local SEO content writersAs any business owner is aware, your company’s reputation is one of its most important and valuable assets. Fortunately, we live in a time when happy customers can post reviews online using platforms like Yelp, Google Maps, Facebook and various others.

While there are some pitfalls when it comes to people leaving negative or unfair reviews, savvy entrepreneurs and skilled local SEO content writers know how to leverage online ratings and reviews to enhance the visibility of a brand and generate greater connections with its customers.

Related: Why Reputation Management is Increasingly Important in the Digital World

Earning positive online reviews

Reviews generate customers—and customers generate reviews. Encouraging any customer who walks through your doors to leave a review can be an effective way to boost the profile of your company and make it easier to earn future business.

When acquiring online reviews and ratings, however, you must tow a fine line. Simply asking a customer for a rating may or may not appropriate depending on the situation, and prompting people to rate your business through discounts or other incentives could result in an insincere series of reviews that could backfire in the long term.

Local SEO content writers can make the process of acquiring reviews easier by heightening the online profile of your business and helping to implement a cross-platform content marketing strategy.

Managing your digital reputation

Unfortunately, not every customer who seeks your products or services will be happy with them. It’s a simple reality of operating a business. Learning how to effectively respond to and manage reviews, whether they are negative or positive, can have a big impact on the opinions people form of your business online.

In many ways, negative reviews don’t have to wreak havoc on your company. When you properly respond to a negative review, you can even enhance how your business is viewed by other prospective customers. Local SEO content writers can help you respond to reviews in diplomatic ways that demonstrate your company’s willingness to go above and beyond and make things right. That can be just as valuable as a customer leaving a positive review.

In short, it’s incredibly important to provide helpful and friendly responses to both positive and negative reviews. It’s a much better approach than simply ignoring what people are saying about you online.

Mastering the online review ecosystem

Google, Bing and the other search engines do not treat all review management sites equally. Because of this, you should prioritize the platform(s) on which you’d like to focus, and work to build a truly robust presence there first.

Determining how you can most effectively use your time and resources is important, so it’s best to identify which platforms will generate the most traffic and be most visible when it comes to search engine results pages. Google, the world’s largest search engine based on the number of searches it preforms, also manages its own business and review rating system, which it prioritizes over third-party sites in its searches. Developing a strong presence on Google-operated review sites and social networks is a great way to begin boosting your company’s online reviews.

Understanding how reviews and ratings work for your business is an extremely important part of any successful local content marketing strategy. Consider working with some experienced local SEO content writers to help maximize this tool to the benefit of your company and its online marketing efforts.