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How to Get More of the Right Kind of Online Reviews

Get more 5 star reviews on Google Facebook and other online sites

Online Reviews Are More Important Now Than Ever

Google is passing less traffic on to websites from local search results

According to Darren Shaw of Whitespark, clicks to your website from GMB are decreasing.

Clicks to your website from GMB are down. Google has been adding a ton of features to local results, so that you don’t need to visit the website. You can get all of the info you need right in the local search results. You can no longer rely on just having an awesome website to get conversions. You need to make your listing awesome, and reviews are one of the most powerful ways to do this.

Google local search results used to take you to a website. Now local search users are directed to the Maps Listings. And Google has continued to add features to the Maps - Local Finder - Google My Business listings that now have everything a searcher needs to know about a company, without the need to click on the website link.

If your listing doesn't have all of the info that a competitor's listing has, the chances of the searcher clicking through to your website is nil. They will click the Map result with the most info. And the most powerful info is reviews. So optimize your Google Local Listing - and get more reviews.

Reviews improve search rankings

According to Darren Shaw,

In the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors, we saw an increase of 21.53% in the importance of Review Signals. Local search practitioners are noticing the powerful impact that reviews can have on rankings. Some of it is likely direct, but a side ranking benefit might come from engagement factors. Listings with more reviews are going to get more clicks and users will spend more time looking at those listings.


Local florist search exampleYou have to make your Google Local Listing stand out. And the only way to differentiate your listing is with reviews.

Which of these listings would you choose?

But how long will this last?

Google changes constantly, and 2 or 3 years from now, when everybody has a hundred 5 star reviews, how will a business stand out?

Who knows. But right now, there is a easily implemented opportunity. Get more reviews!

How to get more reviews

Here are some suggestions for getting more 5 star reviews.

  1. Be awesome at what you do - the best way to get possitive reviews is to provide value to your customers
  2. Ask every customer for a review - ask at the time of sale or service, while they feel the value
  3. Follow up with every customer - next day follow up, every time
  4. Get a Google review link - you can generate your own with Whitespark's Google Link Generator
  5. Use the Google Review Link everywhere - Business cards, signs, email signatures, newsletters on POS receipts, social media

How to NOT ask for reviews

  1. Don’t offer incentives for reviews - Don’t give discounts, gift cards, or anything else in exchange for a review. It’s a violation of Google’s guidelines and you could get all your reviews taken down
  2. Don't review your own business
  3. Don't add reviews in bulk - too many reviews at one time may trigger the Google police
  4. Don't get too many reviews from a single IP address - in-store kiosks for reviews are a bad idea
  5. According to Google's guidelines, you cannot ask only happy customers. Ask everyone. Just make more Happy customers (see number 1 above)

Get reviews from more than just Google

You should build your review inventory on more than just Google, There are many sites, some dependent on industry, where reviews can help your business organically, and actually have the reviews show up in the search results. Facebook is an obvious source, but sites like Angie's List, Home Advisor and YELP are all options. Rotate appropriate sites into your review asks.

Using review/reputaion management software can help here as well.

Final tips to get more reviews online

I have referred to Whitespark's Darren Shaw's post for some of the content in this post. Two reasons for that. It's an excellent post AND I am a Whitepark customer and their products and services are excellent. So I'm going to list Darren's top four ways to get more reviews:

  1. Ask in person: “Would you be willing to leave us an online review?”
  2. Hand them a card with a shortlink to the review site.
  3. Send a thank you email and include the link again.
  4. Send a follow up one week later if they haven’t left a review yet.

Cars.com 5 star reviewI will add one more suggestion of my own.

When I was selling cars, many of our customers used sites like Cars.com and Autotrader.com to research during the pre-purchase period. I had, more positive reviews, by far, than anyone else I knew.

I did all of the above things that Darren suggests.

And I provided a great purchase experience.

But I also told each of my customers how important a positive review would be for me, personally.

Most people want to help you. I got some truly incredible reviews, from folks I had only known for a few hours.

If you have any questions or additional tips on getting more 5 star reviews on Google and elsewhere, please leave a comment.



