This topic is one that some business owners may feel anxious, being aware that nowadays the role that customers’ voices play in the success of a business is far greater than ever before.

An ongoing and unprecedented online conversation on the subject of local businesses has been created due to the emergence of various review sites. This dynamic conversation is one that a wise local business owner will monitor and when appropriate, join in for damage control and to earn loyalty.

If your industry niche is one that does not receive many reviews, your business can be dramatically impacted with even one or two bad reviews. Although it is unclear of where your business ranks within algorithms of local search engines are affected by ratings, it has been proven that ratings do drive additional traffic, regardless of how great you are ranking.

It is now a must for every local business owner to understand the world of customer reviews, not only as a form of protecting the reputation of your business, but also to promote it. In this Local Learning Center section, you will be introduced to the key elements of review guidelines as well as review acquisition and how to respond to customer reviews.

1. Establishing Priorities

It is usually best if you allow your customers to pick their preferred places to leave you reviews — however when you do have the opportunity to suggest a place for them to do so, how do you know what place should be suggested?

2. Reviews Ecosystem

In regards to local search engines, not every business review is created equal. Learn where your efforts must be focused for the maximum benefit.

3. Acquiring Reviews

An important part of a local business’s online marketing campaign is earning a steady stream of customer reviews. With this simple strategy, you can make it easy for your customers.

4. Review Guidelines

There are different guidelines and requirements that vary from one site to the next on how listings are built and reviews created. It is important to use these tips to stay on every site´s good side.

5. Review Filters

In order to combat spam, locale search engines aggressively filter reviews. Are your reviews being affected?

6. Responding to Reviews

A negative customer experience can easily be turned into a positive one simply by effectively responding to criticism on review sites.

7. Reputation Management

It can be a real time saver to turn over reputation management to an expert, it is however also expensive. Find out what the pros and cons are and learn how to make your decision.