search marketing

Author Bill Tancer On The Search Impact Of Reviews

Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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local-reviews-SEOMost organizations seem content to simply avoid bad online reviews, but good online reviews are essential to helping people find your website in ways you may not have thought of.

What you see when you search for “plumbers in Hoboken” or “churches in Macon? After the paid ads, you’ll see several links to Yelp and listings that have reviews.

Bill Tancer is the General Manager for Global Research at Experian Marketing Services. His first book, Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why It Matters, was a New York Times bestseller. In a recent interview with Mark Traphagen, he reported

I created a collection of review sites and tracked the traffic going from search to those sites. I found that for those sites, about 67% of their traffic was coming from search, which is quite large.

The Path to Your Website

We tend to think people search and then click through to the website of an organization they’re looking for. But what Bill points out is for many people there is an interim step…

  1. search engine to
  2. local review site to
  3. organization website

The percentage of people who go this route is difficult to say, but it  is significant. And if you do not have listings and reviews on these sites, you are missing out on all the people who follow this path.

So, what you can you about local listings?

1) Do a few searches for your type of organization in your area to see what local review/listing sites appear in the results. There are some big ones like Yelp and, but there may be others that cater specifically to your industry like travel, restaurant, church and school review sites.

2) Claim/create your listings. Make sure you’re at least listed in the local review sites.

3) Update your listings. Make sure the information provided – especially contact info – is accurate. If it’s not, update it.

4) Request reviews. The more reviews your organization gets the better. There are lots of strategies for requesting reviews, but the bottom line is it helps to ask and give people links where they can post reviews. You can put these requests on your website, in an occasional email, on the web page a customer sees after making a purchase, share them in social media.

The bottom line is it’s more important than ever to have accurate listings with as many reviews as you can get.

For more on this read Mark Traphagen’s full interview with Bill Tancer

And if you’d like some help in getting the process started, we create, claim and verify local listings as a part of our local SEO services for churches, schools, and local ministries and businesses.

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    About the author

    Paul Steinbrueck

    Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.