What are local reviews and why are they important?

If you haven’t already jumped onto the online reviews bandwagon, then this is something that you urgently need to do. Online reviews are an important way through which you can build trust and visibility for your brand. Considering the fact that 90% of people will consult them before making a purchase, getting reviews is something on which you should seriously work. The thing to note, however, is that not all businesses are the same, as far as reviews are concerned. So, what are local reviews and how do you get them?

What are local businesses?

The first step on the way to dissecting local reviews and their importance to businesses lies in identifying local businesses. A local business is one that operates within a constrained geographic space. Think a restaurant or a bar.

How many people are going to travel across the country just to visit a restaurant in one particular city or the other? The answer is, very few. And how many plumbers are going to be able to ply their trade across the entire country?

Some businesses are clearly localized in nature. If you take the example of a restaurant, such an establishment can only expect to get customers from a limited range around its premised. This can be anything from 0 to 3 miles.

On the other side, there are businesses whose operations are countrywide or even global. An example of this is Amazon.

What are local reviews?

Local reviews are those that are left by people with regard to local businesses. A person may, as an example, go to Yelp or Facebook to review their local restaurant or their local bar. They may even go there to leave feedback about their local electrician.

Why are Local Reviews Important?

The importance of local reviews lies in the fact that they allow businesses to be found by people that really matter to their existence. There are a couple of other reasons why local reviews are of particular importance;

  1. Local Reviews are important for local SEO

Online reviews are one of the most important factors. If you wish to rank high, therefore, its important for you to make sure that your business gets reviewed on all the important platforms.

  1. Local Reviews serve as a beacon of trust

The (positive) reviews that are left by your customers allow you to build the kind of brand image that is needed in order to boost your business. If you think we are exaggerating, just consider the fact that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do the feedback that they get from their friends and family.

This makes reviews very important. Knowing that others have already sampled a particular product or service, and have found it satisfactory, gives people the final impetus that they need to make a purchase.

  1. They allow you to get star rating extensions

Another reason why local reviews are important is the fact that they allow you get star ratings in your Google Ads and in Google PLAs. Star ratings come in the form of seller and product ratings, and they are a useful way through which you can increase your visibility in Search. That is particularly the case for those that reach out to their customers through Google Ads.

If you would like to know how you can get star ratings in both Google organic and in Google Ads, feel free to consult the page in the provided link.

  1. Local Business Listings

So, what are some of the places where you can list your local business? Let’s assume, as an example, that you are a plumber operating in a small town somewhere. The most important local listings for your business are going to be;

  • Google My Business: The great thing about Google My Business is that it’s a one stop shop, allowing you to get reviews across a wide spectrum of Google products, including Search and Maps. In order to get your business listed on Google My Business, all that you need to do is create a listing or claim one. The good news, particular for businesses such as our carpentry example, is that getting listed on the platform comes absolutely free of charge. Yet the benefits, once you have verified your business, are immense. A listing on Google My Business, for one thing, allow you to appear in local search for local queries.
  • Yelp: Yelp is another well known platform as far as local business listings are concerned. The thing that makes Yelp so important is that it is used by so many people. Odds are high that your customers already have a presence on the platform, and all that you need to do is reach out to them in order to get them to leave reviews. Like Google My Business, Yelp allows you to claim you page free of charge.
  • Trip Advisor: If you run a local travel agency, then Trip Advisor is another platform on which you need to list for local SEO. Like all of the above platforms, Trip Advisor’s strength lies in the fact that it is used by millions of people across the globe on a monthly basis, making it the must be place for those that are looking for greater local online visibility.
  • Facebook: Most people are not even aware of the fact that Facebook is actually the biggest platform as far as gathering online feedback is concerned. What you need to do in this regard is make sure that you have created a Facebook Page for your business. As is the case with Yelp, Google and Trip Advisor, you can create a Facebook Page free of charge. Once you have done this, the next thing that you need to do is enable reviews or recommendations on your Facebook Page. Doing this allows people to leave feedback on your page. It also allows Facebook to display your overall rating on your page. As Facebook notes, enabling reviews gives you greater visibility on Facebook Search, which is important as far as local SEO is concerned.
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