This guide will go over what Reviews.io local reviews are, where they can be written and collected, and fundamentally why local reviews are so important for your business, and how you can utilise them.
What are local reviews?
Reviews.io is a review platform that offers our review solution to businesses in order for them to collect, manage and publish all their user-generated content. Not only that, we operate as a review site for individuals wishing to leave their genuine feedback for any company they have used.
There are multiple other review sites online, you may have even used one yourself, such as Yelp, containing a vast database of companies and their customer's experiences and thoughts. If you were to search for a business on these review sites, you would also find a boundless list of businesses - including eCommerce - within your local area.
Local doesn't necessarily mean the business itself is small, for instance Domino's is huge, but everybody will have one in their city, or will have at least visited the chain somewhere across the globe. Therefore, reviews which are left for that business are being left locally by individuals, on review sites of their choice.
For example: I go online to order food from Domino's, or I pop into a Domino's near me. Ordering online or in-store is a breeze, and perhaps the service I received from the staff or delivery driver was exceptional. I decide to leave a review for Domino's. I go online to review site A and leave Domino's a company review. Twenty-four other people do the same thing as me, with 4 using review site A, 15 review site B, and the last 5 review site C. Domino's now has 25 new reviews online across 3 different review sites.
At Reviews.io, reviews such as these are known as local reviews; Company reviews for your business which are dispersed on review sites across the web. Anyone can write one, anywhere online.
Here's a quick video overview of Local Review collection and how Local Reviews contribute to your overall online reputation.
On what review sites can local reviews be left?
There are many review sites online, with some more widely known and used than others. Reviews.io focusses on the fundamental places that individuals leave local reviews, which businesses should monitor and manage to secure their review outlook.
We'll start with the most influential and work our way through the places reviews can be left and collected for your business. The importance of local reviews and their influence on a business' online reputation will be discussed later in the post.
Google is the biggest and most influential search engine in which shoppers will begin their search. Businesses can set up a Google My Business page to help their visibility in the search listings, which enables individuals to instantly assess and review that business, alongside any potential competitors within their local area.
With an active Google My Business page, any details for that business appear within Google Local. There are different ways these Google listings can be viewed. If a generic online search is made, businesses appear at the top of the listings with a map of the local area - Google Maps. Underneath are the top results for that search in a list format which contains the business' name, any reviews they have, and an overview of their service.
If the map or business listing is selected, you are taken to an expanded view of Google Local, where more businesses in that area can be viewed, and the search criteria can be honed either via the filters or map view.
If a specific search is made, a box with that company's details appears to the right of the listings, with similar information containing review rating and total.
Facebook is the most important social platform for marketing, connecting individuals across the globe and captivating public attention, a fact underscored by over 2 billion active monthly users. There are currently 50 million Business Pages on Facebook taking advantage of Facebook's colossal social engagement.
This engagement extends to local reviews left on Facebook, with user-generated content generating 6.9x involvement compared to that of brand-generated content.
Amazon is the world's largest online retailer, first established to sell books online, it has grown to sell all conceivable consumer goods.
Although Amazon isn't established as a review site, with such mammoth product consumption across their platform, those products and their reviews go hand in hand to create richer product insights, helping influence shopper behaviour.
Local reviews left on Amazon are highly influential for businesses, with their star rating helping them stand out from other sellers.
We briefly mentioned Yelp at the beginning of this post. Yelp is a review site which publishes crowd-sourced reviews about local bricks and mortar businesses. Yelp was originally created for people to leave reviews for local places such as dentists, hairdressers or mechanics.
Yelp's business scope is centred wholly around local reviews, and features a list and map view similar to that of Google Local. However, this isn't displayed within the Google SERPS, but instead is hosted on Yelp's own site.
TripAdvisor is one of the leading travel sites, enabling travellers to leave and access reviews covering the world's largest selection of travel listings. Spanning over 7 million accommodations, airlines, experiences, and restaurants, local reviews left on TripAdvisor help travellers decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat.
If you owned a restaurant for example, ideal places to collect and manage your reviews would be Google Local, Yelp and TripAdvisor.
Yell was created by the publishers of the Yellow Pages, and is the UK’s leading online business directory to search and find businesses near you. Within that directory, not only can individuals see a businesses details, but their review rating and total stands out immediately with every search, along with those without any reviews either.
Auto Trader began as car magazine which soon took to the web, and in 2011 introduced the option for car owners to leave reviews for car dealerships across the UK. Any car dealer can make the most of their reviews by boldly displaying them on Auto Trader, helping them stand head and shoulders above other dealers.
Home professionals and homeowners can unite on this uniquely visual platform, enabling individuals to find perfect home designs, and in turn their professional construction counterparts. Houzz consists of all home design professionals, so if you're a builder, painter, plasterer and so on, Houzz is perfect for your customers to leave reviews for your services.
Lastly, Checkatrade.com hosts an online database for a range of trades across the UK, helping customers determine trade reputability of local tradesmen near them.
Your online reputation
Because there are so many places local reviews can be left, and due to the fact almost anyone with an internet connection can leave a review, a multitude of opinions and feedback left for your business can unfairly muddy your reputation, leaving you overwhelmed and struggling.
