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Beyond any doubt, the local reviews are becoming major ranking factors, considered to have already surpassed the importance of social media signals. The latter has been confirmed by the latest Moz’s survey and by Google. It is clear that online reviews are not just dabbling with other key factors such as relevance, distance, and prominence. Brands and businesses registered in the appropriate online review sites have an edge over those that lack that many submissions. So how to improve your local search ranking by using online reviews?

Initial Steps

Once you get your business on Google, by creating or claiming a listing, you are giving a fresh start to a climbing local search performance. Same applies for any other local business directory that emphasizes reviews and ratings. Yelp, Yell, TripAdvisor, even Facebook are good examples. They can add up to your business and yet they cannot replace the importance of your Google my Business account. As a rule of thumb, you must look for relevant reviews sites. Once you submit your business in the biggest places, make sure you also have presence on industry-specific sites. For instance, if you are focusing on car dealing, you’d definitely need to create a listing in Cars.com.

Provide Consistent and Updated Information

While NAP (name, address, phone number) is supposed to be the fundamental of your identity for local search results, not all organizations are doing it right. 37 percent of companies in the USA alone have at least one incorrect or missing name on their listings.

Adding Reviews Is a Dynamic Approach

As we all know it, Google loves fresh content. Add up relevancy to that and here go – a review of several hundred words equals almost as much as a new service page on your website. Furthermore, reviews boost the overall conversion rate. But how to incorporate reviews without making the whole process a menial task? Simple – use a widget. Some review sites offer their own badges and widgets. That way, the latest reviews on their websites will show up on yours. WordPress plugins work wonders too. Almost all plugins that contain “review” in their name have this options – to collect and display reviews on your pages.

Don’t Dismiss Social Media Signals

The impact of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram shouldn’t be ignored. Moreover, prospects are more likely to believe the information that comes from reviews than the results from organic search.

Research Your Competition

You can have a better look at the sentiment of your potential customer by observing the reviews posted by your competitors. Even more, you can help yourself with a keyword research for your new SEO campaign. Your rankings will climbing after switching to more relevant keywords.

Interact with Reviewers

Businesses that actually respond to the comments of their prospects and clients have a better exposure to the search engines. Basically, you’ll be creating new content. The safest practice is to keep the good tone and not engage the public with controversy.

Be Proactive and Generate Reviews

You can use Facebook campaigns and surveys to raise awareness and generate feedback. You will achieve a better CTR, crawl frequency, and diverse topics. Remember, fake five-star reviews are easily caught by the search engine. Also, don’t violate the policy of some websites, where generating reviews is not allowed.

In a Nutshell

Content is king and your audience is the queen, as it was suggested by 411Locals many times over. That’s why you need to analyze what your customers are searching for, what they think of you, and how you can earn their trust. By generating reviews, you will know more about those factors and boost your rankings in the process.