Business review sites matter to any local business. Why? The answer is in front of you every day. We all search for local shops and restaurants on our phones, and the first sites that usually come up are identified on Google Maps, Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Open Table (just to name a few). Review sites matter to us as customers, and should 100% matter to you as a business owner.
What is Google Local Guides, and how big is it?
The program lets users plug into the Google Maps app, and contribute photos, reviews, and confirm info about businesses and public venues. According to Google, it has 33 million Local Guides in more than 240 communities.
How does Google engage your clients in sharing reviews?
Local Guides is a program and app that anybody can easily install and start contributing to. Points, levels, and the badging system make it interactive and fun, and also ensure its continuous development. For example, you get 5 points for a photo shared, and 7 points for a video shared. As the app grows in popularity, it is also becoming more relevant in a culture of sharing and contributing. Millennials—who are now the largest consumer group for any business—love review sites, even job review sites.
How do Google Local Guides attract new users?
Through the user-friendly interface, and ability to rank in trust. It is an empowering experience, for anyone who has an experience with a business to contribute and share information about their experience. Once you get your ranking above Level 2, your “trust” level also rises. This is the same as Yelp, and it’s “Elite” program.
Today, user experience correlates with speed. When your trust level is raised, your changes are published quicker. Likewise, if you submit a new a business listing, it gets approved faster.
Fascinating fact: Users who have written at least 50 high-quality reviews and maintain at least 5 reviews per month are invited into a Google+ community of other reviewers. They also receive local discounts, free Google merchandise, and invitations to special local events.
How does it affect your business, and why should you care?
- Your potential, current, and future customers trust reviews. Search Engine Land states that 72% of consumers believe all online reviews.
- Google Local Guides has deeper penetration than Yelp. They are integrated into 83% of local Google searches.
- This program affects your local SEO ranking. If you are a local business, then you care about local SEO. Google Local Guides will have a direct impact on your local SEO.
- Google Local Guides gives you stars. You can quickly gain 5 stars, since you don’t need to wait for 5 reviews for your clients to see the star rating. Stars help. How? Because they increase click-through-rate (CTR) by as much as 20%.
Can you boost your business with Google Local Guides?
Oh, yes. There are several important things that you can start doing today.
- The secret is to encourage your customers. You can also easily send clients a link to your Google review page. Just ask, and don‘t make it awkward. Integrate it into your email marketing campaigns. You can also share your google review link on social media. One of the ways to get more clickthroughs is to shorten the link. Use link shorteners like https://goo.gl/ or http://bit.ly or http://ow.ly. Have a Review Us page on your website, featuring links to you major review profiles.
- You can also use Google to advertise. There are free and paid options for advertising your business on Google.
Let’s start with free advertising.
- Use your Google Places page for real-time information. For example, when you start campaigns and promotions.
- Make sure that you have Places pages for each of your business locations.
- It is strange how many companies don’t do this, when it only takes a few minutes. Do not forget to embed your Google Maps location on your website.
For paid advertising, you can use either Google Tags or Google Boost. Google Boost is a keyword-based tool which displays your Place page link alongside Google search results. This is yet another new tool that can help you grow.
Google Local Guides is a disruptor in the business review niche. The most important thing for you to take into account is the platform it is based on: Google. Here, each Google user can become your business reviewer. That says it all. Take action and win more customers.