Improved Ways to Manage Google Business Reviews
Mobile ease in Getting Google Business Reviews: As digital expands its reach, users are depending on personal reviews that boost business credibility more often when making buying decisions. The mobile revolution has amplified and accelerated the power of online reviews.
Having a significant number of favorable reviews is a top-ranking factor in local SEO. So marketing efforts that lead to a measurable increase in reviews left in Google search can mean a lot of money. You may be more comfortable in the role of serving your customer, so it may be awkward to ask then for a local business review. In this article, we’ll uncover multiple ways to get the task done, as well as the easiest route to obtaining legitimate Google Places reviews. Securing trusted business reviews can have tremendous sway when someone decides to opt for your business over someone else. Then add correct schema markup to your client reviews.
Google is making it easier for individuals to leave a review directly from the Google Knowledge Graph and the Google Maps App, which ties closely to your Google My Business set-up. There are ways to leave a review, but as frequently as things switch, it is time for a quick update. This article seeks to remove barriers and old methods and make this part of marketing easier for small businesses. On December 5, 2015 Barry Schwartz stated on the Google Plus forum for Google Business Reviews that “Google may use your reviews to auto-generate a business description for your local listings. So reviews are kind of important.”
Google is Making it Easier To Leave Reviews
Search Engine Journal put out some welcome news to many: new barriers have dropped that previously challenged some when leaving a Google Business Review. “The first and last name on the individual’s Google+ account will still be appended to the review, so reviews won’t be anonymous but mark a continued separation between Google+ and Google Search,” states the April 3, 2016, article titled Google Reviews Get Easier, No Google+ Required. While easier may not be truly “easy” for the beginner, it has definitely improved!
Once your business listing is claimed, you will be able to manage it from your ‘Google My Business’ app and make edits on Google Maps. Using it is another way to accomplish the same thing, however, my preferred method is to use the mobile app for this. This will likely change as platforms evolve. However, mobile devices are universal among most shoppers today. Additionally, there are reports of some marketers seeing Google Testing Review Snippets in 3-Pack*, so we may expect additional changes in how reviews are displayed in search results. Although requesting and managing reviews can be tedious, it offers multiple benefits: reviews can provide information about your business in words that you didn’t think of. Reviews can give a minor boost to your earned search engine optimization and be incorporated into your landing page as validation when someone clicks on your PPC advertising campaign.
7 Tips to Garner More Google Reviews and Essential Customer Feedback
Tip 1: Be active on Google Platforms. By promoting your Google+ page or Google Posts you are making it easier for clients to leave Google Reviews. Add a review page to your website so others can easily find and read them.
TIP 2: Let no customer doubt that they are your priority. When a customer leaves your business office or store, take advantage of being there in person by giving a fresh smile, handshake, and/or a gift bag, or some form of tangible souvenir that offers a positive token to help them remember their experience. For online clients, a token of your appreciation in the form of a thank you card, or small gift card or online coupon may be a nice gesture.
TIP 3: Point out how often they use Google Maps. Not only have we become used to relying on our GPS, but Google Maps is one leading possibility to help boost your rankings. By procuring reviews from your customers and clients that show up right in their hands on their smartphones, you will stand out from businesses that don’t have them yet.
TIP 4: Make it easy. Offer the steps listed below to help ensure that happy clientele makes the choice to post a review, honest feedback, or give your business high ratings. Time and know-how are typically the biggest barriers, so let’s make the review process as easy and straightforward as possible for your customers.
TIP 5: Be immediate and timely. Some say, “Strike while the happy is still hot”. When a client expresses their pleasure, ask if they mind helping by putting that in writing. Or ask as soon as you have completed the work and they are going over it for final approval. Weeks later the mind may be elsewhere and think in another project.
TIP 6: Stand tall, be bold, and ask. How many reviews might you have missed by never asking? You may even find that you have an amazing response rate. It just isn’t top of mind for many individuals who are glad to once presented with the idea.
TIP 7: Prepare and distribute printed requests and instructions. Create a handy “Requesting a Google Review” infographic, print-out in PDF format, or a handout that is slightly larger than the standard business card: something we commonly hand to customers without even blinking. Bullet the steps they need to follow. Add in your business URL and NAP.
TIP 8: Overcome your own objections. It can work in your business niche. It can work for shy people, too; you need it given Google’s ranking changes. Prospective buyers are seeking reviews. Find someone who writes well and can offer you words that are simple, grateful, and compelling. You may be surprised; some of your clients may be so pleased to be asked, that they go so far as to request being featured on your website along with their review being highlighted.
