As a Google Local Guide, I review every place I visit and every place I eat. With over 300 reviews and photos uploaded to Google, I am just one of many who are helping Google index local businesses, build reviews and improve the accuracy of Google Maps.
Google does not pay me for these services, but I do receive special Google branded products and other perks for being a Google Local Guide.
Here’s what I’ve found out as I travel my local area.
Reviews really do matter.
People actually look at the photos I post for about a business.
Negative reviews mean I probably won’t visit.
I am constantly evaluating my store or restaurant experience.
If I receive poor service, I will write about it.
Even for lower end restaurants food presentation is important.
People actually read what I post about a business.
I do not tell business owners I am reviewing them.
I myself select who I trade with based on online reviews.
Reviews are more important than a nice website.
The bottom-line is that you are on display and being rated with every phone call, every visit, every plate that is served. You may have the best website, but if your visitors do not receive the royal treatment when they call or visit, you’ll set yourself up for a negative review. Get several and they can damage your business and sales!
Here’s a comment I found on Yelp about one of the businesses I cross paths with that when I saw it I cringed for them:
“…Terrible. My 8 year old was like, “OMG MOM what happened?” Called her to adjust, try to fix, whatever, she was rude and condescending beyond words… AND WAY over priced. She had the *** to tell me how much it would cost to fix them! She said it was a touch up… Losing her eyesight and hand is NOT steady, her mind is gone too! NUTS! ”
Consumers love Yelp and business owners hate Yelp, but as a business owner, you’d better learn how to work the Yelp system to your advantage. Reviews about your business happen on Yelp whether you have an account or not. Deciding not to claim your page there does not mean that your poor reviews will not show up, rather you simply have no way to rebut them . This is the same for Google Local. Google will build a page for your business where a review about you will be housed whether you claim the page or not.
As this business I mentioned with the poor review, has tons of really great reviews, it is a shame that this one review on Yelp is getting serious exposure on Google that is sure to damage their sales.
Better by far is to embrace the system, claim these page (Yelp and Google Local) and drive happy customers there by pointing emails to these pages and asking customers to review you online. One terrible review will not hurt you when you have 10, 20, or 50 fabulous reviews. There will always be “trolls” out there and consumers know it, but when you have only one review and it is a really poor one and Google is choosing to show it by your website listing, it can damage your business terribly.
Need more help with your image online? Ask us about our Brand Booster program or savvy solutions to help build your online and website reviews.
I’m looking for just a few guinea pigs for a service test that I am strongly considering for my business. And I am willing to discount my typical hourly rate for my test program to identify if what I feel can legitimately be done to boost reviews and remediate negative reviews works.
If you are a business owner who has been unfairly targeted by a competitor who has posted illegitimate reviews about your firm in order to boost there own placement please kindly consider giving me a call.
What I am considering doing is only totally legitimate – no bogus reviews, no hidden IP posting to Yelp.
Here’s what I am thinking of doing:
1. Create a website online review form and encourage your team to put this link at the bottom of all emails to solicit reviews that can be put on your own website coded with Google’s rich snippets.
2. Create a testimonials page on your website and house the top rated reviews there.
3. Set up a BlogSpot blog to showcase your online reviews as blog posts.
4. Call customers for you to solicit quotes that can be used in marketing on your behalf.
5. Monitor your online reputation to see if these website and off-site tactics help to remediate a reputation problem.
I won’t take all comers and will be selective over who I take on in this test and I’ll drop my hourly rate for these services by 20% for this limited test. You will need to allow us to use your results in our next whitepaper is you are selected as a test candidate.