Survey: Getting Reviews the ‘Hardest’ Part of Local Online Marketing

According to data compiled by BrightLocal’s Myles Anderson, local digital marketing is getting “harder.” The charts and data below are based on surveys of local SEOs and those doing digital marketing on behalf of SMBs. (I’m also informed that there were some SMBs among the survey respondents.)

easier or harder

The major challenge expressed is that of getting reviews and doing reputation management.

most tricky

In the question below “SAB” stands for service area business (essentially a local service business).


The survey data reflects that most local marketers/agencies don’t have a structured approach to obtaining local reviews.

review strategy

There are a number of companies that are trying to bring more discipline, structure and process to capturing local reviews. The non-exhaustive list of review-generation tools and companies trying to do so include:

I suspect that reputation monitoring providers such as VendAsta will begin to incorporate review-generation tools into their product suites as well.

My question is: within three years do you think that “getting reviews” will be a solved problem? Or will we continue to see survey results like the above?

You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed.

10 Responses to “Survey: Getting Reviews the ‘Hardest’ Part of Local Online Marketing”

  1. Nick Rink says at

    Nice roundup of BrighLocal’s survey Greg. Think I’d probably fall into the “Not sure” category as I don’t think local search is getting easier or harder, it just keeps shifting. I’d agree with the challenge around reviews and keep stressing to client’s just how important they are.

    As well as the review generation tools you mention, have you seen I’ve been using this for a handful of clients with some good success.

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    I have not. Thanks

  3. Ted Paff says at

    Good question Greg!  Yes, in 3-5 years, I think review generation will be a solved problem.

  4. Bob Misita says at

    Thank you – Appreciate the mention.  We’re in very good company on that list

  5. Greg says at

    Sure Bob, have a great holiday

  6. Street Fight Daily: Moovit Raises $28M, Local’s Next IPO | Street Fight says at

    […] Reviews the ‘Hardest’ Part of Local Online Marketing (Screenwerk) Greg Sterling: According to data compiled by BrightLocal’s Myles Anderson, local digital […]

  7. Yoav says at

    Hey Greg - 

    Great article, and always nice to see some data behind the assertions. I couldn’t agree more with the general conclusion that reviews are one of the hardest parts of local marketing. Not only is it difficult to generate reviews, we hear great frustration from many SMBs about the rampant incidence of fake reviews. Put them together and this indeed is going to be a tough nut to crack.

    That said, is solving this problem by capturing local business recommendations from social media [full disclosure, I am one of the founders]. What makes whodoyou unique is the ability to capture totally authentic opinions, at scale, and convert these free text opinions into structured recommendations. Check it out and see if you think it delivers the goods. 

  8. Greg Sterling says at

    Thanks Yoav… I was not aware of it and will take a look.

  9. Rich Hargrave says at

    Agree with Nick – local search marketing is not necessarily “harder”, it’s just evolving faster. More fragmented – but better automation, technology and a deeper network of experts/knowledge base has helped.
    In all the conversations I have with SMBs, Agencies and Franchises – the business of online reviews is definitely considered the #1 challenge. Not just the generation of positive reviews, but how to respond to negative (or inaccurate) comments, as well as overall reputation management. Until I hear about something better, I still recommend business owners take the more traditional approach; simply ask your (happy) customers for their feedback. I’m a fan of the Whitespark Review handout generator for this purpose:    

  10. Greg Sterling says at

    Thanks Rich. Have a great holiday

  11. Rich Hargrave says at

    You too Greg – and “shop local” (or locally online)!

Leave a Reply