Reviews are the word-of-mouth referrals of the future. It’s a well known fact that most consumers read online reviews, but local business reviews reviews tend to be even more important. According to BrightLocal’s 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey:
- 74% of consumers admit that positive reviews affect how much they trust a local business
- 84% of people say they trust online reviews as much as any word-of-mouth recommendation
- 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before they decide how they feel about a local business.
Clearly, reviews can have a major impact on a local business’s success, simply by existing. So how do you get people to review your local business, and where can you get those reviews?
Well, the how is relatively easy. Just make sure you’re asking your clients if they wouldn’t mind submitting a review after you’ve completed a service. You can do this as they leave your office, you can send them a polite follow-up email that includes a link to the review site of your choice, and a very nice thank you. But where do you ask them to review?
It’s actually easier than you’d think! Since so many people recognize the power of the online review, there are local business review sites popping up every day. Still, there are those that are more popular than others, and those are the ones you’ll want to get your business up on first. Here’s 14 of the absolute best sites for local business reviews:
It should come as no surprise that Google is at the top of our list for local business reviews. The fact is that most people go to Google to do any kind of online search, and even if they click through to Yelp or Angie’s List, the Google reviews and stars are going to pop up first. So, it’s important that your business have a presence on Google’s business pages. This presence allows people to leave reviews that other potential clients will see, it alerts Google that you’re actually a business, and it helps you boost your SEO rankings. Google has a lot of power over your online popularity, so their business listings are the ones you should hit first.
Not only will your Google Business page show up when people search your local business, but these pages, and the reviews linked to your business are all synthesized into Google Maps as well. Without a Google Business page, you won’t show up when someone searches “ice cream near me” in your town.
#2 Angie’s List
Angie’s List is one of the original local business review sites, and because of that it’s very well trusted. Angie’s List is a good one to take notice of, because customers have to subscribe to the site before they can look at, or leave reviews. Since they gate the site this way, the reviews tend to be more relevant. Basically, you don’t get as many of those off-the-wall rant reviews. Additionally, Angie’s List allows business owners to resolve customer complaints through their dispute resolution services, which goes a long way for your positive image, in the event that you do get a bad review.
If you’re not on Facebook, you’re missing out. At this point, Facebook has nearly 1.8 billion active users, and they have incredibly intuitive demographic targeting algorithms. If people don’t look you up on Google first, then they’re definitely checking you out on Facebook. Additionally, when you allow ratings and reviews on your Facebook local business page, then every time someone likes or shares your page, new potential customers will see the stars and your reviews. Not only is Facebook ratings and reviews a way to generate those great recommendations, but it’s a way to broaden your online presence and reach more potential customers.
The Better Business Bureau is a well trusted, fairly unbiased site to list your business on. They’re a non-profit that lists just about every type of local business you can think of, and ranks them against their own qualifications of how businesses should treat the public. They won’t recommend or shoot down any businesses, they simply list basic information like name and address, and a profile of the company, and then state whether the business has met the BBB accreditations standards.
The BBB will list any formal complaints made against the business, as well as how they were resolved. A BBB profile also includes customer reviews and the BBB’s rating of the business on an A-F scale. The BBB is about as close to official as you can get with online reviews, so make sure your local business has a presence here. Once you are accredited by the BBB, you can promote that on your own website to build credibility.
Though Yelp has undergone some controversy recently, it’s still a good site to be reviewed on, as it has a seriously huge following. The controversy swirls around Yelp’s somewhat sketchy practice of pushing down negative reviews for businesses that pay them. While this is a concern, it’s important to note that a lot of people still look to Yelp just to find many local businesses, and regular Yelp readers know to take one bad listing with a grain of salt. Additionally, when you have your business listed on Yelp, you’re more likely to rocket to the top of search results pages. Yelp is a major company that holds a lot of clout for online listings, so a presence on Yelp means greater visibility on Google.
Foursquare is a great resource for those local businesses with a physical storefront. Though it started out as a sort of social media site, letting people “check-in” at various locations, it’s now adapted to the greater user need for mobile search functionality. Foursquare now collects reviews, and shows searchers those reviews, along with business hours and contact information for businesses within a certain radius of their location. The goal of Foursquare is still to get people to move around the city using their app, reviews are secondary, but it’s a great tool if you’re looking for more foot traffic.
