The Importance Of Reviews In Google Places
Local small businesses must have a Google Places strategy – just like years past when businesses had a Yellow Pages strategy. This free service from Google allows business owners to claim their business name and post accurate and relevant business information including address, phone number, website and hours of operation in the proper business category.
An essential part of Google Places is the review section. This is where current customers leave reviews for businesses. Analysts have studied Google’s local ranking algorithm, and businesses with the most reviews, move higher up in the Google Places rankings.
Of course, the higher a business is placed in rankings, the more traffic they will receive. Google Places and Google Maps are integrated to help individuals find the businesses in their communities, or while on the road. It is essential that businesses optimize their Google Places listing and that the listing be representative of their website. Optimizing the listing must include relevant keywords, but just like content on a website, it cannot be too keyword heavy, or it will be deemed as Spam.
Here are a few hints for optimizing the Google Places listing:
- Choose the category selection that best reflects core business
- Use keywords responsibly in the description
- Double and triple check the accuracy of address, phone number, and website information
- Update business hours when they change for holidays
- Upload a photo of the front of the building so customers can easily identify the business
- Add a Google Place listing for each additional location
When the Google search engine algorithms that rank your website determine a website’s ranking, they use a number of factors, including the number reviews. Google crawls the web looking for reviews written by customers; both on the Google Places site, as well as external sites including local business directories, Yelp, and more.
Encourage customers to leave reviews on these sites to help businesses increase their visibility and rankings. One option is to provide customers with the directions on how to leave a review. These can be mailed to customers on a postcard, emailed, or handed out the physical location; a sample is below:
7 Easy Steps To Review Our Business (“ABC Restoration”)
- Visit www.google.com
- Search for business (“ABC Restoration”)
- Look for our Google Places listing
- Click on “Write a Review”
- Honestly rank us be 1 and 5 (5 being the highest)
- Write a review
- Click “Publish”
Thank you for your time and effort. We acknowledge that our success is due to our customers.
After asking customers to review their business on Google and other third party sites, it is important that they follow-up with comments and responses to the reviews left behind. A Google Places strategy is not a one-time and done avenue for increasing visibility. Like all marketing techniques, it requires ongoing massaging and tweaking as needed. The more reviews that are placed, the better the search engine algorithms will rank the businesses. Additionally, the more businesses interact with their customers through reviews, the more likely their customers will be to review them again.
When a potential local customer is searching for a business in their area, they turn primarily to Google, and other search engines including Yahoo!, Bing, and others. The reason more and more are turning to searching on Google is the interactive nature of Google Places together with Google Maps. It takes the legwork out of finding a local business, the address, and the driving directions on how to get there. Business owners that are looking for ways to increase internet traffic, must have a comprehensive Google Places strategy in place to manage the content and reviews on their listing.
Push Local specializes in online marketing for small businesses including plumbing contractors. Our services include search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, map marketing, and local directory submissions. Some of the organic terms we go after for plumbers include: Oceanside drain cleaning, Oceanside rooter service, fallbrook drain cleaning, and fallbrook rooter service. Push Local has shown continued success marketing for plumbing contractors with a number of clients currently ranking number one for their targeted organic search terms.