Whether you are in a small town or a big city, you are competing with local restaurants for the top spot on search engine rankings. Restaurants with more reviews are ranked higher on many local search sites such as Yelp and Insiderpages and on traditional search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Why are customer reviews, updated business listings, and search engine results so crucial for turning potential customers into customers?
A study completed this year showed that 85% of new customers today find local business services on the internet. (ZipWeb.com, 2011) Try putting yourself in a new or potential customer’s shoes. You and some family friends decide to go out for dinner. You are all in the mood for pizza, but how do you choose between all the pizza restaurants in your area? To ensure that the restaurant you choose will give you the best experience possible, you run quick online search for “Pizza Restaurants” in your city. Within five minutes, you have compared a few of the top restaurants from Google’s search page by checking their ratings on local search directories like Yelp.com and Urbanspoon.com. You pick the best restaurant based on ratings and top reviews. It takes too much time to do a thorough search, so you never consider the restaurants on the bottom of the search pages that have fewer reviews.
Look up “restaurants in (your town)” on Google.com and Yelp.com. Is your restaurant up there? You will find that restaurants at the top of the page have more complete business listings and more customer reviews. If you have more claimed listings and more reviews, your customers are more likely to see you on the top of search engines and social directories like CitySearch, Judy’sBook, and Google. (ClickZ, 2010)
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