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Easy To Implement Local SEO Optimization Tips For Small Business

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Every local business wants to be at the top of the Google or Bing search engine results when someone searches for a product or service like theirs.

Just think how much business you would have if every time someone searched for, “family dentist in Charlotte”, your family dental practice showed up at the top of the search engine results every time.

For every local search result in Google, there is a local business sitting at the top of the page.  These businesses usually place a high importance on Local SEO optimization and invest the time and resources to get their business at the top of the search engine results.

Wouldn't it be great if your local business could do the same?

Local Searches Lead 50% Of Mobile Visitors To Visit Stores Within One Day – Google Think Research report

Now you might be saying to yourself, “I don't have the money to hire someone to do this”.  The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to help in your local SEO efforts that require no money and little to no SEO experience.  It simply requires a commitment from you to do it and a few hours a month to set aside to get it done.

Below I am going to outline some Local SEO optimization tips that can help your business show up higher in the search engine results.  More visibility in the search engines will get you more targeted traffic to your website and more opportunities to generate leads online.  Isn't that worth investing a few hours a month on for your business?

Now, not every industry is equal.  For example, if you are a lawyer, mortgage broker or a plumber in your city, the competition online is fierce.  With highly competitive industries like these where the rewards for new a customer is high, they are usually paying marketing companies with their local SEO to get to get top search engine rankings for their city.  You may eventually need to hire someone to help, but you will have a solid foundation in place and a much smaller gap to close when you do get to that point.

So if you are serious about wanting to get your business higher in the local search engine results, here are some local SEO tips to get you started.  All of these tips, when done correctly, can have a big impact on your rankings.  They work best when you use them in conjunction with each other and when you do them consistently over time.

Google My Business and Bing Places

If you do a local search in Google like, “Pizza in Denver”, you will see a map show up in the search results along with a bunch of local pizzerias nearby.  That is a local search result, sometimes called a maps result.  This type of result has two parts:

This type of search engine result has two parts:

  • The map listing, which shows local businesses on the map.
  • The organic listings, which shows a list of the top web pages for that particular search.

Sample local seo search results page in Google

When a business shows up on the local map results, it is not your website that is doing it, but your Google My Business listing, which is a free listing by Google.  Bing Places is the Bing search engine equivalent and works pretty much the same way.  We'll talk about Google My Business here as it is the dominant search engine in most markets.  When you look at a search engine result with a map listing, you will notice these local businesses are listed above the traditional search engine results, giving them a lot of visibility on the page.  This is why optimizing your Google My Business page is so important.

Setting up your Google My Business page is pretty simple.  Go to Google My Business and sing up for your free listing.  You will be asked to verify that you are the owner of the business and they will usually send you a postcard in the mail to verify your location.  The good thing is that you don't have to list your business address publicly if you don't want to, which is great for home based businesses.

Once you have signed up and accessed your listing, these are the most important things you need to do:

  • Make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) are correct and match what you have on your website
  • Make sure your business category is relevant. You can add multiple relevant categories for your business
  • Add lots of images.  Add multiple images for every image category
  • Fill out your listing completely. They show a progress bar, make sure it is at 100%

Now, once you have finished this for Google My Business, head over to Bing Places and do the same.

Once Google and Bing have verified your business, your listing will be live and you now have the opportunity to have it shown in the local search engine results and appear on the map.

Local SEO optimization tip: Download the Google Maps app on your phone and search for your business.  Once you find it, scroll down and look for the “Add Photos” tab.  Click on that and you can use your phone to take pictures of your business and upload them to Google as a customer of your business.  Encourage your customers to do the same.  Google loves to see customers interacting with local businesses through reviews, image upload, etc and it helps add content to your Google My Business listing and will help it rank higher in the local search engine results.

 

NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)

This is a simple tip that can pay big dividends over time.  Make sure your NAP is consistent across all of your online web properties.  These include:

  • Your website
  • Google My Business and Bing Places
  • Social media properties
  • Review sites
  • Online directories

For every business, Google has to scan numerous websites and try and match each page to a business.  Sometimes, if the NAP is inconsistent, Google will have doubts if this is the same business, so when in doubt, they will leave it out.  So by not being consistent with your NAP, you run the risk of losing associations (and resulting links to your website) because of NAP inconsistencies.

