As consumers increasingly rely on Google to find products and services online, you need to ensure your business can be easily found. Google always puts the user experience first — it prioritizes convenience by suggesting credible businesses within close proximity of the searcher. And this is where your Google Maps information is key.
Around 46 percent of all Google searches seek local information (GoGulf). Without specific and optimized location information on Google Maps, it’s highly unlikely that Google will suggest your business to a local customer. Simply put, it can’t recommend what it doesn’t know and you lose out on local search volume.
But ranking high on local search results doesn’t only mean having a Google Maps location — it’s also about having a robust overall presence on Google.
A robust Google presence is built with local search engine optimization (SEO) techniques such as using keywords or your target audience’s search terms in your content to boost relevance, having positive Google business reviews and generating new Google Maps reviews consistently to make your business more credible and trustworthy.
Your Google My Business (GMB) profile is your identity on Google and critical to local SEO. You need to add your business information and complete a verification process on your GMB profile before you can have access to other Google tools such as Search, Maps and Google business reviews.
Four in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information (Think with Google). To capture a broader target audience, make sure your business shows up on Maps Google results with an optimized GMB profile. Implement tried-and-tested local SEO strategies to improve your rankings on local searches and boost your sales.
In this blog, we take you through everything you need to know about maximizing Maps Google features and reaping the benefits of stellar Google Maps reviews. We discuss:
• Understanding Google Maps reviews
• How to add review in Google Maps
• Benefits of reviewing on Google Maps
• Why you need Google Maps Business Reviews
• How to get more Google maps reviews
• Getting Google Maps business reviews the right way
Understanding Google Maps Reviews
Filling out a GMB profile is a prerequisite to being found on Google Maps, but this step does not automatically mean your business will appear on Maps Google pin locations. You need to complete your profile and go through a verification process first.
For example, if you filled out your GMB profile but have not completed the verification, a user manually browsing Google Maps will not see your business name pinned. Additionally, if they make a generic search like “plumbing company near me,” your business will not show up on Google Maps results.
If your business is verified, your GMB profile, the business information panel found on the right side of search results, reflects “Manage this listing.” If your business is not verified, it would say “Own this business?” instead.
Here are three techniques to ensure your business is visible on Google Maps:
According to experts, there are many reasons why your business would not show up on Google Maps search results. But completing the above steps will launch you ahead in driving profitable results with local SEO.
Take your Google Maps presence a step further by boosting your local authority and improving your local search visibility.
Domain authority or location authority is how credible and established your brand (website and overall online presence) is in the eyes of search engines — particularly for local search results. The more authoritative a site is, the more likely Google would recommend you.
Here are three major drivers of location authority and improved local SEO rankings:
1. Having an optimized GMB profile (accurate, verified and keyword-optimized)
2. Having authoritative sources list or mention your business information (called citations)
3. Having a high-quality and continuous stream of new Google Maps reviews
Out of these go-to local SEO techniques, the benefits of reviewing on Google Maps are a cut above. Exceptional Google Maps business reviews improve your local authority and directly influence sales.
To have a complete picture of the value of online reviews, let’s dig deeper into how to add review in Google Maps.
How to Add Review in Google Maps
You’ve probably done a Google search on “write review Google Maps” because you weren’t sure how to — and your customers likely feel the same way.
Because you know how valuable Google reviews are to local SEO and your sales, you’d naturally want to ask your customers for reviews. Before doing that, it’s best to take the guesswork out of leaving reviews and ensuring they skip out on the “write review Google Maps” step.
Google provides these simple steps on how to write reviews and add ratings of places:
1. Open Google Maps and make sure you’re signed in.
2. Search for a place, scroll down and click “Write a review.”
3. Select a star rating to score the place out of 5 and add a written testimonial.
Google aggregates reviews to come up with an average star rating and display key customer testimonials on your GMB profile to serve as trust signals for your potential customers to assist in their purchase decisions.
Benefits of Reviewing on Google Maps
A 2019 BrightLocal survey revealed that 90 percent of consumers used the internet to find a local business, with 33 percent looking daily. Google Maps business reviews are crucial to attracting these customers for the following reasons:
1. Google business reviews serve necessary trust signals or social proof for customers. Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business (BrightLocal).
2. Review ratings are the biggest driver of clicks on local search engine results pages (SERPs) (BrightLocal).
3. Google confirms high-quality reviews and responding to your reviews are local search ranking signals. Review signals make up 15 percent of Google Local Pack (top three featured local search results) ranking factors (Moz).
In line with Google’s customer-first approach, it wants to assure your potential customers you are trustworthy and would never recommend a questionable business. The Google business review system benefits both the user and the business by enabling more successful purchases.
