In a follow up to last week’s post, Timothy Sweeney offers a unique look at the questions that Local Search practitioners need to ask themselves when considering location factors and their impact an online review management and marketing for their Small Business clients.
The other week Garrett asked me if I would provide feedback on a series of questions concerning comparing city versus suburban versus rural based businesses when it came to the topic of reviews.
My general thoughts on this topic were that it is difficult to make generalities as I know of some rural businesses that have their act together concerning local search (and reviews) and some urban businesses that don’t have a clue. Even so, thinking about the question raised the following thoughts. It should be noted that while writing these thoughts I reflected on my observations as a consumer, a Google Local Guide and as a local search practitioner.
So in consideration of, comparing city versus suburban versus rural based businesses when it came to the topic of reviews, here are my thoughts.
Additional Factors To Consider
Where is the locally focused business and/or other entity such as a not for profit in their local search journey?
For example are they:
In my mind, I keep picturing the local search journey for one of these entities as a journey of discovery. Some of the entities are stuck at the starting gate, others are starting to become aware, while another group travels along until they reach what might be called a baseline of best practices in local search which would include to some limited degree a review strategy and management program. Once this baseline is reached, a smaller group wants to deploy a higher level of local search strategies as long as there is positive ROI. This could include the pursuit, within proper guidelines, of more reviews.
Is the Business Ready For a Review Strategy and Management Program?
Or put another way, at what point would you advise the business to pursue reviews? I go back to the standard baseline of best practices for local search. Stating the obvious, clean up your citations, aggregators, map touch points, is their website decent, work on getting quality links, etc… I would be interested to hear from those at the top of the local search knowledge hierarchy on this question.
What Type of Industry Vertical Are We Talking About?
If we take the best practices concerning review strategy and management, would this template be appropriate for all locally focused entities? For example, how would you rank these entities concerning the value of having a review strategy and management program in place?
We haven’t even touched on whether we are talking about a single location entity or one with multiple or more locations.
How Many Reviews and How Often Does the Business Need Reviews?
We already know that for GMB having at least five reviews is very important. And this assumes we are talking about positive reviews and not negative or less than positive reviews. Moving beyond Google, what is the golden number for reviews and the rate at which they are received? This raises the question of, once the entity becomes aware of the value of reviews, will they attempt to pack reviews with those from employees, relatives, their best friend friend, etc?
Does the Business (Entity) Fear Reviews?
Some locally focused entities are going to fear reviews for one reason or another.
If you’re a local search practitioner or thought leader, I am certain you could add several more paragraphs of thought on the topic of reviews. As you might imagine, there are many entities out there that would benefit from using a sound review strategy and management program. Getting them to the point at which they are ready for it and willing to accept it is part of a longer process.