Local Search Results are a very important Google feature for businesses. Any search term that your customers write into Google that includes phrases such as "near me", will almost always result in a map of their local area with business names, addresses and details highlighted.
You'll probably have noticed a very prominent part of this "local search result" - the star rating. If you're reading this blog then you're probably interesting in finding out how to get star ratings in Google local search results, so lets run over it.
Here's a local search for "bike shops near me" performed on a desktop computer. You can see that three shops are featured prominently. The details here (address, phone numbers, opening hours, business names etc) are the ones taken directly from your Google My Business page. It's really important that you have these up to date. It might also be worth adding some photos here because if you don't, Google tends to just include a Street View picture of the outside of your business, which may or may not be desirable and doesn't give you much control.
Here's the same search on a mobile - the same content is present. You'll notice that whichever device is used, the star ratings and business description is present. It's worth noting that the Google My Business result will show a star rating only for that particular branch of a company, so for multi branch companies (such as Evans Cycles seen here), the star rating is just for the Leicester branch, as voted by local Google users.
I'll leave you to make your own decision as to which of these bike shops you're likely to visit based on the review ratings shown here in Google.
Customers can write reviews on your location by visiting your Google My Business page (they can get to that by clicking on the map). Once there, there's a "Write a review" button, visible below.
Click that and you're presented with the Write Review box.
It's worth noting that unless your customer is currently signed in to a Google account they can't write a review.
As you can see, your customer has to go through quite a number of hoops before they're able to review you on Google Local. Google doesn't make it particularly easy. Also, the requirement of them having to own a Gmail account rules out a review coming from anyone who doesn't have a Gmail address.
As you can probably appreciate, customers generally aren't going to go out of their way to review you. However, it's not all bad news, because all you really need to do is ask them. If they've had a good service then most of your super-happy customers will take time to review you.
Your might find that you collect fewer reviews on Google Local though, even when you know you are giving great service. The fact that Google doesn't make it super user-friendly probably means you're getting quite a drop off in collection rates (assuming you are even asking them).
Because Google make it relatively difficult for your customers to review you, we've added our own method to our review collection platform, which specifically caters for Google Local reviews (the majority of the reviews you'd want to collect, of course, are your main Google reviews which lead to Seller Ratings. Google Local reviews, however, don't contribute to those).
The first step in collecting Google Local reviews is how you contact your customer to ask for them. For any customer who's made an order in your store, or through your website, you'll no doubt have their email address or phone number as part of their order process.
You can send them a customised review invitation email (see here for some great examples) which is fully branded and mobile-friendly. Because you have complete control over these emails, you can create your own design and perform unlimited A/B testing to see which ones get you the best response rates. Our support team are on hand to give you tips on how to improve these as well.
In the review email, there'll be a button asking for the review. Here's the great thing. If you choose to ask specifically for Google Local review, we'll only send that particular email out to Gmail account users. So that way you can be sure that 100% of the people you ask are definitely able to write a review - so there's no wastage there.
The button in the email leads your customer to the review collector page on Reviews.io, which asks them if they had a positive experience with your company. If they say no, then they are instead directed to a form to fill in their complaint, and this is sent to you, not to Google Local.
If they indicate that they had a positive experience, then they are sent directly to the "Write a Review" form on your Google My Business page. They'll already be logged in to Google because they'll have just come from their Gmail, and all they need to do is tap a star rating and leave you a comment.
The process is much, much simpler and easier than Google make it so you can really get some good traction if you want to quickly boost your Google Local review score.
Google Local review collection is just one part of the Reviews platform, our Local Reviews solution. This allows you to automatically choose where you want your review invitation email to send your customers, meaning you have control over collecting reviews across a wide range of sites all from one email. We currently support Reviews.io, Facebook, Google Local, Amazon, Trustpilot, Tripadvisor, Check-a-Trade and more.
It's a massive feature and is unique to Reviews.io. It can really help you boost your review scores across the entire internet and get you more visibility across Google, and more visits to your store.
Remember, more reviews and higher scores equals more customers and more sales.
NOTE: The Local Reviews solution directs your customers to local websites in order for them to write a review on those websites. It does not allow you to move the reviews you have collected on Reviews.io’s platform to those local websites. Call us if you need further clarification on this point.
Here's a short video explainer:-
If you want to talk to us about it, click the button at the top of this page to sign up to our free trial, or give us a call today.