Over the course of the past few months we\u2019ve talked about how different aspects of digital marketing affect how you get found online. From utilizing engagement and social media as a new best practice of SEO to posting regular blog content, these elements all play into how you\u2019re found online. Now, we\u2019re going to talk about the importance of online reviews and how they impact local SEO. As we\u2019ve learned in the past, how you engage users online and what they say about you can have a huge impact on your website traffic. Importance of Online Reviews \tInforming consumer purchasing decisions \tInfluencing which search results get clicked on \tLocal search engine rankings \tManaging your reputation both online and off \tEncourages internal communication and development 90% of customers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions. Therefore, it\u2019s essential for your business to have a strategy in place for acquiring and managing this content. Online reviews are the part of your digital marketing strategy that you can\u2019t specifically control, but you can make a diligent effort to acquire positive reviews and influence consumer buying decisions with the words and praise of former and current clients. Online Reviews for Local SEO As search engines work to build a better Internet and online experience for users, online customer reviews have become more and more important. Because consumers love reading reviews to inform their purchasing decisions, so do local search engines. Search engines like Google and Bing want to provide users with the information they need to make decisions on future purchases. According to MOZ\u2019s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews are thought to make up approximately 10% of how search engines decide to rank search results. The review signal is thought to include review quantity, review velocity, review diversity and more. Positive online reviews can help companies clinch\u00a0a prominent position in local search engine results. Search engine listings with good reviews encourage more clickthroughs and physical visits. Online reviews, both positive and negative, give consumers the extra push they need to make a buying decision. In local search results having positive online reviews can mean the difference between winning over a potential customer or not. Acquiring Online Reviews Acquiring online reviews doesn\u2019t have to be a scary process. Some small business owners may feel intimidated to ask customers for reviews, but it\u2019s a commonplace strategy in the digital era. It\u2019s no surprise that when it comes to local SEO, Google reviews are the most important. For local search it\u2019s completely necessary to have a Google+ listing. When asking for online reviews, direct customers to your Google+ page. In local search results, the star ratings will begin to show up in your listing after you\u2019ve acquired five reviews, but many SEO experts recommend having at least 10. Yelp is another online reviews site with heavy weight in search engine results pages and in the minds of consumers. When choosing a restaurant, spa, contractor or any variety of businesses having no reviews or negative reviews on Yelp could be detrimental for your brand. Facebook is another source for online reviews, as well as industry specific review sites. In the restaurant industry reviews on OpenTable.com would be beneficial. For senior living communities, APlaceForMom.com is home to their industry specific online reviews. Asking for Reviews \tAsk customers at your business via messaging on receipts, on business cards, or by asking them as they\u2019re paying their bill \tEmail them with links to your online review profiles, making it as easy as possible to access \tUse social channels like Facebook and Twitter to ask for online reviews, but don\u2019t overdo it and alienate your network \tAdd a reviews landing page to your website Be sure to monitor your reputation online through consumer reviews. It\u2019s important to be proactive and engage with consumers. You\u2019ll soon learn how to respond to positive and negative reviews in the proper way. Don\u2019t be intimidated. Odds are the person you ask to leave you a review may need you to return the favor someday.