If you're collecting company reviews and/or product reviews, the good work you're seeing from those may be dampened, and your online reputation left vulnerable. Worse still, if your business doesn't have an active review strategy, you're already leaving your reputation on the table.
For example: You may have a very reputable 4.5 star rating with a tidy 200 reviews for your business, which you proudly display on-site, as well as in your Google Ads. A cursory online search reveals you also have reviews on Google Local and Facebook. However, you only have 16 reviews on Google Local, and a further 4 on Facebook. Your business is not exactly brimming with user-generated feedback on these local platforms.
Unfortunately, it's not your lack of reviews thats alarming, it's your review rating of 2.9 on Google Local, and 2.1 on Facebook. This discrepancy isn't exactly encouraging to customers, and inconsistent ratings such as this evoke suspicion of your services. Half of your 16 reviews on Google Local are on par with the ones you've actively collected, but the other 8 are a different story. Four are genuine reviews where you've dropped the ball, your customer grievances were left unattended, but the other 4 are completely unsubstantiated.
But what about the opposite of this? What if local review sites are chock-a-block with radiant feedback for your business? It doesn't seem fair that you are actively managing your reviews, yet these ones go under the radar. You'll just have to hope your shoppers see them all..
Active review collection or not, you'll have local reviews floating around the web. Without any input or management, this can mean one of two things: An untapped source of positive reviews not being effectively used to see rewards for your business, or unjustified reviews spreading misinformation, negatively influencing your shoppers.
How Reviews.io can help
Local reviews may seem frustrating, and there may be many thoughts going through your head about your reviews online. That's why at Reviews.io we want to enable businesses to positively make the most of all their local reviews, to reinforce their reputation and fully-utilise their reviews to solidify their review outlook across the web.
All the above can be accomplished with our Local Reviews solution. If you've never collected reviews, it's really quite straightforward, and if you're accustomed to review collection or currently use the Reviews.io platform, then collecting local reviews is as simple as sending out a review invitation. You can choose which local review sites you want to direct your customers to, or you can leave it to our clever automated system to determine where you need to collect local reviews the most, to positively benefit your business' reputation.
By directing your customers to local review sites, you begin to populate these platforms with all your genuine customer feedback. That's not to say individuals won't naturally still leave reviews on those sites, but there will be a steady flow of reviews building your review totals, and most importantly levelling out your review score. You may find yourself thinking that's at least a start, but what stops it being filled with negative reviews, and what about any unfavourable reviews already populating those sites?
Why you need local reviews
Research suggests that reviews left naturally tend to be more negative. Individuals are much more likely to take time out of their day to share a negative experience than a positive, which simply boils down to how our brains work. When we're happy, we're busy being happy. But when we're upset or annoyed, misery loves company. Not only that, but if fuelled to leave our own review, reading other organic negative reviews unfavourably biases us to reduce our own rating, a form of psychological anchoring.
However, studies have also found that individuals who are actively asked to leave a review tend to leave more positive reviews, half a star more than organic ratings. These reviews are more authentic, as the customer is sent to an isolated review collector page to leave their experience, unbiased by external factors, and left to focus on their real experience.
Voila! When you direct your customers to leave reviews on local review sites, not only are you bumping up your review numbers, but you'll be filling it up with positive customer feedback. With fresh reviews rolling in, any unjustified reviews are dampened, enabling shoppers to see a representative rating for your business.
If you do receive negative reviews on these sites, you're able to stay on top of customer issues as and when they arise, as all local reviews appear in your Reviews Timeline. Being able to monitor your reviews from one Dashboard reduces your time spent actively trawling local review sites, not only saving you precious time, but also a disgruntled customer.
This in itself may turn a negative experience into a positive. If not, your responses demonstrate to shoppers that you're active if things don't quite go to plan, as well as sincere when your services don't live up to expectations - both of which positively cement your brand in your customer's mind.
With your review ratings improved, your reputation is viewed more consistently online and trust is strengthened. Improved trust for your business encourages traffic to your site, and more traffic means more shoppers browsing your site's pages. So what better way to keep those shoppers on-site than to display those local reviews right there on your webpages! Reviews.io have a selection of local review-friendly widgets, which dynamically display reviews for your business on sites of your choosing, right alongside all your company reviews.
Giving shoppers easy access to your reviews reinforces your reputation as a seller, but also draws attention to any shining feedback on those local platforms! You can therefore utilise any great organic feedback to your advantage, and demonstrate to shoppers you welcome every customer voice from all corners of the web.
Local reviews will continue to exist for companies across the web, with many businesses unaware of how their reputation is left vulnerable, but also unfamiliar with the vast benefits they could see from managing their local reviews. With Reviews.io's Local Reviews solution, any business can take advantage of their user-generated feedback on multiple local review sites, making those reviews an asset for their brand.
Each stage - from collection to publication of your local reviews - enhances customer trust, draws shoppers to your website improving traffic, and with your customers fully-engaged with your reviews, conversion rates increase.
Sign up today to start collecting local reviews on sites that matter to your business, or give one of our team a call to discuss your review needs further. Whatever you do, consider the impact local reviews are having for your business, both negatively and positively, and take a proactive approach to your reviews across the web to begin reaping the rewards.