Local reviews alone will not affect your local search results, but you can expect a lack of reviews to break your local search rankings. What we mean is that you can’t go and gather hundreds of reviews and expect the results to skyrocket you in the SERPs, but they are absolutely essential as a part of local search SEO.
With that being said, you need to make sure you have your foundation laid. Have you optimized your Google Places on-page SEO? Make sure that you fill everything out. This includes your five videos, the hours of operation, description categories of what you do, and the five photo opportunities. It is equally important to have your images and videos optimized with your keywords and descriptions. Don’t forget to optimize the Google Maps listing along with it!
“None of My Competition has Reviews. Why Should I Bother?”
It is exactly that attitude that will get keep you in the exact same place that you are at while your competitors start to surpass you in the Google 7-pack. For those of you unfamiliar with the term Google 7-pack, that is the prime real estate for local search.
Local search has become an extremely important component to brick and mortar business’ digital marketing tactics. A recent study suggests that over 1.3 billion local searches are performed each and every month and 83% of all search engine users are searching locally in some capacity. Additionally, 33% of all mobile phones are used to search for local businesses.
As you can see local search is growing exponentially. It has now far surpassed local print search resources such as the Yellow Pages. And those using local search are different than generic search traffic. These users are converting into sales at a much higher rate upwards of 83%. But, they convert in widely diversified ways such as in person sales, phone calls, store visits etc.
Local Search SEO is now more important than ever. Google now list 7 local all above all other search results when local aspect are needed. Getting in the top 7 in the local search for particular categories has shown to create huge spikes in sales. There a many factors that go into ranking high locally. Companies must create, maintain and optimize their local pages across several different resources to ensure they are getting the most possible local traffic. First submit your website to multiple local page directories. You can start with the sites below:
Next, make sure all info on your pages in filled in; even hours of operation, price range, pictures and video. These all play a factor in local search results. Also, make sure that your title and description include your niche and not just your name. Most people will be searching for ‘pizza’ not ‘Papa Giorgio’s Pie Shack.” Include both and you will kill two birds with one stone. Include picture of your products so that users can see what they are going to get when they arrive. Most of today’s searchers are visual deciders. Meaning that if they see something they want, they will more likely to buy it than if they just read a description of it.
Lastly, structure some sort of marketing initiative to gain reviews to your local page. Google puts credibility very high on its search ranking factors. The more reviews you can get from your customers the higher you will show up in local searches. Email your loyal customer a link to your local page and ask them to give you some feedback. The process takes only about 2 minutes and is not that much to ask from your dedicated fans.
This is a great place to start for your local optimization efforts. Obviously in more saturated and competitive local search markets it is going to take a more concerted effort to get to the top 7 in the results. But, when you get there you will see increasing numbers of the high converting, low hanging fruit that are local searchers.