Your Google Places listing is an extremely valuable online asset for your business and an important part of our SEO strategy.
One of the most important actions you can take as a business owner is to get at least 5 reviews on your Google Places* listing.
* also know as Google Maps and now (in 2015) Google My Business.
Why 5 Google + Reviews?
One of the recent changes that Google made to Google Local; it’s now called Google Plus Local (or Google + Local) was to change the way businesses are rated. It used to be a star rating with 5 stars being excellent down to 1 star, which meant “tried it once, hated it, won’t be going back any time soon”
Note: We previously advised the steps for obtaining Google Places Reviews however with Google changes in June 2012 this article is an update.
Now the rating only shows up after 5 reviews and it will appear as score out of 30. (It’s called the Zagat scoring system)
Here are the steps to obtain Google Plus Local Reviews;
Now, the catch is that the person giving you a review needs to have a Google + account
How To Sign Up For A Google + Account
(if you don't already have one)
- Go to google.com.au
- In the top left hand corner of the page, click “+You”
- In the top right hand corner click “Signup”
- Complete the form and click “Next Step”
- Follow the prompts from there, and you'll have a brand new Gmail address and a Google + account
- Add images, follow other people, go nuts, or not, it's up to the individual.
NOW you can leave reviews on Google + Local listings of businesses that you have used and gave you great service.
Step By Step Instructions On Leaving A Google + Local Review
- Get your cusomters to sign into their Gmail account by going to google.com.au and clicking on the “Sign In” button at the top right hand side of the page
- Then get your potential reviewers to add your listing by typing in “your business name, suburb” i.e. “SEO Gold Coast Robina” into the Google search bar
- Look through the listings that appear and find the one for the business you wish to review that has the google map attached to it (as per the screenshot). The Google + Local listing may not be the first one that shows.
- Click on “write a review”
- Click on the blue “Write a Review” button that sits just under the map.
- Select “Excellent”
- Write a positive review (it's great to have some keywords in here, which you can supply to your reviewer)
- Click “Publish”
- You can also click “Share” which will share the review on your Google +1 account
- You can check to see if the review has been added by clicking on Write a Review again and you should see your review in the Google + Local account
- The number of Google Reviews on the search page may not update immediately. It could take a few days, but your review will be visible when anyone clicks to read your review.
It's really a matter of following the prompts and you can’t go too far wrong. After all I can do it, so you can too!
Also you need to obtain real reviews! Sorry, creating 5 Google + Accounts and giving yourself 5 reviews from the same IP address isn’t going to cut it. And don’t ask relatives who live out of town. The reviews need to come from real people who live in the area your business services. If you provide fake reviews Google will punish you with lower rankings. Sure, if you service customers all over Australia, then relatives living interstate will be perfect.
So what can you do?
- You can ask relatives and friends (who live in the area you service) to write you a nice review.
- Ask your loyal customers to write you a review
- SEO Web Magic can write you a review (and probably already has!)
- Provide an incentive to your happy customers to give you a review; i.e. 20% off their next purchase….
- Ask your partner/spouse, as long as they have a different computer and therefore a different IP address
There’s no doubt that a real review is the way to go. So I’d be focusing on asking your current clients for a review. You could even print a flyer with helpful steps (just like the ones in this article).