Business owners have become accustomed to regularly seeing new additions and changes on the search results page of Google. On August 6, 2015, Google shook things up for local businesses once again by shrinking their seven pack local listings into a consolidated three pack, referred to as the “local stack.” Suddenly, 57% of businesses that appeared on the seven pack lost their first page visibility. Rather than going up in arms about the new changes, businesses can now embrace utilizing Google+ as a tool to help them earn one of those coveted three spots on the local stack. While it is rare for Google to be cut-and-dry about their next additions and latest updates, one certainty in these changes is business reviews via Google+ will be imperative for top local results. Let’s take a look at how to use reviews to get found on the local stack.
A brief history of Google+
In 2011, Google+ was launched with the initial intent of overthrowing the social media giant we all know as Facebook. The initial platform would allow users to share interests and photos as well as connect with friends. Many users found these features to be so similar to Facebook that it failed to impress. A major turnoff for both businesses and casual users alike was the mandatory Google+ signup in order to use additional Google-owned sites such as YouTube and Google Play.
Fast forward four years to 2015 and Google announced that they will no longer make signup mandatory to use of other Google websites. You simply just need a Gmail account with no obligations to use the Google+. There are now over 500 million users on Google plus making it the second largest social network just second to Facebook.
Using Google+ to get Business Reviews
Google has always done a nice job of offering subtle kickbacks to its active users. One of the most prominent examples of this is prioritizing businesses that get a lot of reviews on Google+. Due to Google revoking mandatory signup to utilize Google services, you now simply need just a Gmail address in order to leave a review. In other words, unlike Yelp, Angie’s List, and other local directories, you do not have to sign up for something new.
Now that we’ve explored how easy it is to leave a review, how do you get your clients to actually put in the legwork of reviewing your services?
Simply put … ask them. I know – we want to get stuff done using a dashboard and move on. But let’s remember clients and customers are flesh and blood with their own needs and feelings. When you do something that satisfies your client’s needs – ask for a review. If they’re online shoot them a request – and ask for a review. In a perfect world you should be able to ask them to VISIT YOUR SITE, and click on the “Review Us” button, that takes them to your social media page’s review section. Including of course, Google +.
Rather than question Google’s motives and stress over lost visibility, business owners can now embrace a rhyme and a reason behind using Google+ to drive them. Utilize Google My Business to help you build local citations and make comprehensive listings. It can help you ensure local search success and longevity in the three slot local stack by:
- Making sure you have accurate citations
- Generating quality links
- GOOGLE+ CUSTOMER REVIEWS!
Follow these guidelines and see how Google+ reviews can improve your online presence and help you maintain one of the three spots in the local stack. It takes determination and skill – but success almost always does.