This morning at the BIA Kelsey’s 2010 Interactive Local Media conference, we’ll be introducing a new partnership between Local SEO Guide and BK – a new local social consulting practice for BK clients.  I will be working with them as the Practice Director to help clients chart the social media waters  (Have no fear LocalSEOGuide readers, I will still be running this little blog and my consulting practice).  We’ll have more info about BK’s Local Social in the next few weeks, but in the meantime I thought I’d kick of the discussion with an overview of “The Local Reviews Ecosystem”.

Here it is in one handy infographic:

Over the past week I have informally surveyed over 20 SMB SEM consultants about their top social media priorities for clients in 2011.  Customer review generation and management was the top priority by a landslide.

As you can see from the above infographic, the review ecosystem is both enormous and complex, and I am sure I have missed several large swaths of services.  The definition of a review has changed dramatically since the days of filling out paper Zagat surveys.  We now write lengthy novellas about customer service experiences, hover over star rating icons, thumb up and down, tweet 140 characters of restaurant reviews and hit “Like” buttons.

The complexity of The Local Review Ecosystem – from generating reviews (both legitimate and fake) to using them for SEO to interacting with customers in open forums – means those service providers that play a part in the connecting businesses and their customers via reviews have an enormous opportunity.

Should be a cool space to review 🙂

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11 Response Comments

  • Ted Paff  December 7, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Andrew, congratz on the new gig! Social Media Practice Director sounds like a big job – you da man!

    It seems like the reviews eco-system is changing daily (dancing with entropy?). It is interesting that SEMs are so focused on the space now. That said, there is a widening gap between SMB understanding/interest in the space and what the pros (SEMs) are thinking about. It will be interesting to see if the consultants can convince their clients to engage.

  • Andrew Shotland  December 7, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Thanks Ted. My sense from talking to these consultants is that they will be doing the bulk of the engagement for their clients. #authenticity 🙂

  • Urban Scurry  December 7, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Hi Andrew,

    I just wanted to take a moment to congratulate you on this position. I am looking forward to hear how all of this works out for you in the future.

    You have given much to this industry and I have personally benefited from your shared knowledge and opinions. It’s great to see that you have been noticed and rewarded for you efforts.

    Tucson SEO

  • Kristinn Didriksson  December 7, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I just told a long time client to go local and get reviews as much as possible. But, they don’t understand the value and are afraid of negative reviews. They are non-techy people and have a distrust (believe it or not) of technology. I think convincing customers will be a big challenge. Being on the crest of a new wave is better than playing catchup.

  • Andrew Shotland  December 7, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Thanks Urban! I hesitate to call this a new position. Think of it more like a partnership as Local SEO Guide’s tentacle’s continue to wrap around the beast that is local search.

  • Ewan Kennedy  December 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Andrew,

    Congratulations and I’m glad to hear that LocalSEOGuide is not in jeopardy!

    I think that as with all new technology only the more enlightened will embrace the review eco system with an open heart. But when the others realise that they are behind the game and are losing out to those that embraced it – and used it to their advantage quickly – they’ll become ‘forced adopters’.

    Just as hotels are realising that they can do nothing about the onslaught of TripAdvisor, Google HotPot comes along to deal another blow to their chances of escaping the review system. Ecosystem is the perfect term for it. And we’re all going to be living it, rain or shine.

  • Andrew Shotland  December 7, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks Ewan,

    I disagree that only the enlightened will embrace the review eco-system, or rather I think you may be misrepresenting the SMBs. It’s precisely because reviews are so easy to write, find and digest that they have become an important aspect of SMB marketing. It doesn’t matter how enlightened you are – you just can’t avoid them.

  • Ewan Kennedy  December 8, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your comment with which I agree entirely – so maybe I did not express myself clearly in the first instance.

  • Lee  December 8, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Excellent post and graphic. I’m new to this blog (congrats on the new gig), but your thoughts on reviews are right on. I think the “review stimulation” piece is going to be an especially challenging (for specific vertical markets, that is), interesting space. Will look forward to coming back here to track on it.

  • roma  December 27, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Thanks for sharing your different views.. I think convincing customers will be a big challenge. Being on the crest of a new wave is better than playing catchup.