As an online user, you are aware of reviews and have probably searched for them, read them and written a few of your own. As a business, the importance of reviews cannot be overlooked. 52% of consumers are more likely to use a local business if they have positive reviews (a key finding in this year’s Local Consumer Review, by Search Engine Land). Online customer reviews will help you the most at Yelp and Google, currently the leaders among local listing sites. Also in the top ten are Yahoo! Local, Citysearch, Merchant Circle, Insider Pages and Angie’s List.
Google + Local is the spot for local business. Your listing here will show up on Google Maps and its search results, along with reviews posted by Google users. Last month, Google started migrating Google Places listings to Google + Local, which uses Zagat summaries of user reviews to assign a score to local businesses.
In the past month, Yelp allied with Microsoft and Apple and will take its social content to Bing search results and to Siri, the voice-activated iPhone personal assistant, often used for casual mobile search. Yelp reviews are generally trusted; early on the company implemented an algorithm to identify fake reviews and keep them to a minimum. Yelp reviews rank well with the search engines.
Beyond this, your business products and services will determine where you need online reviews:
- Restaurants – Zagat, Yelp, Urbanspoon, Gayot, Dine.com, Fodor’s
- Travel – TripAdvisor, BookIt, IgoUgo, Travel.Yahoo, Frommer’s, VirtualTourist
- Product Reviews – Epinions, CNET, Buzzillions
How are you integrating online reviews into your strategy?