Customer Review Card for Google Places [Template]

Having good quality reviews on your Google+ Local page (i.e., Place page) not only influences your ability to convert prospective customers, but can affect your local search ranking. Most customers won’t know to leave you a Google Places review, so it is important to promote or actively encourage customers to give honest reviews. [More]

10 Customer Review Building Tips for Google+ Local

Customer reviews are a fundamental part of your local marketing efforts and online reputation. If you can get enough good ones, they can go a long ways. A slew of good reviews can boost both your local search ranking as well as click-through rate (CTR), which should ultimately lead to converting more customers. A Local Consumer Review Survey (2012) showed that approximately 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business. But building customer reviews, and doing it ‘the right way’, especially on Google (with all of their flip-flops and recent updates) has been a dizzying process for SMBs.... [More]

How to Become a Google+ Local Top Reviewer (as a Business Page)

Mike Blumenthal blogged last month on the topic of becoming a Top Reviewer (as a business page) in Google Plus Local. Notably, there appears to be an opportunity for a business, as a Google+ page, to achieve this distinction. But how exactly do you (as a business) become a Google+ Top Reviewer? As you may have noticed, Google Plus ranks review content based on who is leaving the review and what other users think of the review (most useful -> least useful). More or less, it’s an effort to weed out spammy or fake reviews and establish a hierarchy for everything in between. There’s also anecdotal evidence to suggest that reviews from... [More]

View More Than 10 Reviews in Google Maps: A Quick URL Hack

Here at EZlocal, we love Google. Everyone uses Google as their primary search engine and Gmail as their email client. Nearly the whole office is connected through Google Talk and most people use Chrome as their browser. A few of us even look forward to the day when we can pay our taxes directly to Google. Since our specialty is local business search, it comes as no surprise that a fair amount of our time is spent nosing around Google Maps and Google’s Local Business Center, constantly searching for more ways to increase exposure to our members, small business owners. To this end, we find ourselves pondering questions like these: What websites are cited on Google Maps? Are they being cited for business info, reviews, user content? What sites boast the most review citations in Google Maps? On our quest to answer these questions, we started to count and analyze the reviews that appear in... [More]

Yelp Reviews No Longer Appear in Google Maps

Last week we discussed which websites feed the most restaurant reviews into Google’s Local Business Center (LBC). While Citysearch impressively captured nearly 47% of the restaurant reviews appearing on Google Maps, it was Yelp’s complete lack of reviews that inspired the most curiosity here at EZlocal. Our crack SEO team has been helping small businesses get found on Google for a few years now, during which time we grew accustomed to seeing Yelp reviews in Google’s LBC. Now, finding a Yelp review in Google Maps is almost unheard of. Why? As near as we can tell, the reviews disappeared from the LBC after acquisition talks between the two companies disintegrated back in December 2009. It is reported that Google offered [More]

Getting Your Restaurant Review on Google: Top 5 Sites Picked Up by Google’s Local Business Center

  As we discussed last week, encouraging customer reviews is a key component in getting your small business found on Google and other search engines.  So if reviews affect your small business’ search placement so much, what are the very best sites to encourage reviews from?  What sites are picked up by Google’s Local Business Center most frequently?    We found the answer differed from industry to industry.  The top review sites for restaurants or hotels were not the same for plumbers and doctors, etc.  [More]

Encouraging Customer Reviews: 4 Tips to Get People Talking About Your Small Business

Update 02/01/2013: Google has since updated their review content guidelines to prohibit review stations and giving customers free gifts or discounts for leaving reviews. This article was written prior to the change and may provide information that is no longer relevant or considered a best practice. Small businesses are in a unique position to truly benefit from customer reviews.  Chains are pretty well locked into their branding and there tends to be very little differentiation city-to-city and state-to-state.  They will build reputations for being consistent and predictable, but rarely break through to extraordinary.  However, small businesses are unencumbered by these expectations; small businesses have the opportunity to make a name for themselves as some... [More]

Google Local Expands Review Snippets

Recently, Google added snippets from reviews into the Local Business Center in a way that only Google can do.  On the profile, Google chooses amazingly helpful portions of reviews and posts them.  Parallel to the moderately recent addition of rich snippets into search results with reviews and other information via microformats, Google has taken the rich review snippets to a new level.  Reviews about certain aspects of a business are now grouped together and an overall rating per category is calculated.  In the sushi example below, Google broke down reviews by the food and the service.  As a user, this information is fantastically useful as most people care more about certain things than others, take a look.   [More]