When it comes to managing your online review profile, chances are you’re laser-focused on Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). While that makes perfect sense given how important Google reviews are for local SEO, there are several secondary platforms that can also be very beneficial in terms of traffic, conversions, and search position.
Having been overhauled with the launch of iOS 15, Apple Maps provides a wealth of useful features for those seeking navigation, including 3D city views in select cities, immersive walking directions, and route planning.
For local consumers, there’s also handy place cards which make it easy to find local businesses and source helpful information, such as opening times and contact details. Apple Maps also has a search filter, so a user can search for a nearby local business type and pull up information, such as review rating and images, all within Apple Maps.
Apple reviews are primarily pulled from a range of other places, such as Yelp. The Apple Maps user is presented with an average star rating and can see selected detailed reviews directly within the Maps app.
It’s also possible for the user to upload their own images, give a thumbs up or down rating, add to favorites, and report an issue.
While Apple Maps isn’t as popular as Google Maps, it’s the default navigation app on all Apple-powered devices, including iPhones and iPads, and therefore has a large potential audience. With such an extensive reach and the continual addition of new features, it’s well worth adding Apple Maps to your review management activity.
Bing Places for Business
Microsoft’s alternative to GBP — Bing Places for Business — is another source of reviews and business information for local businesses and consumers alike.
Local business owners can claim their Bing Places profile and provide useful information, such as contact information, opening hours, photos, and services offered. This information populates local search results on Bing and is also used to return local business information by Alexa (Amazon’s voice assistant).
Bing Places pulls consumer reviews from a range of third-party review platforms, including Tripadvisor, Booking.com, FourSquare, Yelp, TopRatedLocal, and Angi.
Depending on the source of the reviews, Bing Search users may see either an average star rating or a review counter at the top of the knowledge card.
To see review details, local consumers must scroll past the business information details to see a selection of reviews from relevant sites.
Although users need to scroll, Bing Places does provide local search users — along with Alexa voice assistant users — a notable amount of review content from a wide range of sources. This means that you’ll need to adopt a similar strategy to strengthen your Bing Places listing and also focus on building a strong review profile on a number of relevant platforms.
More than 90 million people visit Yelp each month in search of local businesses and services. Yelp says that, “97% of users spend money with a business they found on Yelp within a week”, and as we’ve seen, a number of other platforms pull review information from Yelp to show on their own listings.
As with GBP and Bing Places, you can claim your free business listing on Yelp to control how Yelp users view your business.
An average star rating is displayed at the top of the business listing followed by review highlights. Additionally, those viewing your business listing are shown recommended reviews, which are often reviews left by prolific review writers and will include images.
Business owners can respond to reviews publicly with a comment, as well as via direct message to the reviewer. There’s also a ‘Thank’ button within the listing dashboard that enables business owners to quickly send a message of thanks for a positive four or five-star rating.
One thing to know about Yelp, is that it discourages businesses from asking for reviews. It says proactively requesting reviews can hurt your Yelp rating.
Facebook uses the term ‘Recommendations’ to describe the reviews that users can leave on business Pages. You must opt-in to Recommendations for them to be displayed on your Page and you’ll also need to meet a minimum quantity threshold before a rating is assigned.
Facebook users have additional controls over the Recommendations they provide for local businesses, as they can choose to have their Recommendations show only to their Facebook friends or to be displayed publicly. Only public Recommendations count towards your Page’s rating.
Those leaving a review will see an option to recommend (positive) or not recommend (negative). They can then share additional comments and upload relevant imagery.
While it’s no secret that responding to consumer reviews is important for local SEO, Facebook takes it a step further and says responding can increase engagement and improve EdgeRank performance (the algorithm that decides what content shows up on a user’s News Feed).
Unlike Yelp, Facebook doesn’t have any rules against asking for Recommendations from local consumers.
Almost one in three US households use Nextdoor to connect with local neighborhoods, businesses, and organizations. The platform currently hosts more than 55 million business recommendations, making it a useful source of local information for consumers in your local area.
Similar to GBP, local businesses can claim their free business listing to share business information. They can also share Posts to announce updates and publicize offers and events.
Neighbors can like a local business or leave a recommendation to help others searching for a similar business. Because the Nextdoor platform is built around physical neighborhoods, recommendations are hyper-local, making it useful for those wishing to drive more footfall to their brick-and-mortar location or grow their service-area business.
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) website attracts over 140 million visitors every year. It sets standards for lawful business practices, with businesses able to apply for accreditation to further enhance their reputation and standing.
It’s free to create a BBB Business Profile, with customers then able to leave a star rating and text review, and publicly register complaints.
The Better Business Bureau promises to help consumers find businesses they can trust, making it a useful platform for small businesses keen to develop a strong local reputation. As users can leave reviews and publicly lodge complaints, it’s important that the business profile is regularly monitored and any issues swiftly resolved.
As one of the original sources of local business information, Yellow Pages predates the Internet era and is therefore a known and trusted brand for many consumers.
Business profiles contain a wealth of useful information, including a general business introduction, contact information, images, reviews, services, accepted payment methods, and opening times.
Local consumers can leave a star rating and then back up their rating with additional text describing their experience. In addition to Yellow Pages’ own reviews, some reviews are displayed from other sources, such as City Search.
Industry-Specific Review Platforms
While the likes of Nextdoor reviews and Apple reviews are important for building an overall business profile, businesses in certain industries can also leverage industry-specific sites to grow their reputation within their area of operation.
For those in the hospitality sector, such as hotel businesses, tour operators, bars, and restaurants, Tripadvisor is an important review platform capable of building traveler trust, directing traffic, and increasing conversions.
As with the other review platforms, listings are tied to the business profile. Keep in mind that travelers can create a listing for your business and begin leaving reviews, even if you haven’t taken the step of claiming your profile. If that’s the case, you’ll need to claim your profile before you can manage your listing and respond to reviews.
Reviews on Tripadvisor can be extremely detailed and refer to many aspects of your business. In addition to sharing the reason for their visit, the date of their visit, a star rating, and a comment, consumers are invited to rate key features, such as cleanliness, service, and location. They can also include images with their review along with a personalized tip.
Business owners can reply to all reviews and report reviews that violate the guidelines in order to request their removal.
Tripadvisor provides a range of tools to help grow your review profile on the platform, including widgets to display on your site and professionally printed inserts for checks, review cards, and QR codes.
Founded in 2017, Angi is the new name for Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor. It connects homeowners and landlords with property professionals, such as pest control services, pool cleaners, and roofers.
Reviews are extensive, with reviewers invited to provide a wealth of information. This includes star ratings for details such as responsiveness, professionalism, and punctuality, along with a description of work done, project cost, and images. Reviewers can also tag categories to describe the project and are asked whether they would or wouldn’t hire the business again.
The level of detail on offer makes Angi reviews useful for both the business and local consumers in search of property professionals. From a consumer perspective, this level of clear insight makes it much easier to assess whether a service provider fits the budget and can be trusted to do a good job. For the business owner, having such clearly defined ratings for key service aspects makes it a very useful tool for identifying where opportunities for improvement exist, as well as showcasing higher standards of service.