This is the second iteration of our exclusive series “Secrets to Google Places Success” by our guest blogger Robin Buckley. Take a look at why receiving reviews on Google Places can lead to the ultimate success of your business. There is no question that Google Places is an essential marketing strategy for any local business. One of the most important features of Google Places optimization is quickly becoming focused around reviews.
Reviews are what people want to read before they buy and Google’s business is to know what searchers want, so they are constantly adjusting their results to reflect searcher’s needs.
What has really become interesting is that Google not only ranks Google Places pages high when the have reviews on Google Places but currently it seems that they are ranking businesses ever higher when they have reviews on certain other 3rd party sites, like Yelp, Insider Pages, and others.
So it is now becoming more important than ever to not only list your business on the 3rd party sites but also get reviews on them as well.
It is becoming more obvious that if you want to have strong first page ranking with Google Places for your local keywords then it is important that your strategy includes a plan for acquiring reviews on Goggle and on other directories.
When Google Places first emerged back in September 2010, it would have been easy to rank with just a few reviews, or just a few directory listings. Now you need both. And with only 7% of the Google Places pages having been claimed at the time I am writing this, as more businesses start to claim their place on Google Places, it will get a whole lot more competitive.
The business that starts now collecting reviews and directory listings will be ahead. Those that wait will have a hard time catching up because review volume does not happen overnight. There are only so many reviews a business can realistically receive in a months’ time.
The quality of reviews also seems to play a part in the business listing rankings. A review that says “The food was good” does not seem to get the credit that a more in depth review will get, such as one that goes into a bit more detail about the food, what they ordered, what the other person ordered, what the service was like and describing the atmosphere. It is just better content and of course this makes sense since Goggle’s objective is to give the searcher the best experience possible.
A business should never fake reviews but rather give incentive to customers to leave reviews. Fake reviews can easily be noticed by Google, especially if there are multiple reviews coming from the same IP address for the same business.
Beware of buying reviews from sites like Fiverr.com. You have no control and you have no way of knowing if these people are using different IP addresses for the review process. If a business gets caught with fake reviews it can really have a negative impact on any ranking chances they may have had.
When someone has something negative to say about a business, they seem to be more motivated to leave a bad review than when they have something nice to say about a business. But incentives can help. It is pretty easy to offer a coupon for a free shirt cleaning in exchange for a review, or a discount on the next visit, or whatever you can come up with for your business in order to entice customer reviews. Rewarding employees who can solicit a good review is worth exploring as well.
This all takes a bit of effort but this is the way people are finding businesses to do business with. Social proof is here to stay and in reality it is helping us as business people be better businesses and do a better job. The best advice for getting good reviews is to give great customer service and find a way to stand out.
It’s Your Turn
Let’s hear your guys opinions about the importance of receiving reviews on your business’s Google Places page. Is it worth the time to create incentives to receive reviews, or do you believe Google Places reviews are meaningless? We would love to hear some of your opinions on our Twitter or Facebook pages!
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