Online Reviews are a Powerful Contributor to Earned Media
With a sea of choices available, how do consumers avoid becoming overwhelmed with the “paradox of choice” in deciding who to listen to and watch?
Ninety-two percent of Internet users across the globe indicate that they trust earned media, which includes reviews and endorsements from friends and family over any other type of advertising. Nielsen is highly regarded for its report on Global Trust in Advertising, which demonstrates how much we rely of the experience and opinion of people we know and trust.
Google recognizes that. Its more advanced algorithms highlight Google Business Reviews and often display them in the form of rich snippets.
“A transaction today involves more than just an exchange of payment for goods and services. It involves an exchange of data and is a reflection of trust.” –
Consumer Reviews are a Way to Navigate the Trust Economy
Digital marketers are forced to adjust to account for the rising levels of consumer and peer disloyalty that spawns negative reviews. As competition for sales climbs, a general malaise to advertising efforts is creating a bumpy ride for many. Schematics is one way to set your self apart and foster trust.
If reviews are correctly marked up with Google structured data on your web pages, this may be added to your URLs in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Read your Google Search Console Reports to find and fix incorrect review markup.
The more affirmation and online reviews you can draw from your business relationships, the more authoritative your domain becomes and your brand is recognized by consumer as well as search engines. Reviews can come from current and past consumers, employees, media relationships, business partners, investors, and peers. Each of them reflects on the trust you have earned through diligence, professionalism and a great product or service.
Build in a Business Practice of Requesting Reviews
If your business doesn’t already have the practice of asking clients to post reviews for you, take the time as soon as possible to set that in place. There are ways that exist to find someone who will sell you “false reviews” but don’t attempt it. We all look for a real-world and a place to trust is a “real voice”. Listening to what your reviewers say is like an invitation to real conversations that help you become more consumer-centric.
It is important to recognize that Google can and does penalize businesses that pay for reviews. Rather, by providing admirable and inspiring customer service, you will feel confident to ask for reviews at the right time. Ask the clients you serve if they had a positive experience. If yes, then follow up by saying something like: “Would you be willing to give us a review on Google Maps?” If so, follow the steps below.
Google is in control here (Google Business Reviews) and has every reason to insist that these reviews be genuinely drafted and posted by real people WHO USED your services or bought your product. People who have used your services or purchased a product from you can say what they really think. This establishes both the legitimacy and the power of a positive review. Remember that your reviews are public, so anyone can see what has been published. This works in your favor, as potential clientele who are checking out your references will find this reassuring.
4 Primary Ways to Leave a Google Business Review
Google makes it easy for individuals to add reviews in multiple ways. Google Places ranks them automatically and can then display them in SERPs. Our “on the go” mindsets mean that having the ability to write a review immediately after a positive experience may mean whether it ever happens or not.
1. From the Google Knowledge Graph
2. From Your Google Plus Account
3. From Google Maps from your Desktop
4. From the Google Mobile App
90% of customers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. Add a Google Plus (G+) review button to your website and make it easier for everyone.
How to Leave a Google Review VIA THE GOOGLE KNOWLEDGE GRAPH
1. Go to Google Search.
2. Type in the name of the business you want to leave a review for (you may need to add the city and state).
3. If the Google Knowledge Graph pops up on the right, you have it make.
4. Click the “Leave a Review” button.
The way this works: When someone clicks on the “Write a review” button, the review box opens up and the URL correspondingly updates. Google adds the LRD identifier number of your Google+ profile into the URL, which is how it can then be added to your Google Business Listing.
As Google works to improve its many platforms, know that some listings of reviews are slow to display as of yet; however, most are being shown. Google may be attempting to position themselves as the lead spot to leave online customer reviews, which one could imagine involves a matter of considerable time and testing to reach such a goal.
How to Add a Rating and Review ON GOOGLE MAPS FROM YOUR PC
To add a rating and review for a brick-and-mortar business, follow the steps below:
1. Use your computer to open Google Maps after you’re-sign into your Google account.
2. Search for a business location on the map.
On the card that appears below the search box, click Write a review.
4. A window pops up that offers you a chance to select a star score. If you want, you can also write a review.
Note: If you’re using Maps in Lite mode, you won’t be able to add a rating or a review.
6 Steps to Make, Comment on, or Delete Reviews From Google+ on Your PC
1. Go to business.google.com.
2. Sign into your Google account
3. If it is not selected already, click on the “Locations” tab.
4. Find the Business name that you wish to manage reviews for and click on “MANAGE LOCATION”. Or, fill in the name of the business, its city and state.