#7 Home Advisor
If you provide any kind of home improvement services, you’ll want to be listed on Home Advisor. Right up there with Angie’s List, Home Advisor has millions of visitors, and the bonus for you is that they’re all looking for the services you provide. Home Advisor is geared more toward the residential customer looking for roof repair, plumbing help, or HVAC services, which means you won’t see a lot of commercial business here, but you will get a lot of people in your area looking for a home improvement professional like you! If you opt to give Home Advisor a little money, they’ll boost your listing similar to the way Google AdWords functions. This is one of the ultimate review sites for home improvement professionals.
Another review site ideal for home improvement pros, Houzz functions a lot like Pinterest, but for home improvement and home building ideas. Business owners like you can create a profile for free, that showcases your recent projects and specialties, and then past clients can leave the glowing reviews you deserve. Houzz also offers the opportunity for you to interact with Houzz customers. You can answer their questions and offer expert advice, and by proving your authority and engaging with members of the Houzz community, you’re likely to see a lot more website traffic and qualified leads.
TripAdvisor is great for any local businesses in the tourism/entertainment industry. Whether you’ve got a B&B, a local restaurant, or you rent out kayaks, TripAdvisor provides recommendations for travelers visiting your city. Before making a trip, or committing to a hotel, most consumers will check the ratings of nearby restaurants and places to stay on TripAdvisor. It is the most popular travel review site out there right now, and if your business fits the bill, you need to have a listing here. TripAdvisor ranks its results using a unique algorithm that takes into account the amount of reviews you get, the quality of the reviews, as well as how recently they reviewed your local business. To get the most out of your TripAdvisor listing, you’ll want to make sure that you’re encouraging clients to review you as often as you can.
Previously known as Urbanspoon, Zomato is a review site exclusively for restaurants. It’s another extremely popular review site that allows customer reviews, and ranks results based on ratings as well as proximity. Zomato is useful for local restaurant owners, because an account on Zomato allows you to see visitor analytics, and you can offer guests specials just through the site.
OpenTable is another site dedicated to restaurants, but it’s a really really good one. Not only does it list customer reviews and ratings, but it helps you generate new customers. OpenTable allows site visitors to make reservations online for busy and upscale restaurants, making it easy for them to come visit you, and easy for you to draw in new business. The startup process is a little more involved than simply claiming your listing online, but for the benefits of reaching a larger audience, OpenTable is usually worth it.
#12 Bing Places
We know, they’re not Google, but Bing does still account for a very large number of search traffic. Bing Places works just like Google My Business, you simply have to claim your listing, verify the information, and you’re pretty much good to go. To boost your presence, add some pictures and work to interact with customers. Bing brings up results based on your proximity to the person searching, your relevance to their request, and the ratings of your Bing Place listing.
Yahoo! actually does matter. A surprising 10% of search engine traffic still use Yahoo!, making it a great resource for your local business reviews. It also functions just like Google My Business reviews, allowing customers to rate their experience on a five star scale. Just having your business listed, and claiming the listing will encourage regular Yahoo! users to review your business, and it will make sure your location is still present for those searching on Yahoo!
#14 Your own website!
Finally, it’s important to note that one of the absolute best places to have reviews of your local business is on your own website. It’s the only platform you have complete control over, and it’s a fabulous way to showcase all of the great things people are saying about you. Just ask previous clients for reviews of their experience with you, and then post those great comments on a testimonial section of your website. Most consumers are likely to check out a business’ website before they commit to calling them or walking in the door, so if you have a lot of positive reviews located where new site visitors can easily see them, you’ll go a long way in increasing your qualified leads.
While these are our 14 favorite review sites for local businesses, there are a multitude of other options still out there! So once you’ve got your listings taken care of on all these platforms, don’t be afraid to branch out to more. And since we know that claiming listings on this many sites might be a bit overwhelming, feel free to check out our handy blog on how to get your local listings in shape. This will help you make sure you don’t forget any important steps, like adding pictures or ensuring standard NAP throughout each of your listings.
If you have any questions about claiming your local listings across multiple platforms, or you’re interested in boosting your local business’ SEO opportunities, don’t hesitate to get in touch with HA Digital Marketing. We’re here to answer digital marketing concern you have, whether it’s about website design or SEO best practices. For more information on boosting your local business’ website, check out our Local SEO Checklist for home service providers and other local business owners below: