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Why Google Business Reviews Can Supercharge Your Local 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.

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According to Mike Blumenthal’s Study:

46% of people read reviews first!! 

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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

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Where Does Google Show Reviews

Just have a look at the front page results of a local Google search and see how it is littered with reviews:

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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.

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 persuading customers to login 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!

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Ask Customer To Post Reviews

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.

I cover over the page how to best ask for reviews, but beforehand just a few warnings about what not to do:

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Health Warnings When Asking For Reviews

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 prise draw (but if you were to do this offline would Google or the other sites catch you??)
  • Buy reviews on Fiverrr – big no no
  • Lots of Reviews in a short space of time – if this happen this does not look natural, so try and get maybe one or two reviews (especially on Google, per month).

You get the picture. 

OK, so how do I then get reviews? See next page. 

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Where To Ask Customers To Post 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 best – but there are problems!!

As you would expect, it is the Google Reviews that carry 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.

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Where Else to Ask Customers To Publish Reviews

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.

Places you can ask you customers to post reviews:

Yell Yahoo Yelp Qype
Bing The Best Of Facebook Foresquare

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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 and online review is an effort – so make it easy for them

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1 – Review Hand-out Generatorimage025

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

Whitespark have 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

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 2 – Put a sign on the counter

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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)

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3 – Ask for a review on your printed marketing

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 you 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.

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

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4 – Ask for review via and email follow up

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 upto 3 emails gently asking for 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

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5 – Create review pages on your website

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

Below are two examples of web pages you could add to your site: 

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Fundamentally you have to remember that even before the internet that positive reviews were good for business; as people like to buy from businesses who have given a good service to many other people.

For this very reason reviews are now very important online; for Google recognises this and positive reviews in the right places will assist your Google Places rankings; plus when people actually visit your website they are more likely to buy.

So whilst there are always more efficient ways of doing things; please just remember that if you sell a good product and provide a good service that you will attract good reviews, but only if you ask for them.

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jonCollecting 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 review online as possible (for this is where your customers will see them!). If you would like more help on where to put these reviews, or would like someone else to take on this particular activity, or have any other areas of online marketing that you would like to talk through with someone, please contact us for a free no obligation chat on 01883 576 001.

Thanks for reading. Jonathon

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