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The Top 5 Review Gathering Practices To Avoid

Google has recently introduced a fairly comprehensive list of ‘does and don’ts’ relating to gathering reviews from business. Whilst many fall under Google’s ‘Prohibited and Restricted Content’ guidelines they can also be applied to your review gathering practices across all platforms.

To help steer you away from practices which may land you on shaky ground, we have outlined the top 5 review gathering practices avoid:

No. 1 – Do not use review gating

‘Review gating’ is one of the more recent additions to Google’s Review guidelines and essentially means that local businesses can no longer use a third-party tool to filter out negative reviews. In the past, software has enabled businesses to cherry-pick positive reviews by using software to filter out bad reviews and create a false impression of their business.

As of summer 2018, this practice is no longer permitted, with Google guidelines stating:

“Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.”

No. 2 – Do not review your own business

The whole point of allowing customers to leave reviews is to try and gather honest and unbiased accounts of genuine customer experiences. Leaving a review for your own business (or asking a member of staff to leave one on your behalf) flies in the face of this and is against Google Review guidelines for obvious reasons.

No. 3 – Do not review competitors

Leaving false reviews relating to competing businesses is classed by Google as “posting content about a competitor to manipulate their ratings”. Whilst Google doesn’t specifically state in its guidelines what the penalty for this practice may be, we are very confident that at the lower end of the scale, the review in question will be removed, whilst at the higher end of the scale, your website may even be subjected to a Google penalty, which can lead to a world of trouble for your business.

No. 4 – Do not accept or offer money to leave a review

Google does not condone incentivising customers to leave a review for your business. By offering any form of kickback (money, vouchers, prizes etc) to leave a review, you are clearly creating an  environment where the reviewer is more likely to leave a review which may not be true in return for financial gain.

This goes very much against Google’s wishes to offer an unbiased overview of customer experience and one that may leave you liable for punishment from Google.

No. 5 – Do not encourage reviews in bulk

It is just simple bad practice to generate a large influx of reviews over a short period of time as opposed to a drip feed over longer.

Whilst it is always tempting to try and bolster your review count in one swift go, a consistent approach is a far better way to provide an overview of customer experience that is authentic, useful and accurate.

Further Information

Footprint specialise in creating bespoke websites designed to help take your business to another level. We have been providing SEO Surrey since 1998 and if you’d like to speak to us regarding any of our services, give us a call on 01883 372488 or contact us via Facebook and we’ll be happy to talk you through your options.

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By | December 3rd, 2018|Reviews|Comments Off on The Top 5 Review Gathering Practices To Avoid

How Much Attention Do You Pay To Online Reviews?

Do you pay more attention to online reviews than you used to? If you are, you are far from alone.

A 2017 survey highlighted the fact that ‘84 Percent of People Trust Online Reviews As Much As Friends‘. With numbers like these, the importance of reviews cannot be overlooked.

Reviews

How Many Types of Reviews Are Available?

The addition of genuine customer reviews to your website can result in increased trust in your business. This can in turn result in higher conversion rates.

Basically, there are 2 types of customer review. On-site reviews and 3rd party reviews.

  1. On-Site Reviews – These reviews are usually submitted directly to the business and will then be added to the website in the form of either ‘reviews’ or ‘testimonials.
  2. 3rd Party Reviews – These reviews are typically left on 3rd party websites (which are not controlled by the business) including Trustpilot, Google + and Yelp. These may then be displayed via the business website.

Which Benefits Are Offered By Online Reviews?

The addition of reviews to your website (both good and bad) will offer the chance to add regular unique to your website. Not only this, reviews provide new customers with an idea of the type of experience they should expect to receive.

How Can You Get Reviews?

Making it as easy as possible to leave reviews is crucial if you want your customers to leave their views on your business.

Very few people will take the time to leave their thoughts without some sort of prompt. A clear guide on your website or an e-mail reminder will prove to be beneficial.

Should You Worry About Negative Reviews

The main reason many businesses do not offer their customers the opportunity to leave reviews is because of concerns about receiving bad ones!

However, the truth is that bad reviews are not necessarily a bad thing.

  • A poor review can actually prove to be useful in helping businesses identify any areas of weakness.
  • A large proportion of consumers have difficulty in believing that businesses with 100% positive reviews are completely genuine.
  • There are even some studies which suggest that the presence of the occasional negative review may actually be helpful!!

Further Information

Footprint specialise in all aspects of online marketing. If you’d like to speak to us regarding any of our services, give us a call on 01883 372488 or contact us via Facebook and we’ll be happy to talk you through your options.

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By | August 8th, 2018|Reviews|Comments Off on How Much Attention Do You Pay To Online Reviews?

What Does Google Look For In Business Reviews?

Whilst the truth is that as with all areas of SEO, only Google know for certain what they actually look for when taking the reviews of businesses into account.

However, our experience tells us that there are 6 key areas. To help narrow this down, we have drawn up a list of 6 areas to target below.

No. 1 – The Number of Reviews

It is fairly clear that Google loves to have popular businesses ranked near the top of its rankings wherever possible and one of the easiest (and in theory most accurate) ways to do assess this is to factor reviews into their ranking algorithm.

When all things are considered, it is difficult to argue against the fact that popular businesses are more likely to serve a greater number of clients than less popular businesses.