Examples of NAP inconsistencies would be:

  • Business Name: Sam's Plumbing, Sam's Plumbing Service, Sam's Plumbing Services, Sam's Plumbing Services Inc.
  • Address: 123 Main Street, 123 Main Street, 123 Main
  • Phone Number: 704-999-9999, (704) 999-9999

Now many times Google will pick up on the inconsistencies and still give you credit for the listing, but sometimes it won't.  It's such a simple thing to do so it doesn't make sense to lose any time of SEO credit for a silly technical mistake.

Out of these three identifiers, your phone number is the most unique.  You may share an address and other people may have the same business name, but a business will rarely share their phone number with another business.

Local SEO optimization tip:  Perform your own NAP audit to check for inconsistencies with your NAP.  The easy method is to go to https://moz.com/local/search and enter your business and check the results.  From there, you can make edits to any inconsistencies you find with your NAP online.

 

Citations For Local SEO

A citation is a mention of your business online, regardless if it is a link or not.  There are two types of citations, structured and unstructured.

Structured Citations

These are where your business is listed in an organized and structured format.  Examples would be:

  • Google My Business and Bing listings
  • Review sites like Angie's List and Yelp
  • Online directories like the Yellow Pages and Manta

Unstructured Citations

These are mentions of your business, but not in a formal structure.  Examples would be:

  • A blog or media website mentions your business name in the body of an article
  • Someone mentions you on a social media post
  • Someone mentions your business in an online forum or Q&A site like Quora

Google understands that not all local businesses can be SEO and link building masters.  So they routinely scan the Internet for people talking about your business.  When they find these mentions and the sentiment is positive, they give you credit for that towards your local SEO, which helps to increase your rankings and visibility in the local search results.

Your goal with citations is to make sure you are listed properly (having a consistent NAP) on major 3rd party platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, Yelp, etc.  You also want to make sure you are listed in niche sites that cater to your industry.  An example would a restaurant being listed on AllMenus.

Here is a nice resource from Moz that shows you the best places for citations organized by business category.

Local SEO optimization tip: To find important websites to be listed for your business, perform several searches in Google just like a person trying to find a business like yours would.  Check the first 1-2 pages of Google to see what directories and review sites show up.  These are important to for your business and you should make sure you are listed on all of them.  Another tip is to Google your competitor's phone number and sift through the first 5 pages of results.  Here you can find websites where your competitor is listed but you may not be yet.

 

Online Reviews

Online reviews are super important when it comes to local SEO and getting your web properties to rank high in local search.  Google reviews on your Google My Business listing are probably the most important as they directly tied to your Google My Business account and are the first reviews people will typically see when they search on Google.

 93% of all Millennials rely on online consumer reviews, both from their social media contacts and from strangers, when they make purchasing decisions. – Adweek

Depending on your country and industry, Google also pulls in reviews from 3rd party websites as well.  This is why it is important to have positive reviews on all of the major review sites like Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.  There are also review sites like Angie's List and Homestars (Canada) that cater more towards service businesses or specific industries.

As you can see with the example below, Google pulls in reviews from across the web all of the major review sites play a part in your local rankings, not just Google Reviews.

Nusite_Group_Waterproofing_Toronto_Google_My_Business_Listing

How many reviews you need to rank higher in the search engine depends on your competition.  If the Google My Business listings ranking at the top of the local search results are averaging 30 reviews, then you need that at a minimum in order to compete with them.  When it comes to reviews

When it comes to online reviews, having a system in place is critical to gaining reviews on a steady basis.  Timing also plays a big role in getting people to leave reviews. Have a system set up where you call or email (better, do both) your happy customer right after you have delivered your product or service.  This is usually when they are the most enthusiastic about your business and most likely to leave a review.  Do this on a steady basis and you will steadily add reviews to your online profiles over time.

Local SEO optimization tip: If leaving a review becomes a hassle for the customer, then they most likely will not do it.  Try to make their lives as easy as possible.  If a customer is using a Gmail account for email, then ask for a Google review since you know they already have a Google account and do not need to register.  Unless they are regular “Yelpers”, don't ask people to leave a Yelp review, they have a notorious filter system and one time reviewers on Yelp almost always get their reviews removed from public view.  Facebook is a generally good place to send people as most people have a Facebook account these days.

 

Service and Category Pages

Service pages, and category pages if you sell products are great pages to rank high in the search engines.  They are specific and focused in content and with a little tweaking, you can localize the pages for your area.  Spend some time customizing these pages to get them to rank higher in the local search results.