For the user, Google pushes business reviews with its Local Guides program where reviewers have a set of perks for actively reviewing businesses on Google.
For businesses, Google provides a way to create a link for customers to write reviews, bringing them directly to the page you want them to see. Additionally, you can respond to Google business reviews and work in some keywords for improved location authority and more ranking opportunities, significantly contributing to your Google Maps marketing efforts.
Why You Need Google Maps Business Reviews
We know that Google reviews favor both users and businesses, but the most concrete reason you need Google Maps reviews is because they help you rank in the Google Local 3-Pack or Google Local Pack.
It is the set of featured local search results at the top of SERPs (93 percent of the time), giving businesses on the 3-Pack the highest chance of clicks and potential sales.
To emphasize — without verifying your GMB account, you would not qualify for high SERP rankings and certainly not for the coveted Local 3-Pack.
To reap the benefits of the Google Local 3-Pack, you need to continuously strengthen your location authority and other local SEO ranking signals.
Here are the three ranking factors Google uses to form the Local 3-Pack results:
1. Relevance: how well your GMB profile matches the search query
2. Distance: your proximity to the user
3. Prominence: your domain or location authority
Experts confirm that Google business reviews are the most important factor to ranking on the Local 3-Pack.
Google loves to display its Local 3-Pack of the top 3 closest businesses on the map. Companies with few reviews or a bad review score are automatically removed from this section and lose visibility and leads,” said Rize Reviews senior reputation manager Tim Clarke. He emphasized that not being visible on the 3-Pack hurts a business’s revenue.
How? Fifty-two percent of people say a physical address is the most important information and 38 percent are put off if there is no map or address displayed on search results (BrightLocal). Google gives searchers what they need through the Local 3-Pack.
How to Get More Google Maps Reviews
The best answer is that you have to ask for it. But it’s not entirely a daunting task — 76 percent of people you ask to leave a review will go on to do so. You need proactive review acquisition strategies done with the right timing to encourage customers to leave reviews.
Here’s how to get more Google Maps reviews with a robust review generation strategy:
1. Claim and verify your Google My Business (GMB) listing
Achieving this step makes your business information and brand more visible online. Be sure to reflect all your business information consistently across all platforms and ensure accuracy by updating your GMB listing for changes such as new business hours.
2. Make it Easy to Leave a Review
It’s a big enough task to ask for your customer’s time, so make sure your communications are explicit. It would help to have the words “write review Google Maps” loud and clear in the form of a button in an email or a link in a message.
3. Send Review Request Reminders
We know all too well that, in any situation, it’s challenging to obtain your desired action the first time. Modern online reputation management software automates your reminders and increases your chances of successfully acquiring reviews.
4. Maintain a High Average Star Rating
Having a 5-star rating earns a business 39 percent more clicks from Google local results than having a 1-star rating, and only 53 percent of people would consider engaging with a business with a rating of less than 4 stars. Ensure you don’t turn away valuable customers with a low star rating.
5. Respond to Your Reviews
Consistent review acquisition paired with a proactive review response strategy creates a cycle of customer engagement. Responding to reviews will show the brand is engaged with customers and push more reviews. This form of online activity leads to improved location authority and better rankings.
Common hurdles in acquiring Google business reviews is getting unfair, negative reviews from competitors or consumers who are confused or malicious. Also, responding to reviews quickly and correctly is hard,” said Clarke.
An online reputation repair service can help you flag and remove invalid reviews (such as those coming from people not in your database) or unfair reviews that stain your brand image.
Get Google Maps Business Reviews the Right Way
We’ve gone through everything you need to know about the value of local SEO and Google Maps reviews. Here’s a recap of what makes a robust Google Maps marketing strategy:
✓ You need an optimized and accurate GMB profile
✓ You need to rank on Google’s Local 3-Pack
✓ You need consistently generate new Google Maps reviews
But getting reviews the right way means ensuring your methods abide by Google’s standards. Google has a strict set of rules on prohibited and restricted content which includes posting of fake reviews or using banned “black hat” methods that Google considers as cutting corners.
Rize Reviews is a full-service online reputation management company offering top-tier Google Maps marketing services. We are fully compliant with the Maps User Contributed Content Policy and ensure your business is favored by Google’s ranking algorithm and rewarded with the Local 3-Pack.
Our fully managed reputation management software can send unlimited email and SMS review requests to facilitate a robust review generation strategy. On the same platform, you can monitor your reviews and respond to your reviews to generate engagements consistently.
Contact Rize Reviews for a free online reputation audit and begin reaping the benefits of Google business reviews and consistent Local 3-Pack rankings today.