Now, we know that Google for Businesses can be a trial if you aren't used to its idiosyncrasies, but this blog post is intended to show you just why it's so important to actively engage with it.
When did you last Google your own business?
First and foremost: Your Google business page is being shown to everyone who searches for your business. Like this...
To the right is the Google carousel (first introduced in the summer); you will notice that (apart from the business details and directions) the only other thing Google is showing there are (a) any reviews - on Google or anywhere else Google can find and (b) a button inviting anyone to write a review.
Here's a very interesting 'heat map' that shows just how dramatically user behaviour has changed since Google introduced their carousel:
Once you have 5 reviews Google introduces star ratings:
Which, if you haven't enagaged with Google is more likely to look like this:
With reviews like this:
Some businesses have been very slow to appreciate the effect this will be having. Like it or not consumers want and read reviews (that's why Google is showing them). They also believe them (rightly or wrongly) - detailed studies by both Harvard and Cornell universities have proved this beyond all doubt.
The Good News
Google wants to become the No1 'go to' resource for consumer reviews. Why is this good for businesses? Because it enables you to simplify your strategy; if your potential customers don't need to search for reviews on specialist sites, you can focus on Google.
We're not saying that sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp (and small specialist sites like AllAgents and AllinLondon) will immediately wither and die, but they are bound to suffer by comparison with Google. After all, Google is the gatekeeper, your potential customers have to go there first.
Implement a strategy
Someone within your business, however large or small it is, should have responsibility for your Google Business page(s).
Everyone in your business should be focused on getting clients to write reviews to Google.
Help from HelpHound
We are here to help and advise. Dialogue can automatically invite your clients to post reviews to Google; we'll then work together with you we will make sure you have a great rating (and a steady flow of great reviews as well).
An important added benefit
Once you have an established presence on Google, other ratings sites will become less and less important - your prospective customers won't go to them if you have enough reviews on Google.