If you're a business owner with a local company - by that I mean a company with a local market - Google Local Business Listings (also known as Google places, or Google maps) can get you ranked near the top of Google without as much time and effort as standard organic rankings.
One of the factors Google considers in determining your business listing ranking is the number of customer reviews. Because of this, one of the first things we have clients do when working on improving rankings of a Local Business page is contact past customers and ask for reviews. Sometimes those customers need instructions, so here's a little step-by-step to help you out.
Get your Google Local Business Listing URL:
In order to ask for reviews, you have to have a URL to send to customers where they can leave the review, right? Right. Here's how to get that.
- Find your Google places page. The easiest way to do this is to go to maps.google.com and search for your company name. You may need to add the city to the search. If you don't have a business listing yet, you probably won't show up in this search, so you'll want to set that up first.
- Once you've found your business, click the "more info" link next to the title of the listing. That will take you to your listing.
- From there, in the top right of the page you'll see a link that says, approrpiately, "Link," with a little icon of a chain link next to it.
- Click that and copy the URL that pops up
- Paste that URL into your browser's address bar and hit enter There is a lot of extra information provided in the link Google gives you here that you don't really need. If you have trouble following the next steps, just send your past customers the link you just copied. Otherwise, if you want to shorten that URL a bit, keep reading.
- The URL should look something like this: http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=XXXXXXXXXXXX, followed by a bunch of other stuff. Delete everything after the cid=XXXXXXXXXX part. (The X's are actually numbers representing your unique listing ID).
- Copy what's remaining and paste that into your browser's address bar again to check that it works. Hit enter.
- If your listing pops up again, you've got the right URL.
Instructions for your Customers to Leave Reviews
- Follow the link you just copied.
- Once there, scroll down a bit until you see the heading, "Reviews by Google users."
- You must have a Google account to do this, so if already logged in, they'll see a link that says "Been here? Rate and review"
- Click on "Rate and review"
- If not logged in, they'll see a link that says "Been here? Sign in to rate"
- Click "Sign in to rate"
- If they have a Google account already, they can login and then they'll be forwarded to a page where they can leave a review.
- If they don't yet have a Google account, they'll need to click the button that says "Create an account now," and follow the instructions to create the account. Once created, go back to the Business Listing page and click on "Rate and review" to leave a review.
That's all there is to it. The only tripping up points are going to be if you're customer isn't very internet savvy and/or doesn't yet have a Google account. But Google makes creating a new account pretty easy, so with a little assistance, they shouldn't have any trouble leaving a review.
Hope this helps a few people out. If you've got questions, leave them in the comments.