If you follow Search Engine Journal or other SEO news sites, chances are you’ve heard about how Google’s been expanding the reviews content that appears in the Knowledge Panel for local businesses.
Google has always included their own Google+ reviews, but earlier this year they added in critic reviews from select publishers.
The most recent change now includes user-generated “Reviews from the web” which displays ratings from sites like Facebook and Yelp.
What does this mean? Reviews matter more now than ever for your local SEO strategy.
Third-party reviews are acquiring more space in search results, even when users aren’t even searching for them. A potential customer or future hire may simply be searching for your location, and now the reviews are more visible to them and likely to influence their decision about you.
Which Review Sites Matter?
Before you freak out, figuring out an online reviews strategy is manageable, and I’m going to help you do it in this article.
With the multitude of review sites out there, how do you determine which sites you need to focus on? It’s pretty simple, actually.
Head over to Google and perform three searches:
- “[your business name] reviews” – highest priority; this query helps you find the sites where you already have reviews
- “[your industry + location] reviews” – this query helps you find the sites where you want to have a prominent listing if you don’t already
- “[your industry] reviews” – this query helps you find additional sites to get reviews on, and is especially important if you have a national presence
Open up a spreadsheet with the following column titles and enter all of the results from page one of your three searches into the list:
- Site: the URL of the site
- Search: which search query it appeared on
- Rank: what position the site appeared in for search
- Rating: the current rating your company has on the site (between 0 and 5 stars)
- Goal: maintain your current rating, get a rating, or improve your rating. Note that a good goal for ratings is between 4-4.5 stars – customers are wary of too-perfect 5-star ratings.
Remove any that aren’t actual review sites (blogs, etc.), and you should end up with a sizable list.