Google Local Search

Google recently made another update to their local search results algorithm. Granted, they’re probably making these updates constantly, but this one was important enough to be dubbed “Pigeon”.  There was quite a bit of speculation as to how this update would affect local search results, especially local directories.

However, there is no doubt that your local search ranking can be improved in a number of ways. There is one way to improve local search rankings, improve your business practices, & improve your online reputation: get local reviews.

Getting reviews from happy customers can be difficult for some businesses. Most of us are more likely to write a review about a local business we don’t like than one we do like. However, if you let your customers know that you genuinely want their feedback, you might be surprised at the results.

3 Tips to Get Local Customer Reviews

local reviews starsDon’t Ask for Favorable Reviews

I’m a business owner, so I understand the hesitation to ask anyone and everyone for a review of your business. It’s like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get — but a real review will ultimately be the most valuable to your business. If you take a less than favorable review (even a negative one) & use it to fix something that’s broken in your business, you will make the business better & may even inspire the negative reviewer to revise their opinion. Nothing beats that.

We’ve seen this happen over & over again. Most people who post negative reviews are genuinely upset about something. Find the cause of the issue & correct it. You may end up with a customer for life. You’ve let all your customers know that you’re listening & willing to change your business if something really is broken in the customer experience.

Offer Incentives to Reviewers

I can’t stress enough that this is not an endorsement to buy fake reviews. Instead, what I mean is to offer a reward to anyone willing to take the time to post a review for you. Big brands do this all the time. Call a number, take a 5 question survey, & boom — you get a coupon for a free widget.

Find a way to make it fun. Offer something people really want — either from your business or from another local business. It’s a great way to support fellow entrepreneurs if you offer a gift card to their business.

Where Should Your Local Reviews Go?

talk bubbleAnywhere. Again, don’t make this about you. Encourage people to post reviews on their favorite review site. They can take a screenshot & email it to you or print it out & bring it in to show that completed it. If they are looking for guidance on where to post the review, then offer one of these 3 places where you will want to showcase your local reviews:

  • Google Business Page
  • Yelp
  • Your Website
  • Facebook

Google is bound to change their local search results again, and again, and again, and again. They are getting better & better at connecting people to the businesses closest to them. Be careful chasing strategies that are only intended to get you better local search results. If you’re too dependent on that strategy alone, you can get crushed with a new Google search algorithm update. Local reviews should definitely help you in local results, but they may be even more powerful as a way to legitimize & improve your business.