You may have noticed a drop off in your internet traffic since the end of February. What might have caused this? Has Google updated its algorithm? Have you received a Google penalty? Will you need to get your web designer or SEO specialist to look into what the problem might be? Or is it something a lot more obvious that staring you in the face?
It’s just possible that you hadn’t noticed that your Google local listing review visibility got a whole lot more visible. It might have escaped your attention but did escape the attention of your prospects? Up till late last month, the star rating system for listings only showed your star rating out of 5 a maximum of 5 stars if you had a minimum of five reviews already. This made poorly reviewed companies quite insulated from a poor review profile. The first image, before the change, actually had four five-star reviews, but could just have easily hidden four very damaging number of poor reviews. After the change, as in the second image, it’s clear whether a company has good or bad reviews, even if it’s only one review. The change makes poor reviews become a lot more visible and potentially a lot more damaging. Particularly if you happen to have had one poor Google review from one particularly aggrieved customer; and let’s face it, it’s fair to say that generally, the most motived reviewers are those that feel considerably negatively towards you.
Many business owners can get obsessed with their own website’s performance or for that matter the social platforms they also have under their control but your Google local listing can be more important than any of these. Why? Because it often gets seen first. Why? Because unless your prospect was searching for you then there’s a good chance they’ll see on a Google search is a, after the Adwords, a local listing before the organic listings that most companies get hung up about.
Of course, you could argue that yes a bad review there might be bad for people searching for my services but most of my work comes from referrals. Well, in that case, it’s still a problem. If they’re on the web and they don’t know your web address then they’ll search for you by company name. In which case they’ll see your company listing on Google on the right-hand side and guess what. That bad Google review will be following you around in your prospect’s faces before they choose to proceed, or not to proceed, to your website.
However, you may be in the position where you don’t have any reviews. Nothing good or bad. Sounds OK but of course, this leaves you just one heartbeat from a bad review. Might be a great time to start harvesting lots of positive reviews from your clients? On the other hand, you may have several good reviews, it’s a safer position to be in but again you’re still open to several bad reviews spoiling that. So what’s the answer?
The answer is to have an on-going campaign of seeking to maximise the good will that comes your, or for that matter your staff, every day. Don’t wait for someone to maybe leave a good, bad or less likely indifferent review. Instead, leap upon all the positivity that is generated. If someone is singing your praises then provide them with the opportunity to leave a review in as simple and easy way possible.
The great thing about harvesting all the positive feedback you receive is not just simply the way to demonstrate and promote your company or to head off any negative reviews coming your way. It also allows you the chance to create a virtuous circle. For every review created, regardless of it being good or bad, you can respond. For good reviews, you have the opportunity to explain how you ensure a great service in a particular instance. For bad reviews, it gives you the chance to show you care and how you may wish to redress any issues the client has. From this perspective, there is no bad thing as a bad review, but a person browsing your profile may not drill down to see your response and simply take the negative review on face value. This will largely depend on the scale of bad reviews.
If you’d like to know more about the services that Ready Steady Go SEO can offer, then visit our reputation management or local SEO pages.
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In fact, local listings are the great leveller. Whether you’re big or small you have the opportunity to fight whether you’re a single site concern against a multi-site mega corporation, well at least in your own locality, which is at least probably where your audience is sited anyway! ‘So show me where to sign up?’ I hear you say.
The first thing to do is go to Google My Business and check whether your company is already listed. Chances are if you’re an established company you will be. The problem can be if it’s already been claimed by somebody else. This may have been an employee or agency working for you previously. In that case, you are looking at a somewhat protracted process of requesting it from the previous claimant if you can’t work out the partial e-mail that Google will provide you as the only information for you to determine who it might be. If you have difficulty then feel free to contact us to help you reclaim what is rightfully yours.