Reviews matter now more than ever for local businesses.
Google takes them into account when deciding whether to show your website in their search results.
Plus, reviews are a big deal for customers. Almost everyone looks for reviews before trying a new restaurant, or before choosing a company for things like plumbing or HVAC repair.
To succeed, you need as many positive reviews as you can get.
For the most part, these are hosted on third party sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie's List.
You might remember that South Park episode a couple of seasons ago, where Kyle's dad gets popular on Yelp.
Obviously, it's satire, but “elite Yelpers” really are a thing. In any given town or city, there are usually a handful of people who post a lot of reviews.
This is especially true for bars and restaurants.
If you can get a positive review from a popular Yelper, you can bring in new customers.
In a recent blog post, Moz explains how to find local influencers on third party review sites.
Find top influencers on local review sites
If that's not what you're in the market for, but you're still interested in making a good impression on local influencers on a local review site, then determine which one makes the biggest dent in your industry.
For most local businesses, it's likely to be Yelp, a local review site that has 164 million visits per month, ranks as the 57th most popular iTunes store app in the US, and has at least 10 million installs on Android devices according to SimilarWeb.
In other words, it's the most popular local review site.
Your job is to find out who the most influential reviewers are in your area and somehow get them to your business.
So how do you find this information out?
Yelp gives their best users an Elite rating. You can search for Elite members of Yelp on Google using the following query:
site:yelp.com/user_details “elite 2016” “los angeles”
Replace “los angeles” with your city name, and you're on your way to the profiles of the top reviewers on Yelp. But how do you connect with these people?
Add this to your search:
site:yelp.com/user_details “elite 2016” “los angeles” “my blog or website”
Now you'll find Yelp users who list their blogs or other social profiles so you can hopefully connect with them. Or, if you want Twitter people, specifically search for this:
site:yelp.com/user_details “elite 2016” “los angeles” twitter.com
Ideally, you'll want someone who likes to give good reviews, likes to review your type of business, and has some way for you to be able to connect with them.
[image source: Moz]
The two great things about Elite Yelp users?
One, there's a high likelihood that if you can convince them to try out your local business's products or services, they'll review you, because that's what they do. They review local businesses on Yelp.
Two, there's a high likelihood that since Yelp recognizes them as Elite, their review of your business will not be hidden by Yelp's recommendation filter.
Can you find influencers on other local review sites?
For example, you could search for site:tripadvisor.com/members/ “level 6” to find users who have the highest number of points based on activity, but some users have earned a lot more points for forum activity than they have for writing reviews.
In general, Yelp is still probably your best bet since it usually ranks highest in search results.
You can learn more about how to connect with local influencers over at Moz.
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