Lesson Two: Leveraging Google’s Services – Part 2
In this part 2 of our Google Services lesson we discuss some of the more advanced elements and options within this powerful set of tools.
We look into reviews and how to best leverage them.
Note: In this video we also discuss “Google Plus”, however since recording, this has now be depreciated by Google and so we no longer recommend using this particular feature.
Watch the next lesson: Lesson Three: Directories & Business Citations
Hello and welcome to lesson two of module two, where we’re going to take your newly created Google My Business page and make it really work for your business.
In this lesson I’m going to talk to you about Google reviews, why they’re so important and how you can get them for your business. I’m going to use my own agency website as the live example and share with you the difference the reviews made to my agency rankings within a matter of days.
As well as reviews, I’m going to share with you some other top tips of how you can get the most from your Google Business Listing. Such as how you can get you content indexed and ranking super fast and why joining some communities within Google Plus will help Google better understand both your business and your target customer. Right, I’m going to hop into my computer right now and show you all of this using my own agency website as the live example.
Okay, so firstly I want to discuss Google reviews. I’ve previously touched on this, but now I want to delve into why they’re so important and how you can get them for your business. I’m going to use my own agency as the live example, so a quick Google search will bring up the search results and the branded box on the right hand side.
Now to reiterate, you will only see this branded box once you have you Google My Business page set up, you’ve completed your profile, you’ve verified your page and then everything that we’ve covered in lesson one. So if you haven’t done that, make sure that you do it as it has huge benefits for you business. Namely these reviews, which you can see within this box, you have a star rating and it lists the number of reviews. Now if you click into that you can read the reviews and you can see what people are saying about you business and see the star rating they’ve left for you.
Google values these star ratings in these reviews very highly, and rightly so because if people are out there saying positive things about your business and leaving you good, quality testimonials then Googles going to realise that as a business you’re doing a great job and want to show you more prominently within the search results. So how do you of about getting them? Well, there’s a lot of mystery and intrigue as to how, and confusion, as to how you go about getting these and it’s quite simple in reality. Once you know your branded box is appearing on the right hand side, you simply need to tell customers to Google search your brand name.
If they go into Google and simply look you up, then you can tell them do a brand search and on the right hand you’ll see an option to write a review. Tell them to click there, they can leave a star rating, they can write about their experiences of working with your business and hey, presto, that’s done, it takes them a couple of minutes.
Now, some people won’t want to do this, or it gets confused, or the brand book might not appear. Another way you can do this is simply copy and paste, you do the search and then copy paste that link and send that in an email. So if you’re sending your customers confirmation emails or thank you emails, or anything along those lines. Sales confirmation, invoices, you can simply include a footnote that says, If you get five minutes we’d be really grateful if you could leave us a review, simply click here and then click on the write a review box on the right hand side. They’ll click that link, they’ll be brought to a page exactly like this and then they can just click the review and write the review.
If your brand box isn’t apparent and this is quite common for new businesses that have just newly set up their Google My Business page, and it will take two or three weeks for your branded page to appear anyway. But if it isn’t appearing or if it’s appearing sporadically, which sometimes happens, another kind of cheeky way that you can do a branded search is to use the maps. I don’t know why, but the maps seems to update more quickly and seem to show your Google My Business page more favourably than the search results, maybe because they’re less compressive.
But of you do a similar search for your brand name you’ll get this box on the right, on the left hand side and done here it will have write a review. And nine times out of ten, even if your brand box isn’t appearing here, it will appear here. So again, it’s the same principle, you can click write review, it’s just another way that you can potential customers to either look on the search, or go onto Google Maps. And again, to get into Google Maps, you’ve only got to come here, do a search and then you can click on the maps option, which is not here. So there’s several different ways in which you can direct your clients to leave you a review, once they’re here they can just click that, they can leave their review.
When they leave you a review, you’ll get an email notification to say, so and so has left you a review and you can then review this, you can reply to it is necessary by going to your Google My Business dashboard, which is business.google.com. You come into here, you click reviews, you can see the review, view it, you can reply to it, et cetera. Now, if it’s a positive review and it doesn’t need a reply, you don’t need to reply to it, it’s not essential. If it’s a negative review, or someone’s leaving a poor star rating, it’s only a one star or two star, Google, it does like to see you as a business reply to that thing. Just acknowledge them, just help deal with their issues or whatever that complaint is about, so make sure that you are actioning and acknowledging any poor reviews if you get them. I’m sure all of your reviews are going to be glowing, but if they aren’t make sure that you do acknowledge them.
And once you, as with everything where Google is concerned, make sure you do reviews slow and steady. If you’ve got a data base going back 10 years with hundreds or even thousands of clients, don’t go emailing them all in one go saying leave me a Google review, because if you do that’s going to look suspicious, if you suddenly go from nowhere to having dozens or hundreds of reviews. Nine times out of ten it doesn’t take that many, because your competitors won’t be getting Google reviews. Very few of them in all likelihood won’t be even sussing up their Google My Business page properly, less alone, going and getting reviews. So the fact that you’re going to be setting yours up and making sure it’s ticking all the boxes, and then you’re going to be going out a handful of reviews. I’ve seen countless case studies from my clients and clients of my, of other people I know in the industry where they’ve just got five or six or seven or ten Google reviews and that has propelled them up the rankings.