Is Your Business a Nightmare on Main Street?

you local see is a nightmare on main street

Signs That Your Local SEO Isn't Working

It's Halloween. Here is our list of 22 scary signs that your local search engine optimization is probably broken - and you don't know what to do about it.

  • You are advertising above urinals in public restrooms - and actually paying for it.
  • You're sponsoring a radio show on an AM station.
  • Paid for an ad on a bus stop bench
  • You have a box of logo'd/branded stuff, that you paid real money for, in your basement, garage, backroom, etc.
  • The branded stuff in the box in your garage is there because you spent so much money on it, that you only want to give it to really good prospects.
  • You decided to sponsor high school sports on a local internet radio station, without checking to see that they only average seven listeners for those games.
  • You paid for an ad on the ceiling of a bar. You really did.
  • The last time you posted new content to your website was....you can't remember.
  • Your website is not mobile responsive.
  • You don't really know what mobile responsive means, or why it is critical to your business.
  • You bought an ad in a local print pamphlet and spent a significant part of your marketing budget.
  • When you do a Google search for your business' name, your website is not in the number one position. Neither is your Facebook page or Google for Business page. This a search for YOUR NAME!
  • You don't have a website
  • You hired someone - paid real money - to increase the number of Likes on your Facebook page.
  • Your phone isn't ringing enough
  • You don't have a Facebook business page
  • You don't have a Google for business page
  • You don't understand local SEO
  • You think that you understand local SEO
  • You have never had a discussion about local SEO, with someone who does understand local SEO
  • You think that talking to a local SEO expert will be expensive
  • You don't realize what the opportunity cost is, of NOT talking with an SEO professional today.
  • You don't know a local search engine optimization expert.

Are you scared yet?

Let an SEO Expert Review Your Site for FREE

Review: Google+ Pro Tips: Strategies for Posting and Sharing on Google+

g+bookGoogle+ may be social media’s least understood platform. There are techniques and Google + tips and strategies, that make the world of circles and plus 1s seems less confusing. Personal profile pages, business pages, business places...yeah, confusing describes it, as a start.

But learning the basics of G+ is a must for the business owner, especially the local biz proprietor.  And the first, most important, basic skill to develop is that of posting to your Google Plus profile.

More than 25000 people have Stephan Hovnanian in their Google + circles. Stephan is a prolific poster and  G+ guru and he has published a guide to posting on G+.

Google+ Pro Tips: Strategies for Posting and Sharing on Google+ is a comprehensive digital book on the subject.

There are chapters explaining how to format your posts effectively, balancing posts between your business page and your profile, posting intent and subject matter Google+ page authority and posting and sharing etiquette. Included is a very helpful posting and sharing quick-start list.

I am still relatively new to Google+ myself, and I found the book really helpful. Hovnanian writes well and clearly and mostly avoids Google+ jargon that could have made the material tough to learn. Highly recommended. Click the image to view and buy on Amazon.

Smell, Look and Taste: This is Content Marketing at Zingermans Creamery

Artisan cheese slection at Zingermans CreameryMemorable content isn't just something you read, that someone else wrote last night. It may have cured, in a cave for months. Content = product. Content marketing is about experiencing the product.

Have you ever been to Zingermans Creamery in Ann Arbor Mich? If you haven't, it won't be easy to find. It's located in the rear building at a public storage facility. When you have to work hard to find a business, and you still, really want to get there, it has to be about the content.

Zingermans is legendary for their deli, the fresh baked goods. Coffee. Notice that every one of these businesses smells. They smell in a good way, and Zingermans has smelling down to a science of attraction. Mouthwatering, diet-crushing, money-changing science.

Gotta go back soon. Zingermans Coffee was closed for remodeling when I was last there. My travel companion that day had been raving about the cafe mocha that I would experience, when, and if, we actually found the Zingermans enclave. He had only been to the place one time. But his experience had made him a rabid salesman for Zingerman's Coffee.

Create a legion of rabidly enthusiatic sales people. Content that smells - great.

Have you been to Zingerman's? What business can you sell as well as, or better than, the actual proprietor? Please, leave a comment.

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