Did you know that online reviews can influence over 65 percent of purchase decisions?

Business review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List play a huge role in your overall company success. They can help you build a powerful reputation and give backing to your current marketing efforts.

They can even influence your SEO campaigns.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is your solution when it comes to effective digital marketing.

No matter what type of SEO campaign you implement, it’s essential to take advantage of review sites so that your campaign can give you the results you deserve.

In this post, we’ll talk about how you can use these review sites to your greatest advantage!

1. Gather Local Citations

The first place to start when leveraging business review sites for SEO is the sites themselves.

It’s essential to gather local citations on as many review sites as possible. This is because a lot of customers pay attention to businesses who have a diverse range of reviews across a variety of portals.

This signals a wider reach in general. Many customers will associate this quality with more authoritative companies.

What’s more, Google gives priority to businesses that have a wide digital reach. It is more likely to assign higher rankings to companies that are visible and active on multiple platforms because this signals authority.

Start by claiming a Google My Business listing. This is free for all businesses and essential if you want to leverage your SEO efforts and get on Google Maps.

Once you register for Google My Business, make sure that you claim a spot on Google Maps itself. Also ensure that you include all relevant information, including name, address, phone number (NAP), website, and hours of operation.

Make sure you also upload a clear and relevant image of your website.

You can manage this listing whenever you wish. Always update information the moment anything changes, especially if you are changing hours of operation during holidays or moving to a new address.

Google My Business will enable your customers to review your product or services online easily, which is why this is the most important local citation.

Once you’ve claimed a Google listing, it’s time to gather other local citations. A lot of businesses register profiles on the heavy hitter business review sites, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Angie’s List.

But don’t forget about other review portals. Bing Places is a lot like Google My Business. Facebook also enables reviews.

Other portals to investigate are Glassdoor, Foursquare, Epinions, Manta, OpenTable, and Yellow Pages.

Above all, keep your contact information consistent across all of these platforms. Inconsistencies can directly impact your conversion rates, SEO campaigns, and Google ranking.

2. Build a Social Media Platform

Social media can be a powerful tool when it comes to maximizing business review sites. It’s an ideal channel for any SEO campaign.

In fact, a solid social media platform can grant you higher Google authority. After all, a business will appear more credible if it is regularly active on multiple digital platforms.

Facebook also enables customers to review businesses that have profiles on its platform, so it’s essential to have a business profile on Facebook.

Build a social media platform that includes profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Some businesses are even exploring SnapChat as a means of engaging with customers.

Make sure that the information you include on your social media profiles is consistent with what you present on business review sites. Additionally, don’t skimp on your profiles.

Fill them out as much as possible and include clear, relevant photos of your business. Whenever you do post something, make sure that it’s optimized for a specific keyword.

3. Encourage Reviews From Your Customers

Now that you have a foundation for receiving reviews, it’s time to encourage customer response.

It is possible to acquire reviews from random customers who feel so inclined. There are consumers who actively rate and review services on review sites out of personal interest.

But other consumers are content just reading others’ reviews without leaving their own.

It’s important to pursue positive reviews actively. There are several ways that you can do this.

Launch a social media campaign with the sole goal of acquiring reviews. Give customers incentives for leaving a review, such as a discount or a free download.

Generate posts that directly ask for customer feedback, as in the following:

We’ve been loving meeting all of our new customers here in Los Angeles. Help us spread the word by giving us feedback on our awesome vegan gyros!

If you engage with local customers on a regular basis, ask them personally to review your product or service. Write a business review site on the back of a business card, for example.

4. Be Active on Business Review Sites

Once you do receive reviews from solicited customers, don’t just glance at them and move on. It’s important to be active on business review sites at all times.

Respond to both positive and negative reviews of your business on review sites. Make sure you are brief in your responses but that you address every customer’s feelings appropriately.

It is possible to hide or bury a negative review simply by responding to it, too. However, the best way to shift focus from negative to positive reviews is by acquiring more positive reviews.

You can do this by responding directly to people who do leave 5-star reviews. You may ask them to kindly share their thoughts on other review sites, for example, or on Facebook.

It may be tempting to cheat the system here by posting fake reviews. Above all, avoid this practice, as Google’s web crawlers have become skilled at parsing these.

In fact, false information can directly compromise any SEO strategy you have in place. This is because Google favors sites that provide valuable, authoritative content.

Show your commitment to Google by being active and transparent on business review sites, and note the positive impact on your rankings.

5. Leverage Local SEO Efforts

Local Search Engine Optimization is your key to making the most of business review sites. It’s still SEO, but its aim is to take advantage of local business searches.

