Google Reviews And Your Local Business

Google Reviews And Your Local Business

Google is a big beast – the most visited search engine in the world, it processes 3.5 billion searches every day and is increasing by about 10% year-on-year. You may think your small, locally-focused business can’t really benefit from Google, but the truth is, it really can: Google’s facilities for local businesses are some of the most important online marketing tools you could ever hope to utilise, and best of all – they’re free!

One of the greatest tools available for local businesses online is Google Reviews; yet these are often feared by small enterprises. We’ve all read news articles of small businesses going ‘rogue’ on Google Reviews and writing witty, harsh or firm responses, but this aside, there’s real business benefit to be gained from using the service correctly.

Here, we uncover the ins, outs and optimisation potential of Google Reviews to identify how best they can contribute to your online marketing efforts.

What Are Google Reviews?

Google Reviews form part of  Google My Business functionality online. Alongside the business information lodged with Google for search users to find, (such as your name, address, business information, opening hours, directions and website details) users can leave a review on how they found their experience with your company.

All of this information combined reassures Google that your business is real, does what it says, and that it is in fact located where you say it is. Google will feature your local business alongside others on Google Maps, and rank businesses in order of what the algorithm determines to be most relevant to each users search criteria.

Google Reviews are (should be!) honest and unbiased customer experiences documented as part of your Google My Business online presence. They’re similar to TripAdvisor type reviews; written by individuals, but within Google and not hosted on a third-party website.

How Do Google Reviews Work?

Google Reviews are written by customers who choose to take the time to write them. When a Google user is on a Google My Business listed, they’ll see the option to ‘Write A Review’. They can then go on to complete a form with a 1 to 5 star rating, and share their thoughts, feelings and experiences on their interactions with your company. This review will then be posted alongside any others on your Google My Business listing.

Local businesses aren’t able to write reviews on themselves, but they do have the option to respond. Businesses should (must!) respond to all reviews – positive, neutral or negative! In some cases, if you suspect a Google Review to be unfair or fake, a request can be submitted for it to be removed.

How Do Google Reviews Impact Search Rankings?

Google Reviews may seem like just another part of the many online marketing priorities small businesses have to juggle, but in fact, they’re very important!

Google Reviews add a great degree of authenticity to your Google My Business listing and increase the algorithm’s judgement of ‘trustworthiness’ from your brand. Local businesses with reviews will rank higher in the SERP (Search Engine Page Results) than those without reviews, and will feature a snippet of a positive review (if there is one) in the shortened version of the listing. Googles search algorithm changes all the time, but at present, Google Reviews are only second behind otherwise organic search ranking in their SEO priorities. This means that a local business’ first priority should be basic SEO; and their second, Google Reviews.

Google likes reviews because they confirm the credibility of your business as well as provide a good indication of how well you’re thought of in the local area, and the quality of your products or services.

Why Do Google Reviews Matter?

When customers (both potential and existing) search for local products or services, they know that what they’re seeing is primarily a marketing presence – after all, we all understand that it’s 2020 and we need to present ourselves well online when we’re talking business.

This means that more than ever, people value genuine, personal experiences shared; it’s the digital version of the typical word-of-mouth recommendations that business have thrived on for years! Google’s algorithm agrees and embraces third-party independent news and views on your company and its products and services. Without Google Reviews, everything on your Google My Business is technically just marketing.

How Can I Encourage Customers To Leave Google Reviews?

Of course, the success of your Google Reviews is dependent on actually having them, and it’s an important for you to make it as easy as possible for your customers to leave you a review. There are lots of ways to encourage your customers to leave you one, and these include (but are not limited to):

  • Set up a bespoke link for your business’ Google Reviews so that it’s as easy as possible for Google users to access the ‘write a review’ page (this is easily done through your Google My Business suite)
  • Email customers after their purchase/visit, share with them the link to leave a review, and ask if they would’t mind
  • Include a link to leave a Google Review on your regular email newsletters
  • Post a link to leave a Google Review on your social media channels
  • Showcase the best reviews and share them to social media channels – people are often more likely to leave one if they think you may share their words onwards
  • Take onboard any constructive feedback given in reviews and respond to them stating how you intend to enact any changes. People love to feel as though they’ve contributed positively!

