Break free from review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, AngieAnytime somebody writes about how a business can get themselves free from Yelp, it will get my attention. In this post, they mentioned three ways to get reviews:

  1. A dedicated Review site (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, etc)
  2. A site where you (or your products) naturally hang out. Your business Facebook page, your Amazon product page, etc.
  3. Your own website

The biggest issue the author had with Items 1 and 2 is that you don’t “own” your reviews, so the suggestion was to focus on #3.

In general, this is good advice. The author gives some examples at the end of the post about their own solution which can help with #3 and also help syndicate good reviews to their Facebook page (and for product sellers, can integrate with Google Seller Ratings).

This sounds like excellent advice for “larger” small businesses that have a budget of $300/mo for online marketing. However, for the majority of “hyperlocal” small businesses, $300 likely constitutes their entire monthly online budget, and the effort and money required to get their own website to win for Local SEO is generally too great. So, what options do they have?

Hyperlocal publishers are a fantastic alternative for hyperlocal businesses. Many of these publishers are rolling out authoritative business directories for their communities, complete with a feedback mechanism so their readers (and the hyperlocal business owner’s customers) can leave feedback for the businesses in their community. This solution actually accommodates portions of all three of the suggestions above. It offers feedback on a hyperlocal site that has authority and relevance to the business. It’s a site where the businesses potential customers hang out (in fact, every reader of that hyperlocal publisher is a likely potential client; how many sites can offer that strong an audience?). And finally, the feedback and content from the hyperlocal site may be repurposable on the business owner’s own website.

The result is a friendlier, more local and valuable review option for very small businesses. And the budget spend is usually no more than $50/mo for these capabilities.