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Hey guys, this is Floyd. In this lesson, we are going to talk about something that's very important for local ranking, which is reviews. We've talked about this a little bit in some other sections, but in this video, I want to talk just very briefly about reviews.

Let me start off by talking about the rationale, which is that more and more as the days go by, the reviews are going to have a much larger impact on your local rankings than they currently do. There's lots of evidence that points to this. Again, this has to do a lot with how Google's moving more towards symantic search, more towards knowledge graph type things. This moves right into that. Trust me on this one, you need reviews and you need a certain type and a certain kind. Let's go over that real quick.

If you're not familiar with this, when I say reviews, I'm talking about when a customer goes to your Google My Business page or your Yelp page, or whatever your other public web 2.0/citation sites, and leaves a review for you- negative or positive. What you want, obviously, is with these, the more the better. The more positive, the better. However, negative ones don't actually hurt you normally. I think that Google in its infinite wisdom, much like Yelp and others, understands that people are more likely to leave a negative review than they are a positive one, meaning that someone that's happy is less likely to take the time to go leave a review for business than someone who's irritated.

I don't think that having negative reviews is necessarily a negative ranking factor, although obviously, it can be a serious problem for your business if you have negative reviews. Some recent research came out, I think it was Search Engine Land that was talking about how people trust these reviews a lot. Again, this is not meant to be an exhaustive look at reviews, but here are the essentials that you need to know:

Of course, you will have already gone and claimed all the important citation sites for people who leave reviews in the citation portion of the training. Of course at that point also you have maximized those. Let me tell you what I've seen so far from my local client, it seems to be kind of the recipe. Typically, what you're going to want to see is this: you're going to want to see anywhere from 3-5 plus reviews on Google My Business, plus you're going to want to see 1-3 reviews on at least 2 or 3 other citation sites. For example, you may have 5 reviews on the Google My Business page, you may have 2 or 3 on Yelp, 2 or 3 on Yahoo Local, a couple on Foursquare. What you're going to want is just a nice variety of these.

Again, just like your citations, having all of these places reference your site is definitely a ranking factor. Again, the reviews, they reinforce that you're a legitimate business. You want to make sure that you get reviews on a good number of sites. Again, my magic formula so far seems to be 4 to 5 typically does the trick. How do we get those reviews? Hopefully, you're doing business with people who are legitimate businesses who offer good products and services. You can get them legitimately, hopefully people want to go in and leave reviews for you on these various sites. Especially when you're starting off, you need some strategies.

Strategy number 1 is going to be really obvious: it's going to be employees, friends, and family. You need to discuss this with your client and you need to tell them that these are important for your ranking and important for your conversions, as far as your website. Everyone that's an employee in the business needs to go in and leave a review on several different sites. People who are friends of people who are employees, and people who are family members of people who are employees. Unless this is just a one-man show, if you've got, let's say it's an auto repair place and you've got 15 or 20 employees, you've got more than enough to get all the reviews that you need just by using employees and friends and family.

The reviews don't need to be over-the-top, I'm not going to include in this course, but if you will Google "leave a good Yelp review," you'll come up with some guidelines. Basically, what they're going to want is they're going to want the person to talk about the business, what specifically they purchased, what product or service, a date, when they're there, and also how they felt about it. A lot of these can include pros and cons. Obviously, if it's a con, you don't want it to be huge, but you can definitely blare on about the pros.

The second thing, and this really depends on your client. You're going to have to make a call on this. One of the things you can do if you have a good relationship with your clients and they understand how this works is when you're onboarding a new client, you can get reviews for them from your existing clients. For example, all of my clients I have all of their social media accounts and all of their citation accounts. They understand that part of what I'll be doing from time to time, not in a huge way, but from time to time, I may be using one of their accounts in order to leave a review for that business. This was done for them when they started. Generally, you're not going to have trouble getting someone to agree to do this with their account. Again, you have to be very careful about you can't do this for any kind of shady businesses, obviously, and you have to be very selective.

This is not something I'm telling you that you have to do, this is just something I'm telling you that you can do. [you're going to want to do this 06:08] especially to better relationship. If you have a client, you can log into their Yelp account and leave a review for one of your other clients as an example.

Forgetting all of these things, and let's say that none of those work, there are several different companies that can help you with this in a legitimate way. I put one of them on here, it's Basically, there's probably a dozen services on here. What they do is they automate the review process for you, usually use an email. What they'll do is it'll have you send... They have a third party system that you will use and it will email existing customers, your client, and ask them for reviews. Again, let's say your client is an auto repair shop. This third party system will send an email asking for a review of the auto repair shop. Obviously, they manage these, so they're not going to be posting negative reviews for you. They're going to be posting positive ones. Again, it's beyond the scope of this course to go into this in too much detail. If you have legitimate clients that are larger, especially if they're, say, franchised or multiple location, definitely national, then using a service like this would actually be a really good thing to do. They're fairly inexpensive, and this can really help you automate that process and legitimize it.

That's pretty much it for reviews, guys. Again, there's lots of good information online if you'd like to look at it. I've given you the keys as far as how I use them. The last thing that's very important, and I do cover this in another video, but you want to make sure that the actual reviews that you put on your website, that they are marked up with schema. There is schema for reviews, and make sure that you're using that. Again, from a conversion perspective, and I did cover this on the on-page part, having a Yelp badge embedded on your page is helpful for conversions. You can also embed these Yelp reviews. You may want to have a page on your website that's just called "Testimonial/Reviews." You can embed Yelp, and Google My Business and several other ones on there. Just giving some credibility. There's also widgets that will allow you to do that as well.

That's it for this training, guys. This one's nice and short and sweet, but please do not overlook reviews. When we went to the local search engine ranking factors from 2014 on laws, remember you seeing reviews was a major part of this. It is. I'm telling you that this is just going to get more and more as time goes by. I forgot one last thing I wanted to tell you.

A lot of people have trouble getting reviews on Yelp. Yelp, in particular, has kind of a nasty review filter. It actually does a really good job at filtering out the fake reviews. Let me tell you a way that, as of right now, is working to get around that. It's 12-15-2014, and it may not work 12-16-2014. As of right now, here's the trick. You're going to go to the location and you're going to check in. You're going to check in through Yelp, and let's say, again, this auto repair place. You're not going to leave a review. Step 1 is to check in from the location. Then you're going to leave the location, and some time later, you're going to log back into Yelp and leave a review. I've found so far that when I do this 100% of the time, my review actually sticks. I think it has to do with the fact that Yelp knew that you were there because of geo information. If you left a review at the same time while you were there, it may have thought that you were intentionally gaming the system or that someone was incentivizing you to leave that review, which is against Google's and Yelp's terms of service.

I think the fact that you go and check in shows that you were there, but then the fact that you leave the review later makes it look more legitimate or more realistic somehow. Either way, like I said, I found that this right now is working 100% of the time. That is going to be it for this training, guys. I will see you in the next video.