Local directories are extremely important, especially for any local business, where they often take up a majority of the first page of Google branded searches.
This is because they carry such weight in search engines - directories can often be the deciding factor when someone searches for your business online.
For example, we had a client who came to us with one simple question: why do we perform so poorly in organic search?
We did a basic search for the client and found the problem in 0.083 seconds. Their business was set up properly in Google Places, but they'd overlooked their reviews.
They had one review for one star. That was it.
This type of oversight can have huge consequences - you need to make sure that your business is not only set up properly in search directories but that your reviews are managed properly as well. In the beginning, work as hard as you can to get at least five reviews on places like Yelp, Google, Facebook, and Yellow Pages, it can make an enormous difference.
For this and many other reasons, we recently named search directory management one of the 5 best ways to promote your local business, see the full video below.
If you're looking for a "do it for me" option, I'd definitely recommend SweetIQ (I am not affiliated with them, it's just a great product). SweetIq is great for a few reasons - you not only manage/update your locations from a central dashboard but also handle reviews, killing two birds with one stone. Their customer service team is extremely knowledgeable and makes sure you're completely comfortable with their platform.
But, how do I ask for reviews?
There's a trick to this, and again, it's simple.
When I tell people to solicit reviews, they often come back to me and say, "Justin, I asked, but no one is reviewing my business - what am I doing wrong?"
The answer, nine times out of ten, is that you're not making it as easy as possible for your past clients to review your business.
First, only ask your best, most loyal customers for reviews off the bat. Focus on getting your first five reviews from them. Make a list of targets, and kindly ask them to review your business.
Second - and this is crucial - provide them with the link to your review page.
Don't trust people to search for your business on a platform at a later time - they won't. It's not because they don't like you or your business, but they'll forget, or they'll get distracted with one of the billion amazing things in front of them on the internet.
Go to your Yelp, Yellow Pages, Facebook or Google Places page, click "write a review", and copy that link (see image above). Provide this in an email, or a message, to anyone you want to review your business and ask for a review. Your number of reviews will skyrocket, guaranteed.
How do I respond to negative reviews?
Negative reviews are one of the most challenging aspects when it comes to managing your online presence.
There are a few things you should definitely do when a negative review comes in:
- Move the conversation into a private chat, immediately
- Admit wrongdoing
- Work as hard as possible to resolve the situation
If you do this, you'll put yourself in the best position for success, and to have the user remove their bad review.
For those interested, here's a deeper dive into responding to bad reviews.
This post originally appeared on Cave Social.