The only thing constant with Google, is change –
There was a time, even two weeks ago where getting a customer to review you business on Google was “as easy” as directing them to your Google+ Local page, and having them click the “write a review” button. I say “as easy,” because it was still fairly difficult. Not only did a business need to make absolutely sure the customer was going to the right place, and not a potential duplicate page (a whole other post for another time), but said customer would also be required to have a Google+ account. Oi vey. Headaches ensued.
The easiest way to do this, was to provide the customer with a direct link. Often simply adding ?=review1 to the end of any Google+ URL string would result in the customer receiving a pop up box ready to receive the review. They would simply leave the review (providing they had that G+ account of course), hit save, and voila, you would have a new review, and they would feel more connected to your business. Customer engagement increase made! Everyone wins. Those days are over, it would seem.
Where did my Google+ Local review button go…wait how about ANY of my information?
Last week Google+ rolled out an optional updated view of the “social” platform. Most Local SEO’s don’t think it will be optional for too long however, and it is likely this is a testing period for the new view. What changed? Everything, in short. No longer displayed is an address, phone number, description or anything other than the content that the business has published via their G+ page.
In the words of Mike Blumenthal: Google+ has become very BUSINESS UNFRIENDLY
I would agree, that at the very least, it has become information unfriendly. All the time spent crafting a perfect description, with good linking to your website…gone. The all important “leave a review” button…gone.
Head reeling? Feeling a bit cheated? Feel like maybe you have wasted a lot of time and effort optimizing a page that Google doesn’t place any value in anymore? My answer would be MAYBE.
Google Reviews Are Actually Easier Than Ever-ish.
Still wanting the all-important Google Review? Unsure of how to direct your customer to the correct page, or even what the correct page is? Follow these really simple steps. Keep in mind, that this is Google, so these steps are likely to change within the month.
- Have your client go to Google.com (on desktop), or Google Maps (on mobile).
- Have them type in the name of your business. (Caveat: if you have a franchise, or multi-location business they will need to add the phone number of your specific location. If you don’t have independent phone numbers for each business, you need to contact someone like me).
- Have them click the “leave a review” button (see below). This will require them to have at the very least a Google associated email, and I believe a Gmail account will suffice.
Content is Still King.
Google has long claimed that it’s biggest interest is returning the best results possible for the end user. And, it would seem like a well placed interest, as without users on the search engine, there would be no one to show ads to, thus increasing overall revenue. For a long time have people denied the usefulness of providing well written and engaging content to the Google+ platform. That isn’t to suggest that they were wrong in doing so. There wasn’t a huge ROI in the practice overall. Has this changed? Will Google’s new focus on content return more results from Google+ in the SERP’s? This would work to keep users on Google products, and therefore serve them up more ads. From the quick research I did, the only results pulling up for Google+ were all on page two, and were only for videos that a company had chosen to share. It would seem, that at least until this rolls out completely, you would be better served to put your best efforts elsewhere.
What are your thoughts? Where do you think Google+ is headed? Have you checked the links you have for customers to leave you reviews? (if not you should, they are likely broken).
*Disclaimer: I do not work for iBec Creative, but I do love their site, and all the people who do work there. Check them out: http://www.ibeccreative.com