5. Scroll down and click on the “Reviews” button.
6. Now it is time to write your review. Indicate the quality of service you received by selecting a rating from Poor to Excellent. Consider being generous and select a 5 Star Review if they earned it. Click “Publish” and that’s it!
It is a simple feat for the reviewer. They just need any type of Google account. Such as: Gmail, YouTube, Google Play, Google Drive, Google Take Out (Orkut), or a generic Google account (that uses your own email address).
How to Leave a Google Review VIA THE GOOGLE MOBILE AP
The Google Maps App for iPhone and Android makes simple work of what used to be more of a challenging process.
1. If you don’t already have the app installed, go to the App Store, download, and install it the “Google Maps” app (Android users have this map application by default).
2. Log in to your Google+ profile (or create one).
3. Open the Google Maps App on your iPhone, Android phone, iPad or tablet.
4. Type in the business name and city you wish to leave a review for. Or use your current location to find it – if you are at the place of business while leaving the review.
5. If it already has some reviews, click on the stars under the map.
6. Scroll down to “Review Summary” where you will see five empty stars. Select your review level 1 star being the poorest and 5 stars is the highest review rating. (go for 5!).
7. Write your review.
8. Hit “done”.
Smartphone users are capturing the lead in pure numbers. Personally, I have become dependent on my mobile phone and use it in more ways than I ever anticipated. Many individuals are like this; that means that posting a review from their phone will be easy, fast, and familiar for them. You can add them to your Google Posts for potential buyers to read and feel assured.
To Edit, Delete, and Leave Google Reviews all in one place from your Desktop
Google makes it easy for individuals to add, edit and delete reviews directly within your Google Plus Account in a “one-stop effort”. Google Places ranks them automatically and can then display them in SERPs.
A variety of factors will influence your map ranking, after you have a complete and accurate NAP (name, address, and phone number) information entered and verified. Next, reviews can have bearing on your ranking as well. Check frequently. You may find priceless awareness into what clients deem valuable about your business.
Follow the steps below:
On your computer, open Google Maps.
In the top left, click the main menu.
Click Your contributions.
To edit a review, click Edit review.
To delete a review, click Delete review.
To create a new review:
a. Click on “Learn more” that is at the bottom of the text that is revealed.
b. Then enter the name of the business you want to leave a review for in the search box that is revealed. (This works if your turned on your location history.
c. If it isn’t found, follow the directions that drop-down below the search box.
NOTE: At present, your Google+ business listing’s Knowledge Graph will display rich snippets of the reviews that others have left on your Google business listing. Don’t balk at one negative business review out of many. Assign someone to the role of stay on top of your reviews to make sure you are on top of it. And if you receive a harsh one, take action and respond immediately!
Statistics that Support Why Business Reviews Matter Alot
In lieu of the work it takes, we understand why businesses often put off the task of developing and executing a solid consumer review strategy. Digital marketers and SEO professionals focused on local search know that it takes more than just accruing review, it takes obtaining great reviews, new reviews, relevant reviews and trusted reviews. Real potential buyers read them seeking for answer s to their questions, offer assurance, and help them learn about a product’s quality so their expectations are met after the buy.
Brian Sparker, CEO of Review Trackers participated in an August 1, 2017 How Reviews Impact Local SEO article posted by Smart Insights, there is a high value list of statistics that support the importance of gaining online business reviews:
• 49 percent of consumers always or often check online reviews
• 72 percent trust reviews as much as they do recommendations from friends and family
• Online reviews make up 13 percent of what gets you in the local pack
• Reviews are one of the top 7 factors determining organic local search rankings
• Only 13 percent of consumers will consider buying from a business with a 1- or 2-star rating
• 4 in 5 will reverse their purchase decisions after reading negative reviewsM
• 55 percent will not consider a business with negative reviews and ratings
• 800 words of review text can make up as much as 70 percent of fresh content for your page
Don’t Miss Being Involved in Client Conversations
If your business is not actively engaged in asking for and responding to online reviews, your brand is still most likely being talked about somewhere and you are unaware of it. In the long run, it’s far better to participate positively in these conversations than to be ignorant of them.
Tips to Promote your Business On Google Plus And Garner Reviews
Here are key SEO strategies to promote your Google+ page and increase the number of followers your business has.
• Generate a new Google + post frequently, at a minimum of once per day if possible. This will keep your profile fresh and in front of your followers. Potential new contacts are more likely to adopt an interest with your business if you engage in communities, are recognized as an industry expert, and have a complete profile.
• Integrate your Google Business Listing page and posts by linking to your website. This typically increased traffic to your web pages and improves engagement with your customers, followers and fans.
