Google Places is the most widely used of all of the local business directory sites. Much of that has to do with Google getting over 65% of all of the search traffic. When consumers are looking for information, many use it without even thinking about their choice of search engine.
Because Google Places’ directory listings often show up first before the top ten web pages, it is an important opportunity for every local small business to participate. In our last lesson we discussed the importance of making sure that you fill your Google Places profile out completely and carefully, so that you get the maximum advantage from your most productive keywords.
One aspect of Google Places that every business owner needs to be aware of is that consumers are encouraged to share their reviews of the businesses that are listed. That means that if a customer has an exceptionally good experience at your business, they will have the opportunity write a review. That review will show up in your actual Google Places listing.
However, the opposite is also true. When customers have a bad experience, they will be empowered to leave a review about your site on the Google Places page. This scenario is now amplified because Google has now tied their social network to their business directory. Therefore, the customer who reviews your business will be potentially sharing that review with their personal or professional network.
The nature of reviews online is such that most of the people who respond tend to do so when they have a bad experience. Those who have the experience that they were expecting or that they feel they paid for are unlikely to respond. Therefore, you will need to make sure to either have a staff person monitor your Google Places listing, or you will need to make it part of something you do personally if you don’t have a staff. One bad review on your Google Places listing could be enough to discourage a prospect from trying out your product or service.
When you do get a negative review there is no need to panic. Google Places gives you the opportunity to answer the person who left the review. Additionally, Google is taking steps to make sure that the review that is left is authentic by connecting the permission to write a review to their social network.
In our next lesson, we will discuss what you can do when you have negative information that appears in the other business directory listings as well as in the top ten search results. Call us today if you have already noticed negative listings near your keywords or in your Google Places reviews. We will share the best practices of other companies like yours when they too have received negative reviews.