And I’m going to show you one success story, which was my very own agency. Now, just a quick bit of background, I moved my agency from Hertfordshire out to Oxfordshire at the end of 2015. We came here and there are dozens of digital marketing and SEO agencies out in this area, it’s so, so competitive, it’s unbelievable. And I did a little bit of contact marketing, which is exactly what I’m going to be teaching you exactly how to do in module three and throughout that process I manged to go from nowhere up to middle of page one, so ranking four, five, six and seven in the search for all manner of different related terms to my business. That was, I was really pleased with that, I was already outranking all sorts of competitors. But then I thought, I’m going to run a little test for the reviews, and I simply sent out a handful of requests to customers, to clients and said, can you leave me a review.
Fortunately they were all five star reviews, they were all glowing, I was delighted when they came in. But the trick was only to get them slow and steady, I only asked for a couple each month and over the space of a three month period I got six or seven reviews. And that was enough to propel me from those averaging four, five, six, seven positions up to top one, either first or second for a multitude of times. So this is why I’m so keen for you to make the most of Google reviews, because I did nothing different during that time, I didn’t do any promotion in the end, because quite frankly I was too busy doing it for my clients. And you know what it’s like, your own stuff always gets put to the back and you never end up getting it done. Unfortunately, a great position to be in, I don’t have to do any promotion. If
agency I’d get all my work by referrals, but it just goes to show the importance.
And I’m going to show you now, I was ranking fifth for I think for SEO Oxford, I was averaging that, I’m now second in the organic results, again similar thing if I look up SEO Oxfordshire, where I am, second, again and so there’s literally dozens of dozens of time where we’re either first or second and we do keep jostling. One day I look and I’m first and then I’m second and then I’m third, then I’m back first again and your business will be exactly the same, you will jostle around. But just getting those reviews, it will propel you and if you’re not on Googles first page right now, getting handful of reviews along side everything else we’re going to do it will get you there. I’ve seen it so many times, I’m super confident that it will get you onto that first page and not just the first page, but the first half of the first page. So make most of Google reviews, if you do have any questions where reviews are concerned, or the wider My Business Page, make sure that you send me an email to [email protected]
And just before I wrap this up, I want to cover a couple there areas around Google Plus. Now, if you click into home on Google My Business and scroll down you can click through to Google Plus. Alternatively you can just put into the browser plus.google.com. You click into here and Google Plus has all sorts of business benefits, I’ve mentioned about how to get your content index super fast and the easiest way to do this is by putting links to existing content on you website into Google Plus sharing environment, so just writing a post. And when you’re publishing content onto your blog or to your website, you publish it, but you’re reliant on Google to next crawl your website and depending on varies factors, such as how authoritative your site is right now, Google can take two or three weeks or even longer to next crawl your website. So in most cases it’s within 10 to 12 days, but it can be longer. Be even a week is long enough if you’ve published something and you want it to be seen, you want it to get into the search results.
So publishing that post into Google Plus will ensure that it gets indexed instantly, almost instantly. And I’ve seen countless examples of this, where if you publish a post on you own blog and that’s it, you may wait a week or two or three for it to be seen. If you publish it on Google, or in Google Plus, I’ve seen results where it’s in the rankings and it’s on Googles first page for that title or that topic the very next day. So it’s really quick, easy win which you can do and it’s something that’s almost best practised to just do every time you publishing a post, come onto here and you can see how I do it, so these are all links off to post on my website. Whenever I’ve written around or I’ve shared something, whatever it is I have often included links in here to get my content index super, super fast and it’s definately something I recommend you do.
Now obviously, use your common sense, don’t just write, or don’t just paste a link and nothing else, put a couple lines with it or some, to give the link some context. If it’s a new blog post, what’s the post about? If it’s a new product, speak about it in your service et cetera, you get the idea. That’s how you can get your content index super fast and lastly, onto Google Plus communities. Now Google is adding lots of new services, new additions into their Google Plus and just generally their Google business environment, communities is one of these. And I suggest you get involved, because Google is keen to better understand businesses and business sectors and individuals and how they all interact and what’s relevant and what’s not. So just choose a handful, you can search or you can look at the recommended suggestions, business or groups that are going to be of interest to you, your business, your target market, your audience.
So for me I’m in the digital marketing space, I have just joined only a handful, you don’t need to join loads. I’ve just joined the people, communities of those that I respect, those that are of interest to me. So do the same and just get involved, it will make your homepage, or your feed more personalised and more individual to what you’re interested in and you’ll get a better experience, more likelihood that you’ll be interested in sharing something, or joining a conversation, or liking and just generally getting involved within Google Plus. Because, if you create the profile, leave it and never do anything with it, Google knows that that is happening and it won’t give you the full benefit that you can get from having a Google My Business profile.
So that just about covers everything that I wanted to talk about Google Plus and Google My Business, don’t underestimate it’s value, but most importantly once you get your page set up go off to those all important Google reviews. I hope that all made sense, any questions you can email [email protected], otherwise get your Google My Business page set up, verified, join some communities, start posting updates onto your Google Plus page and begin that all important task of requesting Google reviews.
In the next lesson we’re going to start looking at citations and business directories. I look forward to.