• Install the Google+ badge to your web pages. While you can use social share buttons to help increase your followers, the Google+ badge offers additional benefits because it means that Google can then consolidate +1’s from your website as well as your Google+ page.
• Create a custom Google Plus URL for your Google Business Listing. Add your URL to your email signature and offline marketing materials to help your existing clients and those you are communicating with to easily find your Google Business page.
• Link Paid Google Express AdWords Account: You can integrate your Google Plus page if you are running an AdWords Express campaign. The result is that your linked campaigns can then refer back to your Google+ page.
Build a Culture of Leaving Google Reviews for Other Businesses
We encourage people to leave positive reviews whenever they can. Overly negative, upset people tend to spread news more often, while a case could be made that by rewarding excellent services, we contribute to a more positive business environment. As always, be mindful of what you post online. Google says that “If you have a Google Account, we may display …. actions you take on Google or on third-party applications connected to your Google Account (such as +1’s, reviews you write and comments you post).”
If you have Location History turned on, you can see a list of places you’ve visited that you make it simple for you to leave a review. To see the list, follow the steps below.
How to Create a Google Account without a Google Email Address
If you don’t have or want a Google email address, there is a new work-a-round. Is it possible to create a Google Account WITHOUT having to create a Gmail address? You can use your own business email address that has your domain extension to create your Google account! Use this URL: accounts.google.com/signupwithoutgmail
The BIG “No”: Do Not Incentivize Reviews
It is essential to understand that your review management and generation efforts should not include “incentivizing” your reviews. If your business requests customers to post a review, don’t include giving them a reward or incentive of any sort.
There are ethical and non-ethical ways to generate online reviews. You will need to be bold enough to ask customers to write and post them for you, on major sites like TripAdvisor, Google Maps, and ReviewTracker. Gaining positive reviews is an important aspect of any reputation management program, as long as you do it ethically.
Yes, giving a discount on products or services to reviewers is classified by Google as giving them incentives. Take for example, the FTC February 27, 2015, cracked down on an auto shipment broker called AmeriFreight for misrepresenting customer reviews to other consumers. According to the FTC’s press release, the business failed to state the fact that it compensated reviewers with rewards (i.e. $50 discounts) and was therefore guilty of deceptively representing that it’s (supposedly) astounding brand reputation and great client reviews were based on the unbiased opinions of its clientele.
It helps to take a close look at what was specified in the FTC’s complaint, by understanding exactly where and how it violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by failing to disclose that they remunerated people for their online reviews.
Specifically, copied word for word from the complaint, the respondents:
- Provided consumers with a discount of $50 off the cost of AmeriFreight’s services if consumers agreed to review the company’s services online, and increased the cost by $50 if consumers did not agree to write a review;
- Provided consumers with “Conditions for receiving a discount on reviews,” which said that if they leave an online review, they will be automatically entered into a $100 per month “Best Monthly Review Award” for the most creative subject title and “informative content”;
- Contacted consumers after their cars had been shipped to remind them of their obligation to complete a review to receive the “online review discount,” and qualify for the $100 award;
- Failed to disclose the material connection between the company and their consumer endorsers — namely, that AmeriFreight compensated consumers to post online reviews;
- Deceptively represented that its favorable reviews were based on the unbiased reviews of customers.
“With a blog post, testimonial, review or celebrity endorsement, if there is any form of compensation or close relationship between the party giving the endorsement and the business receiving it, it is required that the relationship is made explicit. It is now clear that these rules apply to online reviews for local businesses as well.” – Mike Blumenthal of Local U
So while it is true that you can improve your search results with reviews, only go about it in an ethical manner. Reviews are a vital aspect of small businesses SEO, in particular, getting heard online. Overcome the hurdles, get educated, and be bold to ask the right way.
The Google Review Platform Empowers Consumers to Spread Ideas
We are experiencing a fundamental shift in the way consumers engage and make purchases online. Explosive technology advances are reshaping digital marketing. As website owners and marketers, we recognize that media no longer controls advertising messages – consumers do. Consumer reviews empower customers to feel heard and leave messages that others benefit from. Consumers who feel free to post their personal purchasing experiences continue to empower other buyers to feel confident in buying decisions.
The principals of good business are rewarded when people believe they are more in control of where and how they shop and are able to spread ideas in their own voice. Some say that your brand is what others say about you. Today, e-Commerce sites leverage JSON on product reviews to build trust and assure potential buyers that they are reputable.
The principals of good business are rewarded when people believe they are more in control of where and how they shop and are able to spread ideas in their own voice.
