According to an internal analysis of small business search results, Marchex – a provider of small business marketing products – found that more than 80 percent of results did not point to the websites of those businesses. Instead, they pointed to social network results and consumer reviews.
The businesses surveyed were those of restaurants, travel, legal, beauty, plumbing and automotive – all highly susceptible to consumer reviews. These businesses and similar consumer-facing companies need to be aware of where they stand in search results with their own websites, compared to the rankings of reviews and comments from social media users.
"Marchex has seen how consumer reviews are impacting the bottom line of our small business customers, and we wanted to highlight how big the impact really is," said Ryan Fritzky, Director of Small Business Product Development at Marchex.
Increasingly, however, every business is being reviewed by consumers. Oftentimes the reviews and ratings might not even be justified. So, not only is it important to know where you stand on these sites but also to have resources ready to speak out (or type) on your behalf. That means recruiting brand advocates. Of course, the best way to do that is to provide quality experiences for your users and to respond quickly to any problems before they become viral hate campaigns.
Some obvious places to look for your small business reviews are social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Yelp.com, and Google Maps, Bing, Yahoo Local, City Search and Local.com. Below are a dozen more places where your business or products might be getting reviewed.
Mainly focused on rating those in the medical and health care field. Insider Pages also features reviews on restaurants, beauty and home & garden.
MerchantCircle focuses on promoting businesses by using online user reviews via a pseudo paid advertising system. Businesses can create their own local coupon book.
Judy's Book provides review guides to users, such as "Top 10 Auto Mechanics" and so on. Businesses can create their accounts and get help with promotion and SEO.
Angie's List is a paid service for consumers to get certified, unbiased reviews of local businesses. It is a large and trusted network, claiming more than one million members.
As the name suggest, TripAdvisor helps users filter travel destinations via user reviews. A must-know for travel businesses.
Because OpenTable.com allows users to make reservations immediately, good reviews on this site can help restaurants take advantage of the convenience factor.
The Better Business Bureau is a relative newcomer to the user review scene but its trusted reputation makes it a must-monitor for every business.
Buzzillions' focus is products -- electronics, computers, sports equipment, clothing, etc. Manufacturers and retailers would be wise to research their products here.
Part of the Shopping.com family, Epinions solicits reviews on just about anything a person can buy online -- from autos to office supplies.
Wize reports "the best & worst products" by matching products based on consumers' needs. The main focus is electronics and appliances.
In tandem with Buzzillions, PowerReviews looks to connect consumers with reviews about the producty they care about, through SEO, mobile, social networks and more.
SiteJabber provides reviews of websites as a whole. Obviously, every online property should make sure good things are being said about them, or find a brand advocate to get the ball rolling. They claim more than 450,000 people search websites for reviews every month.
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