You’ve probably seen the Google Places local results – it’s typically a list of 7 local results related to your search. They’ll have the reverse teardrop map icon, the company name, address, phone number and a link to their website. Here’s an example:

google_reviews

[Click to enlarge]
This is a listing of one of our clients – Granite Peak Landscaping didn’t show up in these results before our local SEO efforts.

Any reviews related to that business is also shown here and you can click to read those reviews.

As you might expect, these reviews are huge social proof for any business! Tons of people might end up seeing them and are therefore very valuable.

But do the reviews help your site get listed higher in these results, or even in the larger scope of overall organic listings?

That’s something that we don’t know for sure. Many people say that the reviews don’t matter. However, I think it plays a role. Like many things in SEO, there’s not one single factor, but the number of reviews and their rating has to have somewhat of an effect.

Either way, you still want as many good, legitimate reviews as you can get. I say “legitimate” because many have succumbed to the temptation of the dark path – that is writing their own fake reviews.

You might be also to slip by Google, but the risk just isn’t worth the reward. You could get your site blacklisted, but at the very least you could lose all your other reviews or risk a dip in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages – just a fancy way of saying search rankings).

Here’s a story of someone who spammed their reviews and had a big backlash by the SEO community. They were outed and the company’s Google+ Place page was marked as spam.

Er, yeah.

So we HIGHLY recommend going with the light side of the force here. That means asking people for a review. I’m sure you have several quality clients that you have a great relationship with – some people that love you and would have no problem writing a real review. Just ask them!

Also you post on social networks for people to leave a review. Twitter, Facebook, especially LinkedIn would be great places to solicit reviews. LinkdIn is great because it’s mostly people you know or have done business with – it’s less random and the odds are much better that they’ll leave you a postive review. You could also have an in-store sign asking people to leave a review, complete with a QR code that takes you right to your Google Plus page.

Of course, there’s a chance that someone could leave a negative review, but that could happen anytime anyway. Think on the bright side, and deal with any negatives that might come up as efficiently as you can.

So, to review – reviews are great. Get as many positive ones as you can and your local SEO will do smashingly! Good luck!

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If you need help with your local SEO, get in touch with us – it’s one of our specialities.

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