Creating a Google Places Listing for your business is important if you want to be found in local searches online. Most consumers search the internet for a product or service before they leave their homes to find the business they want to visit to make their purchase.
Just like websites, Google Places Listings follow a set of optimization rules that determine who shows up in position A at the top of the list.
Getting reviews from customers on your places page is a major factor in climbing the local list of competitors.
In this article we’ll look at:
- How Google Places Works
- How to Get Google Places Reviews
- Other Factors to Be Aware Of
- Free Download: Google Places Review Request Template
Ranking on Google Places
Let’s take a look at an example so we’re all on the same page. In the image below we’ve completed a local search in our hometown (Collingwood, Ontario) for pizza.
Here we can see the top three options for the local ‘pizza‘ search. These local search results display not only the Google Places Listing but the associated website from that Places listing, giving users the choice of viewing the site, the listing and even the location on a digital map.
And the Winner Is…? Firehall Pizza!
As you can see, the list from position A to C is Firehall Pizza, Domino’s and 241 Pizza. Firehall Pizza is a single restaurant here in Collingwood while Domino’s and 241 are recognized giants. How then, can a simple local business rank higher than big box pizza chains? The clues are actually in the local results.
All three businesses have either a Google Places Listing or a Business Page on Google+, which have been closely linked in service and function by Google developers. So we’ll call that a three-way tie. The determining factor in this local listing competition is reviews.
Firehall Pizza has 5 reviews, only 3 with comments, published to their Places Listing, while their top two competitors have 0 between them. The reviews for Firehall Pizza aren’t even positive ones. Even bad reviews are better than none.
Although it’s unknown exactly how Google ranking system works (they can be very secretive about how heir algorithms work), what is obvious is that social activity and endorsements can push you past your competition.
Google’s Most Important Local Ranking Factors
Here’s a quick list of what matters:
- Having a Google Places Listing and/or Google+ Business Page
- Completing your listing to 100% completion
- Having a website that performs well
- Overall web presence and social activity
- Reviews and Endorsements
With the sheer volume of local competition and listings reviews is one area that a business can set itself apart from the crowd.
How to Get a Google Places Review
Now that you know how important reviews are to your local listing you probably want to know how to get your customers to pop out their smartphones and laptops and give their opinion online. The first step is providing a good product or service. If you take care of business first, gathering reviews should be simple. The key is to make the review process as easy as possible for your customers.
Here are the best ways to collect reviews on your Google Places Listing:
React to Satisfied Customers
Inevitably some customers will love your business. Your product or service is exactly what they need and they’ve decided to let you know via social media, a comment on your website or a direct email.
When a customer reaches out with a thank you or a pat on the back respond with a simple suggestion to review you on Google. You’re really just asking them to repeat themselves and more often than not your customer will be more than happy to write you a singing endorsement.
Make it easy on yourself. Use our Free Google Review Request Template to send quick responses. Include a link to your Places Listing page.
Add a Link on Your Website
Most businesses get a lot of traffic, leads and customers from their website. With all those unique visitors coming and going it’s a shame to lose out on all those opportunities. Make sure people know they can review your business with a helpful link.
Linking to your Google Places Listing not only establishes higher levels of trust with your audience but makes it easy for established customers to rate your business.
Connect to your listing wherever possible.
Email Captures and Requests
There are a lot of ways to capture a customer’s email address during a transaction. Have them subscribe to your blog. Give them helpful documents and how-tos to download. Any positive purchase is a great time to request email addresses as part of the process.
Each and every email you capture is one more chance to gather a glowing Google Places review.
Download our Free Google Places Review Request Template
Having an email template on hand to easily message all your potential reviewers makes the process simple, consistent and professional.
Luckily for you we’ve prepared the email template for you. Simply download our Review Request document and fill out the empty sections with your business info and you’re good to go.
Download our Google Places Review Request Template today and get started!
Email all your customers and start getting the reviews your business deserves.