Perhaps greatest way that you can help your favorite small business is by reviewing. Reviews in Local SEO During COVID-19 are more critical than ever.
Most of us know this by now, but reviews are the lifeblood of local businesses. Amazon started this trend, completely revolutionized the marketplace and transforming what used to be a conversation between neighbors about your experience at a local salon or restaurant into a powerhouse that helps some businesses triumph and wrecks others.
Just in case you’re unfamiliar, here’s how your reviews help your favorite small businesses:
First, you have a local business you like, you’re a repeat customer, you have great experiences using their services, review them! If you’re like me, though, I’m only thinking about the next 7 things I have to do, and I overlook this small step.
But even those of us that DO review businesses, it’s where most people stop (and where I’m going to show you how to make a huge difference today!).
Most customers stop at Google or maybe Yelp. Whatever their favorite platform is, that’s where they leave a review. But did you know that there are dozens of profiles and platforms on which you can review a business? There are five or six that are critically important, and the rest are just icing on the cake.
Google – The King of Reviews and Local SEO
Easy Steps You Can Take To Enhance Your Local Business Reviews
Your Customer Experience (and the connection to SEO)
Next, take pictures of your experience. You may not realize it, but when each of us checks reviews, we’re projecting what our customer experience will be in this establishment by reading what YOUR experience was like. When you take pictures, that tells me a more detailed story of what my experience might be like.
So take pictures, LOTS of them. If it’s your favorite dish, take a picture. If you love sipping coffee on the deck, take a picture. Uploading these pictures to Google helps Google understand the business better, and improves the experience of new people coming to the business.
Take it to the Next Level by connecting Google & Social
The Top Local Review Sites for Local SEO Boosts
Yelp is a powerful platform for local businesses, particularly small brick and mortar businesses like restaurants, salons and general shopping.
I can tell you as an SEO expert that Yelp has value for any small business as an SEO boost, but I don’t have data that shows that a plumber in Dallas is going to get the same value as a Tex-Mex restaurant in Dallas. That has to do with the branding. Yelp started out as a restaurant review service (at least in perception), so that still has weight.
Angie’s List for contractors
Better Business Bureau
Thumbtack for contractors
TripAdvisor for restaurants and travel
These sites allow reviews, and have serious weight they add to your favorite business and its online reputation management.
Review Local Businesses on Facebook
Next, review them on Facebook.
Why separate Facebook from these other review sites? Because Facbeook does not behave the same SEO weight for their reviews. Yelp, Angie’s List and these other sites are recognized by Google search algorithm, and that’s beneficial towards the SEO status of the website, which is a side benefit to the business itself when you review there.
Facebook doesn’t want to benefit Google in any way, so they code their site in such a way that the reviews won’t help rankings.
That said, Facebook has its own value because of its platform. People go to Facebook to see the reviews about the business or service, and check out the business page, so it’s a direct effect there within the Facebook ecosystem.
You can also upload photos here, but while they do have value within Facebook, they don’t have the same effect in the SEO universe as Google My Business picture uploads.
Blog About Your Experience
If you have a website that has a Blog, you can do a powerful service to the business by simply jotting down a couple hundred words about your experience along with a few pictures. Huge bonus for a quick video. Link to the website, their Google My Business page, to specific services or products you enjoy within your blog post, and that’s really helpful.
All of this takes less than an hour, and it has huge impact for a small business. Especially now with the covid-19, small businesses like local restaurants and salons need any help they can get.
Tell Your Review Story on Instagram and Facebook
The next thing you can do to help small businesses might be a little bit more uncomfortable for those who are less social media savvy, but tell a story on Instagram (you can do this on Facebook, too).
Particularly if the business has an Instagram account, you can tag the business in that account and then tell the story. After a while, when you do this consistently, you will develop relationships with different people that will be relevant to that discussion.
For instance, if you went to your favorite restaurant, and you were you met there with your real estate agent when you bought your house, you could tag your real estate agent in the business and you help both of them out.
Businesses get great value from social mentions (not as much as reviews, but value nonetheless), so just doing a small activity on social platforms and review platforms that you would do anyway, ends up helping out of small business at the tremendous amount. It’s a function they literally cannot do for themselves.
COVID-19 has dramatically affected all businesses, but local mom and pops have taken it the hardest. We all have the ability to pitch in and do some small tasks that have great value for our favorite businesses. Let’s get started!