One of the most important elements to your positioning within Google's local business listings, commonly called the local box, is getting reviews from customers directly on your Google Places business page. Along with making sure all of your local directories are built, claimed and updated with the correct information, scoring reviews to your Google Places business page is vital to the health of your local search visibility.
For many businesses, this can be a daunting task. Generally, people don’t sound off when they receive the service they expect. However, if they feel slighted, you can bet they will be more inclined to let you and the rest of the online world know about it. Leaving a bad review on your Google business page is one of the quickest and easiest ways a disgruntled customer can retaliate.
As a best practice for improving website rankings and building positive branding every local business with a Google Places page needs to encourage positive reviews whenever possible. Getting reviews should not be a one time thing, nor should you let the whims of your customers determine when reviews are offered.
Below are a few recommendations that will make getting reoccurring Google business reviews a relatively pain-free process:
Getting More Google Business Reviews
For someone to post a review on your business page, that reviewer will need to have a Google account, as you must be logged into Google to post a review. This can be the biggest hurdle in obtaining reviews. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has a Google account. Those people that do not have a Google account may not be willing to create one just to give you a review. For those customers who do have a Google account, it is a most definitely a worthwhile effort and by no means a waste of time.
The easiest way to get a review is to simply ask customers for a review by providing them with a link to your Google Places business page. If you have people always walking through your door everyday, a smart idea would be to setup a laptop or tablet and ask them to post a review right at your location. If you service customers in their home, having a laptop or tablet available at the time of the service can be an excellent way to solicit a review to the satisfied customer. If that option is not feasible, have cards printed requesting a review. Make sure to include the web address for your Google page.
Another easy way to get reviews is to request reviews on your Facebook business page by posting a link to your Google business page. It is safe to assume that if someone is a fan on your Facebook page they are a fan of your business. Email newsletter are also a great place to request a review. These same strategies will work with your Twitter following and your Google circles as well.
If reviews are hard to get for your business try offering an incentive. Within your communications where reviews are requested, offer to provide a discount or gift card to those who provide a review. Something like a monthly drawing for an Amazon gift card awarded to customers who leave reviews can produce regular results.
Obviously you want positive reviews posted to your Google business page, but negative reviews will inevitably show up as well. There is no way to have a review removed, but if you receive negative reviews, the best thing to do is to respond to the negative review in a positive manner. Include an offer to rectify the issue that caused the poor review or at least apologize for any perceived problems. You may not be able to satisfy everyone, but you don't want to leave the impression that you don't care about those reviewers when they do complain.
There are numerous ways to engage with your customers in a positive way that will make asking for a review simple. Some testing may be needed to determine exactly what works best for your operation, but once you have a successful review process in place, work it every week.
Reviews not only provide an unbiased opinion of your business, but a quick Google search will show that businesses with the most reviews are almost always at the top of the Google local box. And who do you think gets more clicks - businesses with no reviews or businesses with a healthy amount of customer feedback?