If you can generate a higher number of (positive & genuine) reviews, you have a good chance of forging ahead of your competition in the quest for rankings.

No. 2 – What Do Your Reviews Say?

There are a number of ways that the content of the reviews left on your profiles/citations can impact Google’s ability to find them. The use of positive words and phrases along with words relating to your line of business can both be extremely helpful.

Whilst we understand that any attempt to try and control the content of your customers’ reviews is wrong on a number of levels, a little detail about the level of service and the actually services that your business has provided can go a long way.

No. 3 – Keep Things Fresh & Diverse

A large number of reviews saying ‘Excellent service, happy to recommend and use again’ may well be complimentary and may also be true, a bit of diversity wouldn’t go amiss though! Also, whilst Google Maps & FB reviews are of obvious importance, the generation of reviews on a variety of different platforms is also likely to be beneficial. Yell, Yelp, FreeIndex, Thomson Local & FourSquare are all highly reputation sources.

No. 4 – What Type of Picture Do Your Reviews Paint of Your Business?

This may be surprising to some people but having 5* reviews across the board is not actually as important as you may think it is. Google always aims to provide the most accurate results and with the best will in the world, no-one pleases everyone all of the time!

Whilst aiming for the top and offering the best possible service to all of your customers is certainly advisable, the chances are that from time to time, someone is going to have an experience with you that is less than they hoped for. This does not have to be your fault in any way but the modern world often means that people are more likely to put pen to paper (in a digital way!) if they are angry than happy.

Therefore, a few negative reviews may even help to create an air of realism about your business.

No. 5 – Who Has Left The Review?

Did you know that reviews from members of the Local Guides Program are likely to carry extra weight? A review left from someone who regularly uses the account on that particular platform is highly likely to carry more weight than a review from someone who leaves a review and never uses the account again.

No. 6 – Velocity

BrightLocal survey highlighted the fact that ‘73% of consumers think that reviews older than three months are no longer relevant’. Whilst Google does not remove reviews from an account for much longer than that, it’s worth bearing in mind that a steady drip feed of reviews over a prolonged period of time is much more likely to be beneficial than a deluge over a short period and then nothing for months.

Tapping Into Customer Feedback

We are now firmly in the grip of the digital age and a very strong case can be made regarding the fact that online reviews have largely taken the place of word-of-mouth referrals.

Such is the ease of access that potential customers have to the internet through their smart phones, tablets, PCs and laptops, it has never been easier to seek out online reviews of products and services offered by various companies all around the world — including people who have used your business in the past.

If you run a business, you have the perfect opportunity to tap into customer feedback by providing your customers with the opportunity to leave their views regarding your products and services in the form of online reviews.

These reviews can either be sent directly to your website or Social Media pages, such as Facebook, Twitter & Google +, or to one of the many online directories which aggregate online reviews, such as Yelp or Yell.

Need Some More Help

Would like to find out more about dealing with poor reviews? Give the Footprint Web Design team a call on Tel. No. 01883 372488 today.

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By | February 1st, 2018|Reviews|Comments Off on What Does Google Look For In Business Reviews?

How To Leave A Review On Google Maps

We have had lots of requests recently asking for information about our Google Maps listing. We greatly value all of the feedback that we receive from our customers and below is an easy step by step guide detailing how to add a review.

Firstly, it is crucial that you are signed in with your Google account if you wish to write a review. If you need to create a new account, simply click here, click on the ‘Create An Account’ option at the bottom of the page and then fill in the details as requested. The account is free to create and use and you will not be obliged to use it again in the future once you have left your review.

Once you’re signed in to your Google + account, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Google Maps and make sure you’re signed in.
  2. Search for a ‘Footprint Web Design, Oxted’
  3. Click ‘Write a Review’.

The screenshot below shows exactly what you should expect to see when trying to leave a review on our Google Maps listing

Once you have followed the steps outlined above, you will be taken through to the screen below. Simply choose the number of stars you wish to feel best represent your experience with us and leave a few words if wish. Once you have finished, click ‘post’ and your review will then be published.

Please Note – You can sign in, return and amend your review at any time.

We really appreciate you taking the time to attempt to leave a review and if you have any trouble, we’ll be happy to help. Simply give us a call on Tel. No. 01883 372488 and we’ll help you through the process.

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By | January 3rd, 2018|Reviews|Comments Off on How To Leave A Review On Google Maps

How To Leave A Review On Facebook

We love receiving feedback from our clients and if you are kind enough to leave us a few words on our Facebook page, the good news is that it couldn’t be much quicker and easier to do so.
All you need to do is make sure you are signed in to your personal FB page. Visit our FB page by clicking here and then follow the next 4 steps.
  1. Click Reviews on the left side of the Page’s Timeline
  2. Click the grey stars to choose a rating. You can also leave a few words should you wish.
  3. Choose your audience (Public) and then click Done

To help you along the way, please take a moment to check out the screenshots below which highilght exactly what you should expect to see when leaving a review.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Please Note – You can sign in, return and amend your review at any time.

We really appreciate you taking the time to attempt to leave a review and if you have any trouble, we’ll be happy to help. Simply give us a call on Tel. No. 01883 372488 and we’ll help you through the process.

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By | January 3rd, 2018|Reviews|Comments Off on How To Leave A Review On Facebook
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