If you run a local business, then Google Reviews are important for your rankings and traffic from search.
Since the Local ‘3-Pack’ Update last year, for most searches that include a destination, e.g. Hotels in New York, the first results in organic search are a map with three businesses:
The presence and positioning of these three choices is largely down to relevance, but also the number of reviews and overall rating. And given the prominence of these results, it’s certainly worth some time and effort to get your business featured here.
So, how do you go about getting featured in the Local Results:
1) You need to have a Google Business Page. If you haven’t, go to https://www.google.com/business/ and set one up. You will need to get the business verified, usually via a postcard with a verification code. And you’ll need to ensure your profile is 100% completed.
2) Once your Business page is live, or if you already have one, your main focus will be getting your first 5 reviews. Once you have >5 reviews, you get the gold star rating. This will make your listing stand out and also boost your ranking with the Local Pack.
3) Encourage happy customers to post a review. They will need to have a Google account. One way to do this might be to email your customer list with simple instructions on how to post a review, similar to the following:
Go to Google and search for the business name e.g. The Ritz London
On the right hand side of the results there will be a box with information about your business and a ‘Write a Review’ button
A box will pop up similar to the following with the name of your business, a star rating and description of your experience:
Press Publish and you’re done.
Some business people worry about encouraging reviews in case they are negative. But remember it’s how you respond to these reviews that matters and will influence people’s opinion more than any negative comments. So be sure to respond to reviews, both positive and negative in a measured way.
Good luck and if you have any further questions about Google Business Pages and Reviews, just get in touch.