The importance of reviews

To feature in the Google 3 pack local search results you need to start attracting some Google love.

Although Google does change it’s search criteria quite regularly, there are 5 core elements that do stand the test of time, particularly for local businesses.  We’ve listed them here and they are all simple, common sense tactics.

  1. Set-up and Optimise your Google My Business profile (sometimes known as Google Places listing).  Google provide great instructions on exactly what to do.  If you already have a Google profile for your business, make sure it’s optimised and that you have entered as much information as possible – you want Google to love you.  If you don’t already have your business profile set-up, then do it now.
  2. Get good quality external links and ensure that your citation is included.  (A citation is your business name, address and phone number used in exactly the same format across the web).  Examples include online directories, networking group pages that you belong to, your own social media pages and any external sites you contribute to or can get listed on.
  3. Ensure you have great reviews published on the web on external websites and especially on Google.  If you have a Google My Business profile set up, you should be able to find your Google review link here. Whilst you mustn’t offer incentives for people to leave you good reviews on Google, you can at least the link to happy customers and ask them if they would be prepared to leave you a review on Google.
  4. Write regular content, for example blog posts or new landing pages, and make sure you target the content to your local area and keywords that are important to your promotions.  Once you get started, it’s not that difficult to add a bit of regular content to a blog and social media, even if it’s just once a month.  It lets Google know that you’re still in business and that your website is maintained.  Simple, but effective!
  5. Start or maintain a simple social media presence.  Make sure you include links back to your site and ensure you contact details are exactly the same as on Google.

A little work on all these elements will go a long way to ensuring that the search engines love you!

Have you noticed that more and more of the local businesses listed in the Google Local ‘3 Pack’ have 5 star ratings?

Reputation is now one of the key ranking factors for search engines, especially for local ranking (source: The 2016 Local Ranking Criteria Study).  It makes sense, search engines want to promote good businesses not bad ones and having good reviews is an indicator of having a good business.

So if you have a good reputation make sure the search engines know about it.  Ask people to leave you a Google review or a review on an independent review site such as ‘trust pilot’, ‘yelp’ or ‘freeindex’.  Google reviews are particularly important if you are trying to get ranked in the Google Local 3 pack.

Not only that though, all businesses live or die by their reputation and a bad reputation can spread like wildfire, whether deserved or not.  So in these days of constant scrutiny online, it’s a good idea to stay one step ahead and to garner a good reputation and to base your marketing upon it.