Here are a couple of tips for you to make it easier for people to review your business on Google.
Google has made some changes recently to their Google My Business program, most notably doing away with Google+ Pages for Local. This is frustrating for those of us who put time and effort into creating a page but c’est la vie (that’s life) on the Internet. The good news is that the information contained on those pages is still being used by Google and is as important as ever.
The place to go to enter new business information or to edit existing information is google.com/business. There you enter contact info, photos, hours of operation, map location and all of the details that you would like Google to pass on to your customers. Make sure that you have a verified business listing before going on to the next step.
This is also where you will find reviews that people have left about your business and where you can respond to them. Reviews are very important to Google, particularly in local listings (those that are shown on a map). In most cases, the more positive reviews, the higher in the search results a business is placed. It would be great if you could enter reviews on behalf of your customers but you can’t. They must enter them themselves. But you can make it easier for them, by providing a direct link to the review entry form for your business on Google. This link can be hard to construct but luckily there is a tool that does most of the work.
A company called Grade.Us has created a Google Review Link Generator, which is free to use. These are the steps:
- Enter your business name and zip code.
- Select the correct business listing from the choices available.
- From the review link options, copy the one from “Open in Search Results” (you can preview it first to see what it will do).
The only shortcoming of this tool is that it only works for businesses that have listed a physical address with Google. Service area businesses aren’t included.
What if you have a service business?
If your business isn’t listed by street address in Google, you’ll have to build the link yourself. Here are the steps:
- Go to your business listing in Google My Business.
- Copy the URL of this page from the browser’s address bar.
- Paste it into a text document so that you can see the whole thing (it will be long and ugly).
- Look for the “PageId=” attribute and copy the number that follows it, up to but not including the following ampersand.
- Copy the URL below (make sure there are no spaces or line breaks) and replace “xxxx” with the PageId number from step 4:
- This is the URL that will open a review window for your business. Note that it will require a Google login by the person using it.
- Rather than handing out this long URL, shorten it by using the URL shortener at https://goo.gl.
Once you have the link, here are a few things you can do with it:
- Add it to a “Review this Business” button on your website.
- Put it in your email footer.
- Send it to your best customers in an email, with a direct request.
- Add it to your social media posts and profile.
The easier it is to leave a review, the more you will get. And for well run businesses (which we all have, right?), your customers will say nicer things about you than you should ever say about yourself. Google will be listening.