In recent times Google have been gradually changing the way we manage our Google Local and Google + accounts, in an attempt to streamline the process and make it more user friendly. These changes however have left many very confused.
- Google My Business is the dashboard by which you manage your Google Local and Google + accounts, Insights and Google AdWords.
- Google Local gives a location of your business on Google Maps plus a brief overview of your business
- Google + is the social media part of your account much like Facebook (also accessible from gmail account)
We live in a world where it is essential for small businesses to have a presence on Google and it is therefore essential to claim your Google Local entry. For most customers your Google Local entry will be their first port of call and for that reason Google have enhanced them giving you greater opportunity to include good information, great images and good reviews. Customers may not even make it to your website, your Google Local entry may be the decisive factor as to whether they call or not.
How to Claim Your Google Listing
If you search for your business in Google, your website should come up in the main body of the screen and then on the right hand side, your Google listing should be visible:
If you can’t see it or you don’t have access just yet then you will need to claim your entry by going to Google My Business. Click “Start Now”. Type in your business name and check that the rest of the address is correct. Verify and then confirm your business.
How to Improve Your Google Local Entry
Are the pictures of your location attractive? Sometimes the Google car image used of the exterior of your business isn’t the most attractive. You can upload your own images, or try to move the Google pin to show off your business from a more attractive angle rather than showing the back alley way or your bins!
Do you have any reviews? Encourage loyal clients to review you and then when people search for your business they will see all those lovely 5 star reviews. Do take note that you may end up with a random score like 4.8 (even if all your reviews are 5 star) due to their algorithm. Also your Google Local Entry will gather the ratings from other websites such as Facebook and Yelp.
With this change emphasis and build in the importance of Google Local entries we now advise that if you’re pushed for time your Google Local entry should take priority over Googe +. You should monitor the ‘insights’ and reviews and make sure your Google Local entry is a good first impression of your business.
You may also be interested in our article on How To Manage Negative Reviews.
There are many essential marketing methods small businesses should be doing to promote themselves such as a good website, advertising & newsletters, but we find that many of our clients neglect one of the best ways, personal recommendations. Asking for testimonials & reviews from your clients should be part of your marketing plan.
We’ve stressed the importance of your Google Local page in recent times. You can read more about that here. Reviews can sway the reader that you are the right company for them, as opposed to your competitor.
Encourage clients (recent and long-standing ones) to write a review for you on your Google page. You can then share these on social media or in a newsletter.
Testimonials are a more professional approach for asking for feedback. When we’ve undertaken a piece of work, we often email clients for a testimonial to add to our website. Take a look at ours here.
How do you know if you have done a good job with a client? If much of your work is project based as it ours, it is a good idea to seek feedback (particularly if a colleague undertook the work) to find out how things went and if there is room for improvement. Create a feedback form on your website or a survey on Survey Monkey.
Asking for Reviews for Social Media
The food and hospitality industry are always being reviewed but as we mentioned previously all businesses need reviews to demonstrate how fabulous they are.
If you are able to ask in person, do. Just ask as a favour at the end of your meeting.
You can ask by email but do ask as a personal favour rather than sending a standard email template. Make life easy for the reviewer and include the link to where they need to post the review.
Incentives work – offer entry into a monthly prize drawer if they leave a review.
If you are in an industry where you are prone to receiving a lot of reviews, do check the sites regularly. There are also tools out there for keeping track of reviews such as Review Trackers.
Don’t forget to thank your reviewers. It’s only polite.
Set up Google Alerts so that if your company is mentioned online, you can be notified
If you receive a negative review or feedback, do take a look at our article here on our strategy to deal with this.
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