Let's use a local dentist in Charlotte, NC as an example.  These are the typical offerings on a dentist website:

  • Family Dentistry
  • Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Orthodontics
  • Dental Implants

You would start with localizing the titles of each page for their city:

  • Family Dentistry in Charlotte
  • Cosmetic Dentistry in Charlotte
  • Orthodontics in Charlotte
  • Dental Implants in Charlotte

Once you have done this with all of your service/category pages, you have started the process of localizing the page for your city.  You will further localize the each page and stand a better chance at ranking locally by doing the following:

Body Copy.  In the text description of each service, talk about how you serve the residents of Charlotte and talk about how long you and your staff have been doing business in Charlotte.  The important thing is not to keyword stuff, but to incorporate your city into the description naturally.  Something like, “Big Smiles Dentistry has been serving the residents of Charlotte for over 20 years…..”, or “Our dental office, located conveniently in South Charlotte,….”.  Aim for at least 500 words for each page, anything less and there probably isn't enough text for Google to view it as comprehensive enough to rank high for that topic.

Images and Video.  Bring your page to life with various media you can incorporate into the page.  Insert images of your dental practice and staff.  Add video to the page if you can.  Google loves to see multi-dimensional content, so if your competitors have Plain Jane service pages, turn yours visual eye candy for both Google and your customers.

Interlinking.  Interlinking is when you link one of your website pages to another.  It's not much of a ranking factor, but linking from high authority pages on your website to other pages can help give these pages a boost.  Your homepage is almost always your strongest page, so be sure that any service/product page (or any important page you want to rank high) has a link on the homepage pointing to it.  The easiest way to do this is with your main menu navigation.

Local SEO optimization tip: Similarly to Service/Category pages, consider creating area pages for your website to get even more hyperlocal with your marketing.  If you do not have a physical location in an area, don't pretend that you do.  But you can create pages about the various areas you service in your city.  For Charlotte, you could create “Areas We Serve” pages for Matthews, Pineville, BalHuntersvilletersvills, Concord, etc.  People will often not search for their city, but their specific neighborhood when looking for a local business.

 

Blogging

Think of your blog as the doorway maker for your website.  If you do not have a blog or an optimized website, then your homepage is most likely the only door for your website, which is how people find your website.  With a blog, every time you create a new piece of content, you are creating a new door where potential customers can find you.  Wouldn't you like to have 500 doors to your website instead of just one?

A blog is great for what we call “Long Tail Keywords”, which are longer and more specific search queries people make in Google.  An example of a long tail keyword would be, “Dentists in Charlotte that cater to young children”  This search query may not get a ton of searches in your area each month, but if you are the only dental practice in Charlotte that has a blog post talking about how your practice caters to young children, you have a good chance of ranking very high in the search results for this query.

Below is a list of hundreds of potential topics by simply entering the term, “Dentist”, in our keyword research tool.  You can do the same by using a free service like Keywordtool.io

Content_Suggestions_for_Dentists

Local SEO optimization tip: Make a list of the top 20 questions prospective customers ask you on a regular basis.  These should be the foundation for your first 20 blog posts.  Make each one at least 500 words long and add several images to the blog post.  Don't actively promote your business in the article, but add a nice byline for your business and a call to action at the end of the article.  Be sure to add local elements to your blog post, like the city that you are in.

 

Youtube

Most small businesses avoid video like the plague.  If you are not used to being in front of a camera, recording yourself on video is akin to public speaking, most people are terrified of it.  But like public speaking, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.  If you can get over yourself and get comfortable in front of a camera, video marketing can be a gold mine for your local marketing strategy and give you a major boost in your local SEO efforts.  While the links you add in Youtube are what's called no-follow and don't directly contribute to your Local SEO, the content of your videos can and will contribute to your overall Local SEO.

When it comes to video, Youtube is the king of video marketing.  It's free, easy to use and is the second largest search engine on the planet, after Google.

Google is incorporating video into its search results more and more, and there is less competition with video than there is with traditional text-based content.  The good news is that the only thing you need is a mobile phone and some nerve to create lots of videos for your business.

Use Youtube like your blog, create lots of Q&A posts on common questions people ask you.  You can also create a brand video for your business, basically you in your business talking about what you do and who you serve.  Make the videos short, 2-5 minutes in length, and keep them upbeat in tone.  The last thing you want to do is bore people to death.  Aim for being educational and lighthearted, smile a lot.

