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Google, Zagat, and Online Marketing

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Google, Zagat, and Online Marketing

Google recently acquired Zagat, a highly accredited rating and review survey, consequently improving the value of local online marketing. This combination of the world’s most powerful search engine and “the creator of the world’s most influential and trusted customer reviews” will undoubtedly change the local online marketing strategy for millions of small businesses.

Zagat, with a 30-point rating scale, offers an easy and effective method for customers to share experiences and rate the best and worst restaurants, hotels, stores, movies, airlines, and local attractions all over the world. Zagat publishes these reviews in guidebook form, software, and on their subscription-based website, www.zagat.com.

With Google’s acquisition, local searches have been reprioritized, and website optimization has become even more important. Businesses with a verified location, conveying to Google and its users what they do and exactly where they are located, rise higher in the rankings than those without a specific address. With Zagat, not only is the location important, but the reviews associated with that particular location also boost the relevance and credibility of a business’s website, improving visibility in search results.

What does this mean for local businesses? Customer reviews are more important than ever before. It’s not enough to just close a sale anymore. To build a loyal customer base and improve credibility both on- and offline, word needs to spread about a business’s wonderful products, services, and employees through their most far-reaching resource: the Internet.

The difficult part is convincing your happy customer to go home and interact with your business online. Make it simple, and provide an incentive. Customers will always ask, “I’ve already got your product/service, so what else is in it for me? And how much time will it take?” Integrate a persuasive call-to-action into existing marketing material—flyers, cards, receipts, social media—create a deal exclusive to customers willing to share their experience with your company online; e.g. every customer that submits a Zagat review for your business will receive 10% off their next purchase.

Revisiting your online marketing and optimization strategy, we can help build your online presence in your local community, taking full advantage of the Google-Zagat marriage and optimizing your website to its full potential. For more information on the value of customer reviews and local online marketing, give us a call at 800-829-5240 for a free evaluation.

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