A Big Announcement For Local SEO
At the start of April Search Engine Land reported that you will no longer need a Google+ account to leave a review on a Google business page. This is a game changer for small businesses and will have a big impact on local SEO going forward.
The obvious questions come to mind however. Will this make much of a difference? How much of easier does this make leaving a review? Will this leave Google business pages more vulnerable to spam?
How Much Easier is it to Leave a Review Now?
It is substantially easier than before. We have heard time and time again ‘it won’t let me leave a review’, from clients and customers of clients insisting they are signed in when in fact they are signed in…but to their Google account without a Google+ account. Thank the heavens a stop has finally been put to this.
Now, when you consider the time it takes to create a Google account vs the time it takes to create a Google account followed by a Google+ account we are talking a huge reduction in complexity, time and effort. The audience for reviewers just got a lot wider.
What Does This Really Mean for Businesses?
In my opinion this creates the largest opportunity for service based businesses – Restaurants, bars, estate agents, private practices. Essentially all local business. Why? Accessibility.
Let me run a real-life example past you. Let’s say you own an estate agency but it is a nightmare trying to get people to leave Google reviews after a sale. You would send them an email asking, and they could be over the moon with your service and want to recommend you. However when they try to do this they are confronted with the tedious process mentioned above – a large percentage of drop-outs occur here.
Now let’s say when they come to collect their new keys and they are in the peak of their excitement and praise for your business, you are waiting with a tablet on a quick form page for a Google account. Two minutes later they are signed up and writing you a five star review.
You might be asking why this strategy wouldn’t work before, and you would be justified in your inquisition. The answer is we have trialled this exact process in the past with a very low success. Not only does the customer get frustrated with this but the staff were none too pleased at the extended process. Since this change has come in the objections and frustrations are all but a memory.
Timing and Mobility of Review Requests
The example above demonstrates exactly the right way how to get Google reviews for you local business. Always ask at the peak of your customers satisfaction, and always make it as easy as possible. By doing this you increase your chances of not only getting the review, but a glowing recommendation.
This is a very transferable technique as well. When you bring the bill in restaurant/ bar (you can even bring a free drink as well to guarantee a great review) for example, or straight after a purchase in a shop you can give a discount on their next visit.
What do You Think This Means for Local SEO and Google Business?
How do you think this will impact local SEO on Google? You could be of the opinion that nothing will change, or you might think that it will open the reviewing platform up to spam or even negative reviews from competitors. Either way, I’d love to hear in the comments or reach out to us on our social channels.