Local SEO Part Five, Online Reviews & Reputation

Our Local SEO blog series has now covered Google Places, website optimisation, paid online advertising and citations...but there's more! Online reviews are crucial to your internet marketing efforts. So this blog post goes into a little more detail on them...

75% of people read online reviews and 52% of people said online reviews have directly influenced them when choosing a location (Render Positive).

People treat their pets like a member of their family, so as a service provider of this much importance, people are going to search online to see what other people think about you. And they're going to be thorough. So your online reputation is of upmost import to your business growth.

Where do People Go to Read Online Reviews About You

This isn't true for everybody but the majority of people who hear about you or are considering you as their vet, will simply Google you to find out about you. So to start, have you Googled yourself recently? This is something we'd encourage you to do fairly often (make sure you're signed out of Google beforehand to ensure results aren't skewed) to see the first impression Google is giving people about you.

If you have been left reviews on well known review platforms, it is usual that these will be shown (alongside a star rating) within that initial Google search. This is a fairly powerful indicator to potential clients. 

Check the Competition

In the same way you've just checked out your online reputation via Google, do the same for your competitors. It is likely that your potential clients are doing just that so make sure your online reputation sings!

How Many Reviews do You Need?

Luckily, it's not at all about quantity, but about quality! Google will now read reviews and scan for sentiment as well as service, location and power users too. So having fewer, but longer and more heartfelt reviews, will be a better reflection of your business and will work better for Google search results too.

How to Build Up Reviews

Make it easy for your clients to find where to leave you reviews online. If you have a listing in Vet Help Direct make sure you are taking advantage of the free review widget for your website - this makes it incredibly straight forward for you to direct clients to the right place ("just visit our website").

This previous blog post from us has some more handy tips on building up your reviews.

How NOT to Build Up Reviews

You should never solicit reviews. This is strict rule of Google's and is not best practice.

You should never review your own business - obviously.

You should never stuff reviews full of keywords; Google will recognise them as spam owing to the context.

You should try to get reviews coming in regularly. It's a great idea to send out an email for example asking for feedback, but if that's the only way you gather reviews there will be odd spikes which will look suspicious. Email by all means but continue to gather reviews naturally too.

When it comes to online reviews we really know our stuff, having managed them since Vet Help Direct was started in 2006! So if you've any questions or want to know more about using our diretories to build up reviews, please get in touch.

Our final post in our Local SEO series covers all the 'other' bits of Local SEO and is a bit of summary of the whole series too, so don't miss it!