The moment we read ‘best practice’, we’re put on alert that some have messed up in the world of Google My Business (GMB). We don’t want to be that guy, so we need some clear guidelines to make sure that we’re getting the maximum benefit from this valuable tool.
The rewards will impress you, and your business will never look back. Seriously, Google My Business and the associated review tool are incredibly powerful, and should definitely make up part of your local SEO efforts.
Is Google My Business Worth it?
One word, three letters, Yes! Over 90% of all search engine traffic is funnelled through Google, and GMB acts like a pre-home page if you like. Thanks to the immediately relevant information provided, the number of click-throughs to sites is reduced and rewardingly more accurate. This is an ideal way to corner your actual target market, and not just passing feet.
At a time when digital marketing is dictating success, location-based enterprises should be careful not to overlook the presence and reputation GMB brings. Search queries are becoming longer and more detailed, and voice searches are coming into their own. That means that a user is very likely to say, “Siri, where can I get a good curry?” and their current location is quickly mapped, and the most relevant results are going to be those food outlets that are showing up in that vicinity.
Today, over 56% of Google searches are observed to have local intent and will, or rather, should, end up at your store.
You may argue that the bulk of your customer base is online, but even so, GMB is still your best friend. Just remember that every moment of every day, Google’s ‘spiders’ are crawling all over the web to see who deserves the first bite of the user query pie. If your details are accurately loaded in its database and verified, then you’re golden.
Correctly loading your business name and certain important keywords on your website helps you to stand out from the digital crowd. However, if your competitors are ranking higher than you organically, a great GMB listing is a great way you get to the top of the ladder via the side door.
What About the Google My Business App?
What about it indeed! It’s free for starters, and here’s what it does for you from the comfort of the mobile in the environment of your choosing:
- You control your business profile and how it appears to searchers – a bit like window dressing. You choose the type of attention you prefer.
- You manage your updates, photo sharing, specials, events, and campaigns.
- You get to demonstrate how clients and customers find you, and then interact with your business.
- You’re able to respond intelligently to customer questions, messages, and most importantly, their reviews.
- Receive real-time notifications of customer engagements so you can respond where appropriate.
The bottom line is that you get to rest easy, knowing your GMB app is on the watch 24-7-365.
The Anatomy of Google My Business Reviews
These recent stats give us an inkling of the importance of GMB reviews.
- 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 34% searching every day.
- 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020 – up from 81% in 2019.
- The most important review factors: 1) Star rating, 2) Legitimacy, 3) Recency, 4) Sentiment, 5) Quantity.
Are reviews important? You bet they are. Not only do reviews offer potential customers the peace of mind that they are looking for when dealing with a new business, but the more positive reviews you have, the better you’ll rank in Google.
In order to get a review, however, you must ask.
How Do You Ask a Client to Leave a Google Review?
Bear in mind that the purpose of Google My Business reviews is all about customer opinion about your business. It is valuable and very public. It will appear next to your business profile, which is what you want, in Google searches and on Google maps.
Here’s how to get it right every time:
- Prepare the way. Statistics show that if there is an invitation to leave a customer review, people readily respond. According to Podium, a whopping 80% of customers are happy to leave a review if asked at least, or rewarded at best, for doing so.
- K.I.S.S. Still a splendid business principle. Keeping it simple is made super easy with GMB reviews, because it can be as easy as tallying up the stars all ready and waiting for customer clicks. Not everyone has time to write a story.
- Timing, timing, timing. Your customer’s time with you is precious, and they want to feel they are respected for that. It will differ from business to business, but there’s always a moment of waiting. That is a great moment to keep them engaged and ask for a review of the customer experience so far, or of the product being purchased.
- Drive the bus. You don’t want to spook customers away by pouncing unexpectedly upon them at an arbitrary moment in their transaction. Let them know upfront in some way why their review matters to you, how they’ll be invited, and what aspects you are looking for in reviews.
- Real-time response. No matter who we are or what we say, everyone appreciates being noticed. Without making them feel watched Big Brother-style, when you work in real-time, you get the chance to assess their intentions and preferences. Compliment them on a wise choice of product or service. Wish them well for the rest of the day, and ask them if they would leave a review on your GMB profile if they are satisfied with your product or service.
Hm, this seems like a lot of work. Also, it’s going to take a while to see the fruits of your labour, right? Isn’t there an easier way?
Is It a Good Idea to Buy Google My Business Reviews?
With the knowledge that around 64% of potential customers read reviews before they visit a business or before they purchase from you online, we want the fastest route to as many reviews as possible.
The fact is though, that there’s no shortcut. The fastest way to great GMB reviews is brilliant service and an excellent product.
Trust is quite possibly the most important business acquisition. Buying fake reviews from people who are, perhaps, not customers is not only unethical, but may well come round and revisit you at a time that’s all together inconvenient.
While Yelp is likely to deliver a slap on the wrist for fake reviews, Google will simply take down reviews that they feel are fake, and in some cases, will happily take down the entire business listing, leaving you with no presence to speak of.
So, in short, no. It’s not a good idea to buy GMB reviews.
How Do I Get Started?
Please take a moment to chat with the SEO team here at Kaomi. We fully understand the long fingers of GMB reviews and the enormous impact that this tool has – when done right. We look forward to surprising you.