When customers are looking for products and services, with rare exception, they head to Google to start their research, so it makes perfect sense to make sure that you do all the things you possibly can to ensure that they find you and your company. Today, I want to focus on Google reviews and why they can help increase your chances of getting your business found.
First let's review why they're important:
- Reviews can influence your rankings - While reviews (supposedly) don't get put into the mix of the algorithm, there's no denying that the business that has 20 reviews is going to appear higher in the rankings than the business with just a few.
- Mobile searches - Businesses with reviews DEFINITELY show up higher when people are searching via mobile. And since mobile is becoming the #1 way people search, you can see why it's more important.
- Google is the most used search engine - You want your reviews where the most people can see them when it counts.
Here's a screenshot of when you search for "Atlantic Webworks" on Google:
The main thing that I want to point out here is that when someone searches for your company, not only are they going to get the normal search results, they're also getting your Google+ posts AND your reviews.
Here are ways to get reviews:
- Ask for them. I tell people all the time,“ You'll be surprised what people will do for you if you just ask them.” But...
- Make it easy for them. Provide links directly to review websites
- When appropriate, follow up. Don’t expect to get a review on the initial request. People have the best of intentions, but we're all busy.
- Train your staff to ask for reviews. If your business is B2C, put it on your receipt and make a sign. If you have an email for your clients, send a well-written email with the links and send it out after a transaction.
A couple of other things to point out about asking for reviews. Whatever you do, do NOT offer an incentive for people to give you reviews. For example, you own a pizza parlor and you tell people that they will get a free slice of pizza if people leave you a review. Google forbids it, and trust me—you will get caught at some point. Plus, it's just not ethical. Also, don't flood the gates with reviews —it looks unnatural. If your competition has 5 reviews and you have 200, it will probably send up a red flag. Shoot for 1 or 2 a month at first and then gradually build on it from there!