A month ago I ordered a swim cap from a small retail shop in New York. It arrived on time in perfect condition and was exactly what I hoped I was buying. I put the cap in my pile of vacation clothes and forgot about it.
Today this letter arrived ~ in a hand-addressed envelope ~ asking me to review their product and service. That personal attention got my attention!
This reminded me to remind you that online reviews are an important ranking signal in local search.
What Google Looks For As Review Signals
Review signals include review quantity, review velocity, review diversity. In other words:
- How many reviews
- How frequently you get reviews
- How likely are your reviews to be real
Moz.com’s annual ranking factors survey found a 43% increase in the importance of review signals over the past 3 years. Even better is a review that includes your keywords.
“Great swim cap … “ is better than a generic review “Thanks, we love you guys …”.
Reviews are valuable on a variety of platforms that use proper markup. Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp are the kind of sources for reviews that will work. Your own website can work too if you are using aggregateRating schema.
- Get more reviews by asking for them. People love to be asked their opinion.
- Encourage your customers to include your keywords in their review.
- Follow up – always respond to good and bad reviews. Your engagement is part of the ranking signal.
- Mark it up. If you are posting directly on your website use schema/JSON to mark it up so Google will notice.
Handwritten letters are great but there are many strategies both technical and personal to get the responses you need. Don’t just wait and hope. With a little planning you should be seeing the reviews come in and the results in the SERPs.
2018 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey
Update: The letter was rather misleading. I did a bit of research and found that the company was from overseas even though the letter came from New York. At least the swim cap was what I wanted.