When it comes to creating Youtube videos, follow these tips when uploading your videos to Youtube:

You can upload videos directly from your phone when you are finished recording, but be sure to go back to Youtube with your computer and finish adding all of the necessary details that help you rank high in Youtube as well as possibly in the regular Google search results.

Add a proper video description.  A good format is to use the first paragraph to describe what the video is about and what people will learn from it.  After that, add information about your business along with a call to action and a link to your website.  You can also add links to some of your social media properties.

Add Tags.  Tags are keywords you can add to a video to give Youtube a better idea what your video is about and how to associate and categorize it properly.  Spend time adding lots of relevant Tags to your video to help it get more visibility on Youtube.  Currently, you have 500 characters available to add Tags, add as many relevant ones that you can, including your industry and city.

Example_Youtube_Tags

Embed videos on your website.  While embedding a Youtube video on your website is not a ranking factor (according to Google), embedding a video on your website will help it get more views, which can translate into higher rankings for your video.  Adding multimedia like video also adds another dimension to the pages on your website and can help liven them up.

Local SEO optimization tips: If you are hesitant about getting in front of a video camera, there are lots of other types of video you can easily create without getting in front of a camera.  Take lots of pictures of your staff and location and create an awesome video using a tool like Animoto.  Create a Powerpoint slide answering a question and either add your voice narration to the PPT or just play it to music.  Powerpoint lets you easily convert slideshows into a video.  With their permission, take short (less than 20 seconds) testimonial videos of your customers.  Best of all, every video you create for Youtube, you can also upload your video to Facebook as well.

 

Optimizing for Local SEO isn't difficult

Yes, it takes time and patience, but it isn't rocket science.  You just need to create a plan and dedicate yourself to implementing it.  Your business will thank you for your efforts.

The Business Owners Guide To Local SEO

 

According to a recent study by BIA/Kelsey, nearly all consumers (97 percent) now go online when researching products or services in their local area.

The question is if they search for what you sell, will they find you?

You can't be in the running if you aren't in the race.  And the local SEO market is a pretty big race.

With the advent of Google My Business (formerly Google Places) and the introduction of the local SERPS (Search Engine Results Page), Google has made a move to local in a big way.  Why did they do this?  Because they realized that most searches conducted online have a local intent, meaning people are looking for something close to their geographic area.  It makes sense, if you're searching for “Pizza” and you live in Charlotte, what good would a pizza joint in Denver do for you?

 

So how does local SEO benefit local business owners?

In a big way.  In the past, you were competing with a very large pool of competitors, whether they were located down the street, or across the country from you.  Now, if a search occurs that has local intent such as “Cupcakes in Charlotte”, or “Cupcake shops near me”, Google will not only try and localize the results for the searcher, they will display a listing of Google My Business pages along with an area map. Not only that but with location technology, especially on mobile, even if you search for “Cupcake Shops”, Google will assume you mean cupcake shops near you and will return local search results for your area.

Your free Google Plus Business page has effectively leapfrogged ahead of dozens of businesses, some of which have spent quite a bit of time and money trying to climb the search engine rankings.

This levels the playing field with you, the small business with a small budget, versus big business, with very deep pockets and resources.  Is your business taking advantage of this?

If you're ready to put in some time and effort to improve your search rankings in your local market, below are some of the most important things to get you started in the right direction.  While this isn't a complete list, if you do these things, and do them well, you should be able to see some marked improvement in your rankings.

While this isn't a complete list, if you do these things, and do them well, you should be able to see some marked improvement in your rankings.

 

Optimize Your Website

Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP)

There are some simple things you can do to your website that can have a big impact in how the search engines view your site.  If you're a local business, you want to make it clear that you're a local business.  You do this by including your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) prominently on your website.  This is not only beneficial to your visitors, it helps the search engines determine your geographic location and the local market your serve.  In addition to placing your NAP on your contact page, consider placing it in the footer area of your website so it appears on all of your pages.

Website Title

What's the title of your website?  You can see the title of a site quickly by looking at the browser tab on which the website is opened.  Most of the time, people will use the name of their business.  While this is ok, what's really effective is when you name the title of your website to what you actually sell, or what service you provide.  Adding your city or town name in the title is also very effective in “localizing” your website.

