How To Get More Google Reviews

ReviewsKnowing how to get more reviews for your Google My Business page is important for so many reasons. I won’t list them all but it helps your GMB pages’ rankings. And it helps people get an idea of what doing business with you is like.

Since Google changed their GMB search rankings a few weeks back, I’ve noticed many of the businesses in the top 3 have 20+ reviews.

I still get clients asking me for ways to get more reviews. I’ve talked about a few ways already. Today I’ll go cover another way to get more reviews.

Another way is to have a sheet at your front desk asking clients to review your business on Google. We’ve done this for all our clients who have a storefront and it’s worked great. The best news is it’s really simple to set in place.

Here’s what you need to do.

Create a introduction sheet which you can post at the front desk of your storefront. If you service clients at their location, you can mention to them that if they have a Gmail account, it would be greatly appreciated if they could write you a Google review. State that reviews are important for your local search rankings and that potential clients will find them useful in whether they will choose your business.

Once again you can post this at your front desk or checkout area.

Make It Easy

The next step is to create step by step instructions on how to write reviews. If your clients aren’t tech savvy, it’s important to make things really easy.

Here is an example of what our introduction and instruction sheet at Meaningful Marketing looks like. All you need to do is change the business name and create screenshots so you can replace our images with yours.

For those business who service clients at locations, simply print out the instructions and hand it to them. This would work well for any contractors.

If you want to turbo charge your reviews, implement the strategy below with caution.

Local SEO Rankings

Create A Draw

*UPDATE

I originally listed the idea of creating a draw with those who wrote you a review on your GMB page. After looking through Google’s GMB review guidelines for a second time, I didn’t see where it clearly says this is not allowed.

I then came across a post from one of the leading voices in local SEO, Mike Blumenthal, over at Get Five Stars. After reading his post which says incentivizing clients to writes reviews is against the TOC of all review sites like Yelp and Google. I wanted to get clarification about creating draws and know if that is deemed as incentivizing. Mike confirmed that it was.

 

So there you have it. Don’t create a draw like I had originally suggeted. Simply read the other posts on getting reviews I’ve linked to in this post and you’re all good.

Google Maps Search Results Change

Google-My-BusinessLast month I made a post that Google had changed the maps results in organic searches. At the time I thought it was going to be a full change but it was only a test and they went back to the old maps results.

It turns out Google rolled out the change across the board last week. They had changed what the maps looked liked for the Tourism & Hospitality industries a few months back. But everything else stayed the same. That was until last week.

So what do you need to know from this change?

Top Three Is Important

The biggest thing from this change is no matter what service you offer or business you run, the  GMB results only list the top three. This means extra importance is put on getting into that top three. Before there were sometimes three, six and seven GMB pages listed in the results with a correlating letter (A-G).

Once again here is what they use to look like.

Google Places Maps Listings

 

And this is what they look like today.

massage therapy victoria bc

What’s absent is the full address, the option to click on the reviews or the My Business/+ page. You have to click on the business name to see their reviews. When you click on the “More massage therapy” link, you will see more listings along with their pictures, hours, contact details and reviews.

The one nice benefit of this new roll out is that when you do click on “More massage therapy” you are taken to a new page with a bigger map that lists 20 businesses.

Google My Business Results Change

If people do click on to see more business, then being in the top three isn’t as important. It really all depends on what product or service you provide. In many cases people might be doing their research and want to see location and view websites to compare choices.

One thing hasn’t changed. That’s the importance of the map centroid for your city. I blogged about this a few weeks back and why it could prevent you from ranking highly in the maps.

Reviews

So far from what I have seen, many businesses ranking highly have lots of reviews. Not just 5 or 10 reviews. But 20+ reviews. So be sure to follow this review strategy and this one I just blogged about.

Click Studies

I was reading this great blog post on click studies regarding the new results. It shows you how many people click on ads, the maps results, organic listings and more maps results.

This new look will be interesting to monitor over the coming months. I’d love to run some click tests of my own. I’ll also be analyzing organic traffic in analytics to see if people are still clicking on organic websites.

Google My Business Results Change

Google has been known to change the appearance of their search results for some time now. I’m not just talking algorithms but the visual appearance.

It looks like in the last couple of days they have changed their Google My Business listings within the search results.

This is what it looked like before:

Google Places Maps Listings

This is what the sam search result looks like as of today:

massage therapy victoria bc   Google Search

Gone is the A – G or A – C mapped icons. The map has moved from the right of the screen to the top.

Before when you wanted to learn more about a business, you could just scroll of their listing in A – G or A – C listings to see the snippet of their business, reviews, contact info and hours of operation. Now you have to click on a business to see that info. When you do so you are taking to page which shows all the business info along with listings to other businesses.

What’s the take away?

Before the Google My Business listings would show either 3 or 7 listings. Now they are only extensively showing 3 businesses across all the searches I have done.

This means it’s important to now get into the top 3 of the Google My Business listings within the search results. I’ve talked extensively about how to get ranking in the Google My Business listings. I’ve covered how to rank in GMB page, five ways to improve your GMB page rankings, how to get reviews for your GMB page and why consistent business listings are important.

Take a look over those and get refreshed. Getting in the top 3 now means the world or else you are relaying on people skipping over the first 3 results and finding yours.

How Long To Rank On Page One Update

Local seo experiment

Back in the end of January, I ran an experiment to find out how long does it take to rank on page one. In the post I stated a goal of trying to rank a new website and business on page one within two months. Bold, I know.

The reason for such a short time frame was due to the fact that I had purchased an old keyword rich domain for my mother’s Victoria BC bookkeeping business.