Think about the last time you were searching for a business or product near you. If you used Google, what did you search for?

You may have typed “ice cream shop in Vegas” for example, or “print services near me.” Note how both of these sample keywords involve geographic location.

Google responds to these searches by bringing up Google My Business listings, if applicable. It may also respond with a screenshot of Google Maps with red pins identifying relevant services.

(See why Google My Business is so important?)

Other business review sites may pop up, too, in addition to your website or other platforms.

The link here is obvious and essential. Local SEO can get you noticed by more local customers.

But it can also open the doors to business review sites.

It’s critical to have a well-optimized website at all time. Make sure that your site is also optimized for local SEO searches.

Social media is another great tool for implementing local SEO, especially when posting on your business profile. Make sure you optimize certain posts for local searches.

6. Hone Your Website Content

Business review sites can influence purchase decisions, to be sure. But they can also inadvertently bring customers to your website.

Customers may go to your website after reading a positive (or negative) review in order to gather more information. They may also access your social media profiles or other accounts to learn more.

No matter where you are at with your marketing efforts, don’t let your website content fall behind.

In fact, a solid SEO campaign depends upon content that plays by Google’s rules. This content has to be valuable to users in some way. It also has to be professional, concise, and well-written.

Spend some time seriously honing your website content with your user in mind. Identify what information your users may want from you, and make it accessible and easy to read.

Make sure that your website is easy to navigate and that every page is distinct.

Google also favors sites that have responsive design. This means that your content will visually shift to accommodate users’ screens. Many users conduct local searches on mobile devices, after all.

A convincing website can take a customer to conversion in no time, even if he/she reads a negative review.

7. Include Reviews On Your Website

Make the most of those positive reviews by showing them off on your website. Create a “Customer Testimonials” or “Case Studies” tab on your menu.

Incorporate recent and relevant reviews that you’ve acquired through business review sites. If possible, include testimonials that are more specific than general.

Choose reviews that explain why the experience of your service or product was positive. While it’s all right to showcase your best reviews, try to show off a diverse range of them.

In general, aim to include five to ten reviews on your website. On the same page, make sure you include links to other review sites for customers interested in reading more.

8. Analyze and Share Reviews

The reviews you do receive from customers are valuable marketing tools in and of themselves.

The information they provide can give you insight into specific product performance. It can help you tailor your service to better meet your clients’ needs.

It can also help you focus your SEO efforts in the right direction.

Make sure that you review all reviews that you receive, and view each one as a data point.

Namely, pay attention to the keywords that reviewers use in their comments. The language your customers use when referring to your company, product, or service can give you insight into trending search engine keywords.

For example, let’s say a reviewer rates your tea and spice shop in this way: Wow, I really loved the spice selection at this store. I was able to stock up on all the essential cooking spices and even bring home a beautiful mortar and pestle!

Some notable keywords from this review are “essential cooking spices” and “mortar and pestle.” You could use these keywords when optimizing online content, especially if they appeared in multiple reviews.

You could also respond to this review and use those keywords themselves, as in this example: We are so glad that you had such a positive experience at our store. We love helping our clients find what they need when it comes to essential cooking spices and tools!

Lastly, don’t be shy about spreading the word when you receive a positive review. Share reviews on social media and thank the reviewer for the positive response.

This can encourage further customer reviews, too, in addition to boosting your online reputation.

9. Research, Adapt, and Track

The key to making the most of your SEO strategies and business citations is to manage them actively.

SEO is a constantly changing field. A keyword that’s popular today may lose steam tomorrow. Plus, consumers change daily when it comes to purchasing preferences and interests.

Business review sites are always changing, too. You could have a powerful reputation on Yelp but a negative one on Yellow Pages, for example.

In order to stay on top of trends and to maintain high Google rankings, consistently rack your performance. You can use tools like Google Analytics to assess SEO campaign performance.

Google even has a Keyword Planner that can help you identify trending phrases.

Keep researching those online reviews for keywords and adapt your strategies accordingly.

Harnessing the Potential of Business Review Sites

It’s critical for any business to take advantage of all review portals have to offer. These sites are especially important when it comes to SEO efforts.

Leverage any SEO campaign by gathering multiple citations on different review sites, especially Google My Business. Build a solid social media foundation and actively encourage reviews from customers.

Don’t forget about the power of local SEO, either. Respond to all reviews you receive and promote these reviews on social media and your website itself.

All in all, you can take your SEO to the next level by consulting professionals. At Top Spot, we love helping all of our clients achieve the top Google spot.

If you’re ready to transform your digital visibility, start here!