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Why Google Business Reviews Can Supercharge Your Local Google Rankings

An image showing Google rankings

I bet the last time you bought something on Amazon of the main things you looked at was the customer’s reviews to find out other peoples opinion on the product and customer service?

A product at the right price online with lots of positive reviews is a very compelling proposition?

Customer reviews are therefore extremely important for your business and Local SEO.

According to Mike Blumenthal’s Study:

46% of people read reviews first!! 

See Mike’s full survey at:

www.mosesandrooth.com/blog/2012/12/-i-cannot-tell-you.shtml
http://blumenthals.com/blog/2012/12/04/consumer-survey-where-do-clients-find-specialty-lawyers-not-at-facebook


Reviews Are Good For Your Google Rankings

Lots of positive customer reviews on your Google Places listing (as long as they are done in the right way) generally have a very positive impact in your Google Places ranking.An image of a 5 star review

If you have a well set up listing and get more reviews that your competitor’s, then this is one of the factors that will help you rank better than them.

The devil though is within the detail as:

  • It’s difficult to persuade customers to log in to Google and actually give you the review and
  • Google is highly sensitive to fake reviews, and sometimes does not post or deletes genuine reviews thinking they are actually fake!

Despite though the difficulties in getting reviews, the rewards are worth the effort!

Still having a little doubt, find out why ‘Online Reviews Are The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Small Businesses‘.


Ask Customer To Post ReviewsAn image of thumbs up and thumbs down

Whilst I’m sure all your customers love your business, in reality, most will not post you a review unless you ask them to.

Collecting customer reviews and asking them to post them online should, therefore, become a normal part of your day to day business – this will help you online and be hugely valuable for all your other marketing materials.

Google even offers their own tips on how to generate a review. Click here to see what they have to say.


Health Warnings When Asking For ReviewsAn image of a scam road sign

If reviews are positive to Google rankings, then it’s obvious that people will put up fake reviews to boost their rankings and reputation.

Google and other review websites are therefore becoming increasingly sophisticated in catching fake reviews; and discouraging practices that encourage fake reviews.

If they catch you at best you’ll have the review removed, at worst you’ll have your listing taken down!

Just a few things not to do:

  • Lots of reviews coming from one computer – so you cannot set up a computer in your premises and ask customers to put a review there, you will need to ask them to write the review at home
  • Review Contents – for example, give us a review and you will be entered into a prize draw (but if you were to do this offline would Google or the other sites catch you??)
  • Buy reviews on Fiverr – big no no
  • Lots of Reviews in a short space of time – if this happens this does not look natural, so try and get maybe one or two reviews (especially on Google, per month).

You get the picture. 

Are you worried that you may receive a poor review? Find out ‘Why You Can’t Really Trust Negative Online Reviews


Where To Ask Customers To Post ReviewsAn image of people leaving reviews

There are lots of places where customers can put reviews, from on your own website to other review sites such as Review Centre, Qype etc.

So where should you ask your customers to place reviews?

Google Reviews are the best – but there are problems!!

As you would expect, it is the Google Reviews that carry the most weight in your Google rankings directly affecting the position of your Google Places listing.

So you would expect that my recommendation would be to just get all your reviews in Google?

My advice is to not get all your reviews in Google for the following reasons:

  • Google does not publish many genuine reviews as it thinks they are fake!!!!
  • Many of your customers will not have a Google account so it’s a pain for them to sign up before giving you a review – if it’s a pain most will not do it
  • Reviews on Google have been known to just disappear for no reason

10 reviews that appear on other websites with less review strength are still far better than 10 reviews on Google that do not show!

I recommend a strategy that promotes regular customer reviews on a range of online websites. For a little extra insight and guidance, please click here.


Where Else to Ask Customers To Publish ReviewsAn image of a cartoon computer

You need to ask customers to post reviews in a place that is convenient for them.

  • If they have a Yahoo! email address this will be on Yahoo!
  • If they use Facebook it could be on Facebook

Google Places does sometimes ‘pull in’ reviews from third-party web sites so these do have SEO value.

Check out the ‘Top 10 Review Websites to Get More Customer Reviews


4 Ways To Get Online Customer Reviews

The following section lists some ideas for getting customers reviews; there is no definitive way of getting reviews doing this as every business is different, though the following should give you a few ideas as to how you could get your review process going.

For your customers giving an online review is an effort – to make it easy for themAn image of a thumb up and thumb down icon

1 – Review Hand-out Generator

One way to make Google Reviews easier is to give your customers clear instruction on how they do actually give the online review.

Whitespark has created a fantastic tool for creating personalised review instructions for Google Places; follow the link below and use it!

www.whitespark.ca/review-handout-generator


2 – Put a sign on the counterAn image of a review sign

If you have physical premises, put a sign on your counter or pay points along with business cards your customers can take away which tells them nice and clearly how to actually give the review.

(Forget the QR code though, that does not really work)

Have you ever noticed a QR code before? Whilst they may not be appropriate for reviews, find out ‘What Is A QR Code And Why Do You Need One?


3 – Ask for a review on your printed marketingAn image of a blackboard saying feedback

Similar to No 1, but within your printed marketing ask for a Google Review.

Maybe after a customer has bought something from you send them a thank you card and ask for a review?

You could try and incentivise your customers to do this, but you do need to be very careful as this is against Google guidelines and if you are found out your listing could be barred!! So if you do it be aware of the risks and do not get caught, which means keeping this offline.

Incentivising customers to give you reviews is against Google’s guidelines, so do this at your own risk!

Find out more about the dangers of incentivising reviews here.


4 – Ask for review via an email follow upAn image of a cartoon social media campaign

Email your customers to ask for a review.

The advantage of this method has is that you can include links in your email to web pages which makes the process for your customer much easier.

The disadvantage is that people generally take less notice of emails; so you may need to send out a lot to get a few people doing something!

Some pointers:

  • Send up to 3 emails gently asking for a review – keep it light as you do not want your customers to feel as if you are harassing them
  • Include clear instructions on to they give the review
    • Be very grateful for the business

Check out this helpful guide for how to respond to both good and bad reviews – https://blog.hubspot.com/service/respond-to-google-reviews


5 – Create review pages on your websiteAn image stars being given to a review

Review pages on your website can be a great way to make the review process that much easier for your customers.

Collecting customers reviews is an activity which generally is best carried out by the business themselves; for this will help you to really connect with your customers, though to get maximum benefit we do recommend getting as many of these reviews online as possible (for this is where your customers will see them!).

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