How Else Can I Utilise Google Reviews Of My Business?

Shout about your reviews! Your website designer will be able to channel recent reviews directly from Google to your website so that any visitors will be able to view them. Also share your 5 star rated reviews on your social media channels to increase their visibility.

Woya Digital is making business growth through digital marketing affordable for any business through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment! If you’re a local business owner looking to increase your business visibility, check us out and get in touch!

 

 

 

The Importance Of Google My Business For Local Business Marketing

The Importance Of Google My Business For Local Business Marketing

Small, local business marketing can be challenging – it can so often feel like your message is lost, in the ether of big-budget firms investing heavily in ad campaigns and influencer sponsorship. Interestingly, the biggest of the big corporations has designed it’s own features to encourage small business growth online without having to heavily invest in social media marketing – introducing Google My Business.

What Is Google My Business?

Google My Business (GMB) is the all-encompassing Google facility for small businesses, allowing them to carve out their niche in both their local area and with a wider audience online. GMB gives a local business marketing opportunity in the midst of its huge global presence.

When you google a business, if it has an office, shop or location, you’ll find a listing to the right-hand side of the top search engine results with its basic details: name, photo, address, phone number, other contact details, opening hours, link to website. This information is all populated from a GMB account and gives a premium overview of small business information.

Google My Business also increases your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This helps to boost your web presence, ensures your name and address appear on Google Maps when users search online locally, and gives the ability for those searching on Google to access reviews on your business. All of these features help drastically with online business growth online.

How Much Does Google My Business Cost?

Unlike most local business marketing, GMB is completely free to use! Businesses are free to invest into paid search and other advertising practices on Google if they so choose to, but to claim and maintain a Google My Business listing, is free.

How To Claim Your Local Business Listing

Claiming your GMB listing couldn’t be easier. Simply go to www.google.com/business and sign up to a new account if you don’t already have one. Follow the instructions and fill out the relevant online form to start the process.

For security purposes, and in order to fully verify that you are the owner of the business you’re trying to claim on GMB, a postcard will be sent in the post to your primary business address. Once received, follow the instructions on the card to unlock and activate your listing.

Why Is It Important for Local Business Marketing?

Google is the search engine master, with over 63,000 searches completed per second every day of the week. The word ‘Google’ has become a verb, and it is now by default the easiest and quickest research option for people all over the globe – no matter their query.

To put it simply: where you don’t appear, your competitors will. With Google being the default search engine for most people, it makes sense for your small business to be front and centre of their related queries… and if you’re not, they’ll end up going to your nearest competitor.

Post On Google My Business

Businesses don’t need to make much extra effort to post to their GMB any more or considerably differently than they would their usual social media presence. It is important to post regularly, but posts can be re-purposed from other social media channels. Just amend post text wording so the content isn’t entirely identical, and you’re good to go!

Google loves varied content, so when posting to Google My Business, be sure to mix it up. A good variety of updates and text, photos and offers will keep the algorithm happy and ensure your small business shines.

Local business marketing has come a long way since it relied on notices in parish newsletters, signs by the sides of roads and leaflets posted through doors. Now, business of every shape, size and type need to have an online presence and Google My Business is the ideal way to manage just that. A call to action can still encourage both potential and existing customers to contact you in the manner of your preference, but positions you as experts in your field and as ‘top of the listings’ when anyone searches for anything related nearby.

You may only serve and sell locally – but your customers may now come from all over!

 

Woya Digital is making business growth through digital marketing affordable for any business through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment! If you’re a local business owner looking to increase your business visibility, check us out and get in touch!