How Reviews and Reputation Affect Local SEO

By | August 28, 2019

Hello, this is John Locke, and today i want to talk with you about reputation, reviews, and how those things affect your SEO. The first thing that I want to look at today is your reviews. Now it’s common knowledge that reviews do have an effect on your SEO. Specifically Google reviews. If you’re in a particular industry, and there’s a site that has specific reviews about that [get reviews there too]. Say if you’re a doctor, it would be Health Grades. If you’re a lawyer, it would be Avvo. If you’re a real estate agent, it would be Zillow. You kind of get the idea. But Google reviews and industry specific reviews do have an effect [on SEO]. I want to stress this point a lot: when it comes to local SEO, Yelp is actually very important. Google really does look at Yelp reviews as well, as part of your overall online reputation. Now I’m hearing a lot of you out there saying that you don’t want to deal with Yelp, because people can say whatever they want. That’s the same on every review platform. Yelp is notorious for it, but it’s actually the same on every platform. People can say whatever they want on a Google review as well. But the idea is that you want to focus on getting reviews and being proactive about getting positive reviews — from Google, from Yelp — and then if there’s any other industry specific sites that you should be looking at, you should definitely get reviews there. You can also look at third-party sites like Facebook, Better Business Bureau, Personally, I think that some of the ones that matter a little bit more would be Better Business Bureau. Facebook — I’m not sure how much effect that really has. Yelp does have an effect on where you rank locally, and that’s for sure. Because there’s a direct correlation, no matter what sector, or category, the ones that have a lot of reviews seem to rank on the first page on Yelp and Google as well, so that’s something that you should be proactive about. Those of you out there that are running a manufacturing plant, Yelp isn’t really going to matter to you [in most cases]. They’re probably not going to approve your listing on Yelp, because there are specific categories that they look at. Manufacturing and some industrial places won’t have [those categories]. Now, if you have a showroom floor, or if you have retail space where you sell things, then that’s going to be a different story. In that case, you would probably have a Yelp listing [under Shopping]. But let’s get back to Google reviews. I want to talk about this: what I see a lot of you doing is not being proactive about Google reviews. You’ll get a one-star review, and then all of a sudden it’s a big priority to go back to all your old customers and get reviews from them, to get five-star reviews. And what happens a lot of the time is, there’s a delayed reaction. Because let’s say that your company has no reviews for three years. Then you get a one-star review. And then maybe a month later you get 10 five-star reviews. Google looks at that as suspicious behavior. Eventually, they all get added into your aggregate score. But they’re not going to just do it, that day. There’s a delayed reaction of a couple of weeks. That’s usually what I see with this [scenario]. Another thing that I noticed very recently in Google Maps is — I’m not seeing the review stars there anymore [100% of the time]. This is a new thing that I saw just in the last week. Maybe by the time this is published, it will be in the last two weeks. But that’s a new thing. Maybe they’re just trying to not influence people by showing review stars all the time. Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don’t. I think it depends. We’ll see what happens with that. But if you’re dealing with a local market, and you need to rank in your city for things, reviews are super important. You cannot skip on this. The three factors that go into local SEO are: how close your business is to the person searching, the relevance of the words that they’re typing into Google (what your business does, is that actually what they’re looking for), and then also the third part is reputation. How good is your reputation online? This brings me into the second half of this video. What I want to talk about is reputation. So it’s very possible for a business with a bad reputation to rank highly in Google.But in my experience, from what I’ve seen over watching patterns over a long period of time, is once you start to slip, and you start falling out of Page One, you don’t come back. If your reputation is tarnished — and what I mean by that is — would be people leaving bad reviews about your business, this would be people talking bad about your products or services in a way that seems legitimate to Google. It does crawl a lot of different places like Ripoff Report, product forums, maybe it’s actual reviews — but the more negative sentiment that there is around a brand, or a company — Google does actually track that. Now they’re not instantly going to de-rank a site. It takes a longer time for that negative sentiment to build