Local SEO tip: Add customer reviews to your Google My Business page
Authentic customer reviews can provide a great boost to your business website’s visibility in Google and therefore your search engine traffic. If you own or manage a local business (e.g. a restaurant, plumber, graphic designer etc), read on to learn why it matters and how to add reviews to your business listing.
When you google a local search term such as “plumbing Geelong” you will notice that a map is shown above the normal search results. Underneath the map there will be 3 local plumbing businesses listed. As these 3 spots are so high up on the search results page, they receive a lot of clicks and are very valuable. They are also in addition to the normal search results, so in a best case scenario your website would rank both in the map listing and the normal results as well.
Set up your Google My Business listing
So how do you get one of these top spots for YOUR local business and location? Well first of all you need to set up your free Google My Business profile to actually create a map listing for your business. You can do that here (you must be logged into your Google Account): https://www.google.com/business/
When you set up your Google My Business listing, you can add business categories such as “plumbing” or “graphic design” to your listing. This helps Google show your business for the most relevant searches in your industry.
Once Google has verified your location, a marker for your business will be placed on the map. This means that people can now search for your business on Google Maps, and also the business listing may now appear in general Google search results.
Location, location, location
To appear in one of the top 3 spots, first of all your business location has to match the location that people search for, e.g. Geelong. If your plumbing business is not in the centre of Geelong but in Highton, your business is unlikely to come up in the map results for a “plumbing geelong” search.
Proximity to the city centre is one of the most important factors, and if you are too far from the city centre you could have lots of good reviews and still not rank for keywords related to your city – tough but true!
Consistent NAP (name, address, phone number)
You’ll also want to make sure that your business contact details (name, address, phone number) are consistent across any listings on the internet, e.g. in other directories and on your own website. Google checks to see where else your business is listed, and the more quality, consistent listings it finds, the better it will rank your map listing.
Customers are able to add reviews to your Google My Business listing. You can then respond to these reviews by logging in to your Google My Business account.
Many businesses have no reviews, although it is well known that positive customer reviews can really push your business towards the top of the map listings in your industry. E.g. a plumber with 10 positive reviews would probably rank higher than a plumber with no reviews, given the above points regarding location. Generally it is accepted that you need at least 5 reviews for it to have an impact on your ranking.
In some industries such as restaurants it is common for customers to review the businesses, but most other local businesses will need to actively prompt their customers for a review. Here are the steps your customers would need to take to write a review for you:
- Go to Google Maps, making sure you are logged into your Google Account.
- Search for the business name and click on the business listing
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “write a review”. Make sure you select a star rating along with your review.
So once you have your website and Google My Business listing set up, make that bit of extra effort and ask your customers for reviews, and you MAY be richly rewarded by Google!