Do you operate a small business? If so, I’m sure you are familiar with customer reviews. With the rise of mobile technology, many customers are leaving reviews about businesses online. When operating as a small business owner, it is important to take advantage of optimizing your business for local search or “Local SEO.” One of the ways to do that is by encouraging your customers to leave good reviews online. Good customer reviews help your business with local SEO rankings. When your business has an abundance of good reviews, Google sees that as a good thing, and bumps your rankings for business in local search.

google places arrow While many small business owners have encouraged their customers to leave reviews on their business profile, it shouldn’t be the the main focus, especially when optimizing for local SEO. There are a variety of local search directories to take advantage of that you should encourage your customers to leave reviews on. The more variety the better. Some of these local search directories are,, Yelp, Yellowpages, and Yahoo Local. Another place to encourage customers to visit is your Google Places listing.

As great as it is to have good reviews, you will always get the occasional bad review. Embrace bad reviews just as you would embrace a good review. It shows transparency and proper etiquette to respond to the bad reviewer with a well thought out response that may turn them into a potential long term customer.

So, what are some ways that you can encourage your customers to leave reviews?

  • Offer discounts and incentives
  • Add information about leaving a review on the bottom of email messages
  • Encourage your most loyal Facebook fans to leave a review
  • Hold a contest and ask them to leave a review in order to enter

I hope I gave you a good starting point here to encourage your customers to leave reviews online to help you boost your rankings for local search in your area. Leave a comment below if you have some good ideas to share.