Google My Business (GMB) is a very powerful tool for promoting local business. There are many opportunities to increase the click-through rate of your listing, its traffic and attract new customers: creating vivid publications, adding pictures, videos, company description, questions and answers... So today we’ll talk about reviews.
For ranking the GMB listings in local search, reviews and ratings from customers have always played an important role: after all, the tool was designed in such a way to prevent the owner from solely managing his card, but to take consumer opinion into account. However, it is also equally important, that user’s recommendations are a strong trust signal for new customers. According to the BrightLocal survey in 2018, 86% of users read reviews on the Internet before attending local business, and 57% use only those companies whose average mark is 4 or more.
However, reviews in GMB card are not only the recommendations that users leave directly on Google. For a long time ago, the tool "learned" to interact with third-party sites and collect review data from them in the form of such a block:
The screenshot shows two common platforms that are suitable for almost any type of business, and one specialized site with information about clubs. Site names are clickable: anyone can go over them to the company's page and read what users of a particular resource write about it.
Does your business have such a block in GMB card? If no, then it's high time to act!
1. Analyze the competitors
First, you need to find your competitors in Google, or just companies that are similar to yours. This is quite easy to do: enter the combination "type of your services" + "city / district where you work" in the search box. A block with the names of the companies (called Local Pack) will appear at the top of the search results:
If you click on the "Other places" link at the bottom of Local Pack, then you will go to Google Maps, where the list will be more complete:
Please note that by opening company cards directly from the list, you will not see reviews from third-party platforms. To find them, copy the name of the competitor you are interested in and paste it into the Google search line. To the right of the search results, the Knowledge Panel will appear, on which you will see the required block with reviews, if it exists at all:
Thus, view a few more competitors and collect a list of feedback platforms you can work with. The more companies you look through, the less likely you are to miss some platforms.
2. Register the company at the sites
Now it's time to create the pages of your company on platforms where competitors have already settled. The registration method may be different on different resources: somewhere you just need to create an account, specify your email and fill out basic information about the business, and somewhere you will have to answer a phone call or receive an SMS message to confirm that you are the owner (almost like in Google). Pay attention to the fact whether it is possible to put a link to your website in the company information: it will be useful for SEO. Even if the link is redirecting or has the nofollow attribute, in any case it will bring more referrals to your site, since the sites that Google chooses are usually "alive" and visited.
In our case, for the otzyvua.net site, which we found thanks to competitor, the registration procedure is quite simple. The company’s page is created automatically when someone leaves a comment on it, simply by entering the name:
Important! While registering a company, if possible, try to name it on a third-party site in the same way as it is called in GMB. This greatly increases the chance that Google will understand that it’s about your business.
You can also face a situation when your company has a page in a particular service, the page has a lot of feedback, but competitors have information from this service added into GMB listing, but you don’t. What should you do in this case?
- The most common reason is a name mismatch. Try to fix it on a third-party platform, if such an opportunity exists.
- If there is no possibility to change the name, then try to strengthen you page on a third-party site with new reviews, in the text of which you should use the company name. We will talk about this in the next paragraph.
Want to reach more customers with Google My Business?
3. Fill the page with reviews
Registering a company on the feedback pages is only a half of the deed. If you want the platform to work on you, recommendations should appear on it. For a start, you can quite leave a review by yourself, ask friends and acquaintances. But do not overdo it! There are no such strong fake recognition algorithms on of most sites as Google has, but a moderator may notice the suspicious activity.
Then you can act the same way you might already do with GMB or Facebook reviews: ask and motivate customers to give their opinion about the company at the sites you have chosen for promotion.
Useful to consider! While leaving reviews, it is important to mention the name of your company in the form it sounds in GMB: "I visited “Horns and Hoofs”, I liked everything..." If the original name is written in Latin, then you can use the Cyrillic version – Google will recognize it. These citations are a good signal, including those that can help in situations where a business page in GMB and a third-party directory is called a little differently. Moreover, if the same name also appears on your website, then the citations will be useful for SEO too: Moz, in their annual local search investigation, constantly mark them as one of the ranking factors.
In conclusion, there is an example from our own practice. We added a company to otzyvua.net, which had not been there before, leaving only one positive review. The next day, we noticed that the information from this platform has already appeared in the GMB card:
Such a quick effect was achieved thanks to the exact name match, and because the site is very popular, with both people and search robots constantly visiting it. So that is not a fact that you will get the same result for other platforms: sometimes it is worth patience. Go ahead, and everything will work out!