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February 2017 – no longer need 5 stars on your Google+ page to get the star rating! 1-2 reviews are enough.
Hey there, my name is Brodie, and I’m one of the SEO Account Managers here at Alpha Digital. Today, I’m going to be teaching you the most effective strategy for getting quality reviews on your Google+ page.
Before we get started, I’m going to put a time stamp on this video. The time stamp is November 2016, so if you’re viewing this video in a one year, two years, or three years time, I’m going to be developing a list just below this video. This list will be updates to Google’s search results because they’re changing all the time, so I want to keep this video up-to-date and reflect what the search results actually look like.
First of all, I’m going to start off with some examples of different types of search results that could be dished up when searching with different search terms. The first example is someone typing into Google search terms when they don’t necessarily know who the business is that they are looking for. The example I’m going to give here is someone looking for Search Engine Optimisation services in Brisbane so the keyword for this example could be “seo brisbane”.
When typing in a generic search term such as “seo brisbane”, here are the search results you would likely see when submitting this search term. At the top, you can see some Ads, generally that’s around 3-4 Ads at the top of search results. Then we have the Map Pack listings, which we have 3 there at the moment. And below that, we then have 10 organic listings on the first page of Google.
The area that we want to be showing up with the reviews that we’re getting is this section here (Map Pack listings). This could potentially be your Google+ page, with these stars here being your rating (first Map Pack listing).
Another example that we could do, is someone who knows who the business is from the first example, and potentially they came across Alpha Digital. Now, they’re typing in “alpha digital’ into their search bar a week or two after when they’ve decided. We’re going to type in “alpha digital”.
When we type in the business’s exact name, the search results are a little bit different. If they have a Google+ page already, this will be showing up in the righthand side of search results. That’s going to take up quite a big area there. Aside from that, it will probably be the businesses website in the top organic position, then we have nine other organic search results just under the businesses URL.
The importance of reviews for this second example is on your Google+ page, which is taking up this area here (on the side).
It has the star rating at the top, then we generally have three review snippets, which is a key section of three different reviews that Google has chosen to present on the page of the search results when searching for that business.
We’ve now gone through a couple of examples of how your Google+ page will be showing up on Google, now we’re going to talk about the benefits: what is the purpose of you spending your time to get these Google+ reviews?
Benefits of Google+ Reviews
The first of which is, reviews on your Google+ page are an essential ranking signal for local SEO. Reviews, along with many other ranking signals, will be getting your Google+ page higher in Map Pack results, that we spoke about over here (first example), although getting these reviews, and getting more quality reviews, will improve your local SEO.
Another benefit of reviews on your Google+ page is a statistic found out by Zendesk when they conducted a survey, which discovered that 90% of people take reviews into consideration when making a purchasing decision. We really want to be appealing to that 90% of customers who use these reviews when they make that purchasing decision. We want to build a lot of trust with these potential customers. It’s that 90% that we want to be targeting.
A statistic for search engine usage in Australia is that, at the moment, Google occupies around 95% market share of search engine usage in Australia. Second to that, is Bing which is around 4%. We’re going to focus our efforts on Google for the moment.
Here’s a bonus for you, if you can get 5 reviews on your Google+ page, that’s when you’re going to get the star rating like we saw here (example 2) and in the generic search results. When we get those 5 reviews, we’re going to get the star rating, which is fantastic.
Avoid Pattern-based Review Activity
Now we get into the things that I want you to avoid, a big no no. We want avoid pattern-based review activity, what this means is that we want to avoid to things on our Google+ page that an algorithm or computer could potentially pick up on and not see as favourable.
The first of which, is one that is actually stated by Google directly, this is not to get customers to leave a review at your place of business. This is also not to set up reviews kiosks at your place of business and get customers to leave a review while they are there.
Another is not asking for reviews gradually over time, this is positive for search engines seeing that reviews are just trickling in over time, getting 5 reviews in one week compared to 5 reviews over the space of a few months would be more favourable.
And finally, try not to provide an example of what you want your customer to say in the review as we want this review to be as customised to your customers experience as possible and be completely unique.
Steps for Getting a Review
I’m now going to outline a strategy that we use at Alpha Digital to explain to our clients to get them to get their customers to leave a review on their Google+ page.
Step 1: Determine your customer lifecycle
The first of which, is determining your customer life cycle. This is essentially a process that you’re going to have to go through to discover when is the best time to ask your customer to get a review on your Google+ page. Here’s an example: a customer might visit your website, they might enquire on the website through a contact form submission, schedule the job with the client, and then the job is completed.
Sometimes, that is the best time to ask for a review, and other times, it might be a month or two months time.
Step 2: Generate a custom link
The second step is to generate a custom link by going to Grade Us. Grade Us is a website that allows you to create your own custom link that links you to the “review” button on your Google+ page which allows them to not have to explain how to get to the search results typing in the businesses name and navigate to the reviews area.
This will create a pop-up using a custom link, and that pop-up will give them the opportunity (if they are signed in to their gmail account) to give their star rating and write their experiences and submit their review, or sign in to their gmail account (then they can leave the review).
This is the process for getting them to leave the review with that custom link. There’s a button, just below this video, if you click that, you can go to Grade Us and create your custom URL. Make sure it’s on google.com.au as well.
Step 3: Deliver an incredible product or service
Very important for getting reviews on your Google+ page: you’ll need to deliver an incredible product or service. Obviously, to get someone to leave a review, and want to leave a review, you’re going to need to make an impression on them.
Also, in this step, while you’re delivering the product or service, is to mention that if they’re happy at the end of the process to ask them in person if they would feel comfortable with leaving a review on your Google+ page. If they say yes, then proceed to step 4.
Step 4: Follow up with “the” email
The final step is to follow with an email. This email will include the link that we’ve created in step 2 (the customisable link that leads to the reviews form on your Google+ page), and it will essentially say: “thank you for your business, it would be great if you could leave a review on our Google+ page” and providing that link. Hopefully, the customer will be able to direct through to that link and leave their review, or sign in to their gmail account and leave their review.
And that’s it: all the best for your reviewing endeavours, and hopefully you can get enough reviews to get the star rating in search results and win more business.