If you're a gluten-free bake shop in Charlotte, instead of making the title of your website, “Annie's Bake Shop Inc”, consider naming it, “Gluten Free bakery in Charlotte”.  You can add your business name at the end if you like, “Gluten Free Cupcakes Atlanta | Your Business Name”

Homepage Title Tag Example Local SEO

Create Localized Content

Create content on your website that is localized to your area.  It will send clear signals to the search engines that your site is about a particular area and it will also be more relevant to your readers.  For example, if you were a real estate agent, instead of blogging about generic real estate tips, talk about:

  • The best neighborhoods in your area for families, singles, retired people, etc
  • New construction projects in your area
  • Interview local businesses and government officials for your blog

Create a theme on your site around what your business does and what area it serves.  Become a local resource for your industry, people will respond better when the content is personalized to their specific area.

 

Google My Business and Bing Places Pages

Creating your local business pages on Google My Business and Bing Places will give you an additional web property other than your website to rank in the local search engine results.  For local results, the local listing (also knows as the map listing) sits above the organic search listings.

Why not have one horse in the race when you can have two?  Better yet, as you can see in the example below of one of my clients, they are listed 3 times in the search results (Google Adwords is the one at the top) in the search results for almost every search term important to their business.

Make sure these listings are filled out 100% completely with accurate information and that your business category is correct.

Local SEO Listing Example

Customer Reviews

Customer reviews play a big role in local SEO, both from a search engine standpoint and from a customer standpoint.  Almost everyone checks out reviews before buying a product or service these days.

Google has it's own review system that is shown in the local search results.  You will see the 5-star rating system under a business (the 5-star system does not become active until you have at least 5 reviews) and Google also pulls in reviews from third party sites.  The 3rd party review sites that Google uses depends on your location and industry.

Examples of Local SEO Google 5 Star Rating System

Here is a good article explaining how to find good review sites for your business.

 

Citations

Citations are mentions of your business across the web.  These mentions may or may not be active links back to your website.  The reason Google makes citations a factor in local search is that they realize that Joe's Pizza may be the best pizza in the city, but Joe is not very good at SEO or link building.  So they include citations, or mentions, of Joe's Pizza as a ranking factor.

Citations are broken down into two categories, structured and unstructured citations.

Structured Citations

These are citations where the information or organized in a set format.  Your business listing on Yelp or the Yellow Pages is an example of a structured citation.  Great sources of structured citations are online directories that service your city or industry as well as review sites like Yelp, Angie's List, and Foursquare.

Unstructured Citations

These are mentions of your business in an unorganized format.  Think of a local newspaper or blog mentioning your business in an article or on social media where people are talking about your business.  Getting interviewed by the local media, getting a lot of social media attention, and guest posting on other blogs are all great sources of unstructured citations.

When you are getting citations for you business, it is very important to keep your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) consistent across the web.  The NAP you have on your website should be the same anytime you create a new citation.  If you website has your as “Joes Pizza”, don't start creating citations that refer to you as “Joes Famous Pizza”, “Joes Pizzeria”, “Joes Pizza LLC”, all of these variations causes confusion with the search engines (and people trying o find you) and can lead to you missing out on the credit for those citations.

 

Links To Your Website

In traditional SEO, links play a huge part in how your rank in the search engine results (SERPS).  While not as critical in local SEO, they still play a role.

Many links will come naturally as you get citations for your business, but there are other great local sources for you to find links for your website.  Many local associations and businesses will gladly add you to their site if you help them as well.

  • Sponsor a local sports team or youth league
  • Join the Chamber of Commerce or other local civic associations
  • Sponsor a contest for a local blogger
  • Other local businesses
  • Host a contest and let the media/bloggers know about it
  • Trade associations and suppliers

As you can see, even if you know nothing about link building, if you get yourself out there it's not that hard to get some links back to your website.

 

It's Not Rocket Science

As you can see, doing local SEO isn't a big mystery.  Yes, it's tedious and you need to be organized and methodical in how you approach it, but it's within the reach of every business owner.  So go out there and start getting some local rankings and watch what some good local SEO can do for your business.

The Small Business Guide To Customer Reviews

Getting online customer reviewsYour business can live or die based on customer reviews.  It's a reality you as a business owner needs to embrace.

Whether you like it or not, the internet has given your customers a soapbox to voice their pleasure or discontent when it comes to how they feel your business treated them.  They may be right, they may be totally off the wall, but that doesn't matter.  The only thing that matters is that they can do it, and you need to understand that.

A Shift In Power

In the old days, if a customer was unhappy with the way a business treated them, they might vow never to shop at that business again.  They may tell a few friends and family members, but that's probably as far as it would go.  Limited reach.  With the internet, provide crappy service to the wrong person, and something like this could happen.

