Every year David Mihm creates a list of local search ranking factors which I find as information invaluable. The questions are geared to get a concensus to help everyone understand what is going on and rank better in the industry. This topic is particularly on my mind since I am presenting a free small business seminar or local seo. So to present well I will be covering some topics on this subject up to the presentation. Here are a few thoughts in regard to the reviews.
1) The Name and location of your business matters. Often called the NAP (name, address, and phone) If you look at the results of the overall ranking factors you will see that the 1st (physical address in city), 3rd (proximity of to centroid), 6th (city, state in places landing page title), 9th (Local area code), and 10th (HTML NAP in Places Page) along half a dozen other location mentions or more on the survey. This tells me that your location is just as important of a keyword as some of your other service or product keywords. So think about naming things based off of a location.
2) The second thing is how much your places page information matters. Items such as location, content, categories, and reviews remain important. Take time and update it often since fresh content effects even your places page. This includes getting your categories down and all of them, having fresh updates, coupons, and customer reviews which we will touch on shortly. So get engaged and draw in your customers to interact with you. Here was a previous post on your business listing.
3) Citations and links seem to really have an effect. For many local SEO experts look at citations as the litmas test for local search. Now it seems even more so is the inclusion of link building. So take a little time apart from finding citations and get a few links as well both to your website and to your places page. This goes for 3rd party sites like directories and business related sites. You can get great information by using Getlisted.org.
4) Schema. There are some speculation that Schema tagging or microformatting helps improve a local business position. I think this is a good practice as it helps your business stand out from the clutter a little. So include some quality hcard formats. I think in reality the schema or microformats will actually take place of the kml formats. It may for the moment be kml formats do impact but I suspect they are soon exiting the scene. Read about how to include a micro formatted address.
5) Care about your reviews. Help people review what they bought like food, products, services and coax them into writing a review about the location if possible (hint: including the location in your business name, products, or service will help them include it in their review). It seems that even the velocity of reviews can impact your position. A few tips to do this might to include a link from your site to review your business, a 2d code or qr codes on location, emails if you capture them and send an email inviting them to review.
There are definitely a lot of things we could write about in regard to local search. What are your thoughts about local seo and the results?