Google’s been messing with local search of late. Now there are only three listings in the local search results, and they’ve pulled back from Google Plus and moved everyone over to Google My Business. It’s frustrating because it’s really not obvious how to get reviews on the Google My Business page.
Why is this important? You read reviews and make buying decisions based on them. So do your friends and customers. I’ll bet that you carefully scrutinize the Amazon.com reviews before you make a purchase. If you see too many bad reviews, you’re going to go look at something else.
Are there lots of awesome reviews? The sale is made. As an example, I just purchased a set of bedsheets, and on Amazon, it had over 12,000 reviews. Wow. So I felt pretty confident that what I was buying was going to be a good purchase.
It follows that when people consider hiring your company or purchasing from your company, they’re going to check out your online reviews too. I’ve written about this before that you have to manage your online reputation, or it can come back to bite you.
The Two Major Review Sites
The two major business review sites that show up in Google’s search engines are Yelp and Google My Business (formerly Google+). Yelp reviews also show up in Bing search results. By nurturing reviews in Yelp, you’re going to influence purchasers who are looking for the best company to work with.
A friend of mine recently wanted me to review his online marketing. He has a carpet cleaning company, and has done a great job of getting lots of 5-star reviews on Yelp – he has as of today, 87 five-star reviews + 26 great reviews that Yelp has hidden (don’t get me started on that topic). But he’s done a great job of building a terrific online reputation.
Unfortunately, on Google, he only has a handful of reviews. I encouraged him to start working on getting the Google reviews because those do show up in Google searches. Here you can see that he has eight 5-star reviews, and his competition has none. That really makes him stand out, but he needs more in case his competition decides to start working on that too.
How To Get “Google My Business” Reviews
People tend be quick to leave negative reviews when they’ve had a bad experience, but they don’t think to leave a good review when it’s been good. With the new Google My Business, it’s not obvious how to leave reviews. With G+, I could at least send people to my G+ web address that actually had my company name in it. Now you have to:
- Go to https://maps.google.com
- Search for your company name
- You’ll get a big old ugly URL that looks like this (this is my carpet cleaner friend’s business):
- Tell your customer to scroll down and click the “Write a Review” link
Bleah. I don’t want to tell my customers to do all that. They won’t do it.
Instead, get that big old ugly long URL and put it in bit.ly to shorten it to something meaningful. If you have a free account, you can even customize the bit.ly URL to something friendly that you can put on a business card, postcard leave-behind, or whatever you want.
As an example, here’s my link: bit.ly/basea-gmb (GMB for Google My Business). Now I can easily print that on something (back of a business card, flyer, or whatever else), and it’s easy to remember if I need to tell someone the address.
When you complete a job, always ask your customers, “Please tell us how we’re doing by leaving a review for us.” Some will, some won’t. That’s fine. Don’t nag them, just ask once and walk away.
I guarantee that once you start working on those reviews, it will absolutely influence buyers and tip them in your favor the more you have.
If you’re looking to get more comfortable with Google My Business, SEA offers a GMB fundamentals course.