Google’s “My Business Profile” has undergone almost more name changes (5) than Prince (9), but we’re thinking the new brand is here to stay, which is “Google Business Profile,” or GBP for short. Good luck remembering that, like writing 2021 on your checks. Yes… I still… from time to time… write checks.
Google Business Profile is your official business listing in the eyes of Google, and typically appears on the right hand side of the results page when doing a branded search (see above image). This is an important step in getting good search rankings for your company’s website, as well as promoting your services to the public through search.
Think of it as a phone book listing on steroids. Oh, there I go again, showing my age… “phone book.”
Not only does it have your business’ name, address, hours of operation, and other vital details about your business, but Google relies on your listing to see if you’re a good match for a web search as you are engaged with your customers. Your GBP also has functions that include Posts (short blurbs and updates from you to the public,) Photos, and Reviews.
In regards to Reviews, customers can not only rate you on a scale of 1 star to 5 stars, 5 being good, but also leave a few comments to accompany their review.
Dealing with Negative Reviews
Reviews are a mixed bag. Its a thrill to wake up and find a great review from a satisfied customer, another metric Google uses to determine who you are and what you do (and how well you do it.)
However, it can be extremely frustrating to see a bad review, especially if its spam, or comes from an individual you know did not shop with you, and is just causing trouble.
I get asked a lot how to remove bad reviews…
My typical answer is to reply to it with kindness and compassion and truth, and court new (good) reviews to push the old one down. While it is possible to get Google to remove a negative review (I’ll cover that soon), its usually more economical to simply reply and court new, more positive reviews.
Most potential shoppers will tolerate a small percentage of negative reviews, and I’ve even heard of businesses avoiding a “perfect 5 Star rating” to show some fallibility, which is seen as more believable.
It is also important to respond to reviews… especially negative ones.
Responding to positive Google reviews will send a signal to Google you are engaged with your customers, and give a shit.
It can be a powerful PR method to simply counter a negative review with facts and figures, and not get defensive. Current and potential customers will see how you handle yourself with grace and ease, and that will go a long way in having them discard said review as spam, or perhaps an unreasonable customer.
Engaging with a negative review, and finding resolution, can also, under perfect circumstances, lead to the reviewer to update their negative review into a positive one. And also most definitely soon monkeys will indeed fly out of my butt.
Acquiring Positive Google Reviews
Here are some proven methods to organically court more reviews from your customers and network, in an effort to help your website’s SEO, and broadcast a more complete picture of your offerings to the world:
- Ask anyone and everyone to visit your GBP and leave a review, especially after a successful transaction, or completion of a project. You can do this by phone, email, in person, or in any way that human communications are done these days. Be careful not to offer incentives or discounts in exchange, as that’s a violation of Google’s guidelines.
- Put a link for reviews on your website, your email signature, and your social media profiles.
- Get a short link, and put it everywhere (see below)
Start slow and gain momentum. Don’t be tricky or sneaky with reviews. If you think you are employing a tactic you worry may be unethical or nefarious, it likely is.
Some businesses will see a lot of reviews whether you ask for them or not (e-commerce, rental companies, real estate etc.) while other niche businesses (like mine) won’t see much action unless the pot is stirred, and requests are made.
I set (and have achieved) a goal to get 2 new reviews per month. In my niche that is more than enough to show Google I am still active and creating happy customers. I respond to all reviews good or bad.
It should be noted that we’re talking about GMB reviews here (dang I did it again!) I mean GBP reviews. Not Yelp, or Bing, or the Better Business Bureau, Trust Pilot, or any of those other citation sites intended to add legitimacy to your business.
If you have any questions about your GBP listing, feel free to reach out to us on our contact page and someone from Eden Marketing will respond to you shortly.
Submitted with high hopes for 2022!
Banner image kindly provided by Annie Nyle