up. Google does have patents on technology that tries to decipher the sentiment around a brand — whether it’s positive or negative, and then use that to filter search results. Now it doesn’t mean that they’re using it in their algorithm now, but it is something to consider. I do see a lot of companies that have a somewhat negative, or at best, neutral sentiment around their brand — that seem to rank okay. They rank pretty good, and some of them are on Page One. Some of them are high up on Page Two for certain things. But like I said, once you start falling away from number one, and you’re not taking care of things, like customer service, or providing a great product or a great service, that people just love, and talk about in a way that shows how loyal [they are] and how much they appreciate that brand — then it’s going to be hard for you to climb back up. Once you do fall, those are things that cannot be fixed by a SEO company. Those are things that cannot be fixed by better content, or link building, or making your site faster, or improving the design of your page. Those are things that can only be affected by the internal culture of the business. Meaning the business itself has to address those things, and take steps to make better customer service, and to provide a better product, and a better service, and actually care about their customers. Those are things that cannot be gamed within the system. Those are things that the organization itself has to take care of. Last thing that I want to talk about: and I’m going to come back to reviews here. Words in reviews. It seems that if you want to rank for certain things, it’s beneficial if you have people that are leaving reviews that have those words in the reviews. Or they have words that are synonyms are closely related to those words in the review itself. Let’s say that you’re trying to rank for “CNC manufacturing”. If people are leaving Google reviews of your manufacturing plant, and they specifically mention “CNC manufacturing”, that’s going to be beneficial for your local rankings. If you have a HVAC company in a certain city, and people are leaving reviews on Yelp, and Angie’s List, and Google, and they’re specifically mentioning “air conditioning”, or “heating”, or “heating and cooling”, those things are going to be beneficial to you, ranking for those specific terms. Google does look for reviews that are descriptive. You could even see this in the way that they rank reviews now. Their default view is for the most helpful reviews, meaning, [those reviews] mention things that are specific to the person that’s searching. So if you’re searching for a specific service, the reviews will mention that service [explicitly by name]. So, to sum up: your reputation is gold. Protect it at all costs. Provide a great product, or a great service. Make sure that you’re asking for reviews. One thing I want to say: with Yelp, don’t ask for the review while they’re in your shop. Give them a handout, a printed out handout, that has instructions on how to leave a Google review or a Yelp review, and maybe one additional industry specific site that you want to get reviews on. Yelp will filter out reviews that people leave while they’re in your customer lobby, or in your showroom, or at your premises. They use IP tracking [in their filtering algorithm]. That’s one of those things where they don’t want you to be influencing their review. So for Yelp, the people need to go away from your actual location to fill it out. All the rest of them — Google and things like that, [those reviews] are just going to go up there anyway. Like I said, be proactive about reviews. With your best customers, be sure that you’re soliciting reviews. There are lots of third-party systems that you can use to get reviews as well. The problem with some of them is, those reviews go away if you stop paying for the service. So whenever possible, get reviews on the native platform: like Google, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, or the industry specific platform that you’re aiming for. My name is John Locke. My business is Lockedown Design and SEO. We help manufacturing and industrial firms with their SEO. We help them get more organic traffic from Google and from Bing, and as a result, our clients end up getting more RFQs, which means more cash. If you have a SEO question that you’d like to see us answer, go ahead and leave it in the comments below. We’ll do our best to answer it out in a video for you. If you’re getting value from this channel, subscribe, and until next time, peace. [Outtakes:If you take care of your customers they’ll take care of you, just make sure you get the receipts.]

2 thoughts on “How Reviews and Reputation Affect Local SEO

  1. John Locke Post author

    Thanks for watching. If you have a SEO question, leave it in the comments below, and we'll answer it in a future video.
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  2. Jcb Painting Post author

    Another very informative video by Lockedown Seo. Good stuff John. Thx.


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