Online reviews are something that every small business owner dreads. But when it comes to local search engine marketing, reviews on Yelp and Google+ play an important role that you can’t ignore.

The real problem is that even if you have a great product and offer impeccable service, you still need a bit of luck to get good reviews. You can’t force customers to write anything, and there’s always a chance that one upset customer will try to ruin your reputation.

To prevent this from happening, you have to collect as many positive reviews as you can. If you only have a few reviews and you get a rotten one, then it won’t look good to prospective customers. But a bad review will likely get drowned out if you have a hundred good ones.

A recent Forbes article explains how you can go about collecting positive reviews:

“Reviews are another crucial element that goes into your local search strategy, however, legitimate reviews tend to be the most complicated to obtain. Working closely with your clients and walking them through how to easily review your company on the best review sites will help ensure your business obtains a healthy amount of reviews. A mixture of reviews on a variety of key sites is crucial to helping you achieve the results in your search rankings.”

You have to personalize your customer service and sales process. You have to stand out to your customers by going above and beyond their expectations.

And when you do this, you can draw attention to your social sites. Don’t ask anyone to write a review, but tell them that they can find more information about your company on Yelp and Google+.

Skeptical people will say that you still need to rely on luck, but there’s unfortunately no sure thing when it comes to online reviews. Soliciting reviews will just get you into trouble and it’s not worth the effort. It’s best to stick with great customer service and promoting your social sites.