The typical Internet users quickly assess a trust factor when conducting an online search and are influenced by what others say in reviews. If your business is indicated for its quality of your services in Google reviews, that is a powerful way to stand out in a crowded market. In Google’s Local Pack once your business has obtained 5 reviews you can show up in SERPs being accompanied by 5 gold stars. This is a highly desired accomplishment as once having attained this threshold, these reviews have been shown to increase click-through-rate (CTR) by as much as 20%.
Link your eCommerce shopping experience to your review solution to set-up an auto-generated send review requests to your clients every time a purchase is completed. You gain from their insights found in feedback which can turn into pivotal improvements in customer satisfaction levels and retention rates.
“No matter how great their experience may be, very few customers are going to go out of their way to find out where to submit a review or rate your business. Make it as easy as possible for customers to share their experience by sending them a direct link.” – Zozi**
“If you are a small business, visibility in the Google maps listings is crucial.” – High Ranking Websites
“While your business benefits from gaining great reviews, they also help others uncover the places, products, and services that are ideal for them.” – Hill Web Marketing
“If the person literally has no Google Account, they will be asked to create one within Maps, and then they will be asked to sign-up for Google+. BUT if they have any type of login, they will just be asked to “continue as you” without any mention of Google+. The thought of joining Google+ is what puts most people off from leaving a review and Google Maps on your phone is a way around this.” – Techwyse.com
How to Ask for Google Reviews Without a Google Plus Account
Many reviews can be posted “somewhere” online, but this article addresses how to do so for your Google+ Local Business and Google Places Reviews.
Some individuals shy away from asking others for a favor or to get something done. If this is true for you when it comes to requesting Google business reviews, start with reading up and acknowledging just how significant of a huge impact it will have when achieved. Frequently prospective buyers make a choice based on reviews. You may gain needed visibility and a convincing online presence over a competitor, by reducing your barriers and the barriers of those who are willing to leave a review.
Google+ is a thriving online social community, and now it is easier for the average taxi cab driver, a dental patient, business owner or retired person to do so. We can help you add a Google Review Button to your site. For those perhaps more familiar with using Facebook instead, this will make super easy! But for your business to thrive online, you need your own verified and optimized Google Business Listing.
NOTE: you need a Google My Business Listing to best manage your Google Business Reviews. If you do not already have one, below are instructions on how to get started.
How to Create a Google My Business Account
These are instructions work for creating a Google My Business account for most individuals who own a business. If you need further help, please call Jeannie Hill at 651-206-2410 and I will assist you.
1. Open up a new browser tab to business.google.com/create
2. Select the best business type from the following options:
a. Storefront: Choose this if customers walk into your brick and mortar location
b. Service Area: Choose this if you travel to engage clientele at their homes or another address
c. Brand: Choose this if neither of the other options listed above applies to you (such as a professional athletic team, performance band, non-profit cause, etc.)
3. Type your business name exactly as it is filed with your state. Alternatively, type your business address into the search bar
4. Should the name of your business show up AND your business has already been verified by another individual, take steps to recover your account. Click on the listing and instructions to recover your account will be displayed.
5. If your business name is not listed, click “This doesn’t match”, and then add your business.
6. Fill out your business information and continue through the steps to create your Google My Business account.
The Google Review Platform Empowers Consumers to Spread Ideas
We are experiencing a fundamental shift in the way consumers engage and make purchases online. Explosive technology advances are reshaping digital marketing. As website owners and marketers, we recognize that media no longer controls advertising messages – consumers do. Consumer reviews empower customers to feel heard and leave messages that others benefit from. Consumers who feel free to post their personal purchasing experiences continue to empower other buyers to feel confident of buying decisions. Additionally, they are assured by other’s experience when they can easily find and read reviews in the Google local pack results.
The principals of good business are rewarded when people believe they are more in control of where and how they shop and are able to spread ideas in their own voice.
If you have benefited from our website or services, be social and share with others. We value your favorable opinion and partnership!
While this may seem like a long article for you as a business owner to read, rest assured – it is easier for the reviewer. They may want to choose their own way of going about doing it. All they have to do is follow the simple steps in your email or on your handout. If they know what they want to say, it typically requires approximately 3 minutes from start to finish. Improving your online reputation is easier than ever. It is a must-do task to most every successful online business.
Hill Web Marketing endeavors to “listen and hear” the customer in all that we do. New markets, technology, and channels will always continue to expand and improve. However, there is only one medium – the consumer. Honest reviews and feedback are always welcome and encouraged. I find my clients are very willing to comment, but they appreciate these steps to make it fast and easy.
Do you need help to gain reviews? And be sure potential customers you need who read them?
Call 651-206-2410 and request our Minneapolis Digital Marketing
SOURCE top image: found on flicker by Garry Knight