Do Online Restaurant Reviews Help or Hurt?

Online restaurant reviews have become a powerhouse that drives a restaurant’s reputation significantly these days. You have all the basics: Yelp, Citysearch, MerchantCircle, Zagat, TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, Gavot, and more. What’s more, pretty much any online business directory also allows them now.

Even the search engines have decided to place a higher value on reviews and social proof than ever before. Google has even gotten on board with Google Places and Google Maps. Every time that you try to find a restaurant, Google Places lists the top 7 or so and how many reviews that they have and from where. Bing got on board and started linking to all of the third-party reviews that they could find, too. Yahoo! has offered local reviews for years.

 

Reviews Good or Bad

The truth of the matter is that some businesses will take any type of review that they can get, good or bad, because it will drive your organic search results up in the listings. Search engines like businesses with more reviews and consider them more important. If you take the time to enhance the listing with info, pictures, videos, hours, and more, that helps, too.

 

Should You Try to Get More Reviews?

Some say that the life of reviews may be short lived. Others place a lot of weight on this. The question is: What should you do? The reviews that you get on any website are important and usually have a following. It’s better to be proactive in getting reviews. You want to claim all business listings before anyone makes a review.

You also want to encourage your customers to fill out reviews online. Make it easy for them! You’ve heard the saying, “The squeaky wheel gets all of the attention.” Don’t forget to encourage your loyal customers that might not otherwise think to do this.

 

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