a reasonable way, seeking to understand the customer’s issue and resolve it if possible, this leaves a positive impression.

Be sure to setup a reviews landing page on your website

The URL for this page can be used on marketing materials, emails, etc. to point customers at the right page to leave reviews and provide them some instructions on how to do so.

Are you ready to utilize this powerful marketing tool for your business?  If you need assistance claiming & optimizing your Google listing & setting up Google+ for your business, we can help!

Source:  Search Engine Watch