I wanted to see if that alone was enough to get a website ranked on the first page faster than normal. The keyword rich domain was owned by another bookkeeping company in Victoria but they decided to change their domain to a branded one. Since the domain was old, it had some trust built up with Google and contained a keyword, so I figured it would take less time to rank on page one.

That hasn’t been the case organically. As you can see by the Bright Local search rankings, the website isn’t ranking within the top 40 organic websites. I’m going to plug how great the Bright Local software is for showing how to track search engine rankings. Plug over!

Interestingly enough, the Google Local/My Business page ranks already on the first page. But that doesn’t count as the goal was to have the website ranking on page one, not the Google Local page.

What’s Next?

This is a experiment and experiments are about discovery. My discovery from this experiment is something I alluded to in my seven trends for local SEO success in 2015 post. What is this discovery?

More content.

When the website was created, we added seven blog posts relating to bookkeeping and common questions my mom gets asked. That didn’t help and to be honest, things have been really busy so no more content had been added to the site.

That was until this past weekend when we added seven more pages to the website. These pages haven’t made a difference to the rankings yet. But this strategy has been extremely successful for our other clients.

In my blog post on seven trends for local SEO success in 2015, I mentioned you should create blog posts and webpages where you answer common questions. This is one method of creating more content. Since that post though, I’ve had a consultation from another local SEO.

In the next blog post, I’m going to reveal the tip and what types of pages and content need to be added to your website to increase its search engine rankings. Make sure you sign up for our email list so you don’t miss that post because as I mentioned, we’ve seen some great results implementing this strategy into our content marketing.

Until that post, out rank your competition!

How Long To Rank One Page One?

Local seo experiment One of the most common questions we get asked when it comes to our Victoria BC SEO service is “How long will to take for my website to get on the first page?”

This is such a difficult question to answer as every website is different. So is the competitive landscape. Some businesses have 5-10 competitors in their area. While others can have 50. The more competitors you have, the more websites we have to out rank with our SEO service.

On top of this, there are over 200 ranking factors in Google’s algorithm.

At Meaningful Marketing we tend to focus on only a few of those factors. On top of having a well optimized landing page targeting your search terms, you must focus on these seven trends in local SEO for 2015 if you want to out rank your competition.

We might have left one out and that is the domain.

Ranking New Domain or Old One

We get a lot of enquires from new businesses who want to hire us. They will inevitably ask us “How long to get my site on the first page?’

If we learn that their the domain is brand new, we tell them a few months longer than if their domain was already well established.

Why is this? Because a new domain takes longer to get on the search engines radar.

We had a potential client approach us last summer with a new domain. When we told them it could take 8 month, they were obviously disappointed.

After explaining why that would be and what they could do to help us, they hired us and it took us about 4 months to get their site on the first page. It should be noted that this client has only 15 competitors. Getting on the first page meant trying to out rank those 15 sites and the YellowPages and Yelp directories. Your competitive landscape and where you are ranking right now might be different.

But we can safely say it could take 4-8 months to rank on the first page locally here in Victoria BC.

This section talked about domain age. We’ve found older domains are easier to rank than newer domains.

However, there might be a faster way and it boils down to the domain name itself.

Exact Match Keyword Domains

 

An exact match keyword domain is a domain name that contains a keyword you are trying to target. An example in the local SEO world would be if a painter in Victoria BC was trying to target the keyword “painters Victoria BC”, they would try and purchase the domain http://paintersvictoriabc.ca.

Now I say try because years ago, buying exact match keyword domains was all the rage. People actually made a business of buying these domains and selling them. But as they have become less of a ranking factor, these domains can be bought for fairly cheap.

If you find an exact match domain that is a few years old, you might rank faster.

The Experiment

My mother has been so kind as to help me with bookkeeping for Meaningful Marketing. She owned a business for 8 years and completed the Bookkeeping Administration Program at Sprott Shaw here in Victoria. She’s semi-retired but still wants to work and loves numbers.

Since I know a lot about SEO and internet marketing, I thought why not create a website for her and do some local SEO on it.

Knowing that buying a new domain might take longer to rank, I searched for expired domains and found an exact match keyword domain. That domain is http://bookkeepingvictoria.ca.

Using the Internet Archive I was able to determine that the domain has been up and running since 2009. Here’s a screenshot from December 2nd 2009.

There wasn’t much on the domain at the time but it was still alive then. A company called Canwest Accounting owned the domain and eventually got a nice website up on that domain by May 2013.

For whatever reason though they decide along the way not to renew the http://bookkeepingvictoria.ca domain and move their website to a branded domain http://www.canwestaccounting.ca/.

Their loss is hopefully my mothers gain!

I purchased that domain on January 22nd 2015.

Today is January 27th 2015 and I have the website up and running with a little bit of content. I’ll be following the seven trends in local SEO for 2015 post that I created last week.

Content and backlinks will be the biggest areas of focus for getting the website ranked organically. Creating business citations will be the focus on getting the business to rank in the Google maps.

The site has already been indexed and crawled by Google which is a great sign and the reason why buying an older, exact match domain should help her website rank faster for “bookkeeping Victoria BC‘ search terms.

I ran a search ranking report for the site today and it isn’t ranking in the top 50 for any of the search terms we’re targeting. But it’s ranking in the positions from 51-100 which is another great sign. Especially after buying the domain five days ago and getting optimized content up yesterday.

The goal of this experiment is to get the website ranking on the first page for the search term “bookkeeping Victoria BC” by the end of March. I will update the status at that time.