While your customers now have a platform for voice their opinions about your business, you still have most of the power.  You have the ability to create a great customer experience, or a terrible one.  The businesses that tend to hate customer reviews are the one's who treat their customers with indifference.  If you treat them well, they will treat you well, nothing to worry about.  You'll always get that one customer who's never satisfied and will leave a poor review no matter what you do.  The good thing is that most people know the difference between a  “complainer” and a valid review.

Why Are Online Customer Reviews Important?

The obvious answer is that people who are considering doing business with you often look for confirming evidence that it's ok to do so.  Reviews from their peers plays a strong role in determining if they will call you or not.  Despite the fact that some online reviews are fake, people still tend to trust them as cited by a recent report from Forrester Research.

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), specifically Local SEO, online customer reviews play a role in how your website (as well as your Google Plus Business page) ranks in the search engine results.

People are influenced by online customer reviews

Source: 2013 Zendesk survey

3rd Party Review Sites

While having customer reviews and testimonials on your website can lend credibility to your business, people still know you were the one that put them there in the first place, so they take it with a grain of salt.  3rd party review sites like Yelp and Angie's List, tend to be more trusted as the customer is able to write and publish the review without the input of the business itself.  You never see bad reviews on a businesses's website, but you may see lots of them on a 3rd party website.

Love them or hate them, you need to learn how to work with them.  You're customers can leave a review on one of these websites and their isn't much you can do about it except respond appropriately.

Tip: Review sites use algorithms to filter out fake reviews. Read here to find out more.

How Do I Get Customers To Leave Reviews?

That can be tricky.  The majority of  reviews come from a small percentage of people.  People that write reviews tend to be very happy or very unhappy.  Some people make writing reviews a natural part of their experience with a business, others never even think about it.  So what do you do?

  1. Ask for reviews.  The best time to ask is when you've completed the work and the customer is happy.  They are feeling good about the experience so strike while the iron's hot.  If no response, send a really nice follow up email 3 days later to remind them.
  2. Make it easy. Give clear, simple instructions on how to leave a review for whatever site you want them to leave it on.  Print up instruction cards (or create an email template) that explains the process for them.  The more hurdles you can remove for your customer, the more likely they will leave you a review.  Some people will start the review process, but quit when they get stuck (and frustrated).
  3. Don't offer incentives.  Your customers will leave a review because they like your business, offering incentives will dampen that goodwill.  You don't have to buy reviews, you just have to ask for them. Not convinced?  Read this.
  4. Rinse and repeat.  For every 10 customers you ask, only 1 might leave a review.  If you're consistent with asking, at the end of the year you'll still have quite a few reviews under your belt.  Think of it as a long term strategy.

Sample Email

Dear Mrs. Smith,

This is Julie from XYZ Company.  Just wanted to say thank you for choosing us for your recent home renovation project, we value your business and look forward to working with you again in the future. If you were happy with our work and the service we provided, we would consider it an honor if you wrote a review for our business.  It will take less than 5 minutes and you can start by clicking here (insert link to your company page on review site).  Once again, thank you for choosing XYZ Company.  If you have any questions, feel free to call anytime.

Kind Regards, Julie

Where Should I Ask My Customers To Leave A Review?

There are thousands of review sites to choose from, but only a handful are worth your time.  Many of the major review sites are feeders for smaller sites, meaning a review on the Yellow Pages website could possibly result in the review showing up on other review sites as well.  Below are some of the top review sites in the USA and Canada.  This isn't a complete list of review sites, though this is a good place to start if you're just getting started.  You're business may not be a fit for all of them, as some (like Homestars and Angie's List) cater to certain types of industries.

USA

Google +

Yahoo Local Listings

City Search (There is currently no way to add your business listing, if you want to try manually, read this article)

Yelp (Caution: If your customer isn't an active Yelp user, their review will most likely not stay active)

Judy's Book

Angie's List

Insider Pages

 

Canada

Google +

Yelp (Caution: If your customer isn't an active Yelp user, their review will most likely not stay active)

Yellow Pages

Homestars

Slow and Steady wins the race

Don't run out and solicit everyone you know to write you a review.  Not all at once anyway.  Review sites use sophisticated algorithms to detect fake and paid reviews, getting too many at once will set off alarms.  Think of it as a long term marketing strategy and look to develop a system where you can pick up a few quality customers reviews each month.  If you can do this, you'll be ahead of 90% of your competitors.