Moving your business online is one of the smartest ways to increase your revenue. Not only can potential customers and clients communicate with you and access your services 24/7 from anywhere in the world. You are also able to provide them with a much better customer service, build better relationships and trust in your company. However, to fully maximise the benefits of being online, your business also needs to be visible on the world wide web. One way of increasing your visibility is to take a look at Google Guides.
What is Google Guides?
Launched in 2015, Google Guides allows online users to provide extra information about businesses or places of interest on Google Maps in form of reviews, pictures and by answering general questions that can help other users decide where to go and what to do. To date, there are more than 120 million local guides actively reviewing in 24,000 cities across the globe.
Anyone over the age of 18 can become a local guide, as long as it is an individual and not a business. Guides earn points based on their activity, ranging from 1 point per rating to 10 points per review. The more points a user earns, the more badges he unlocks along with other perks such as early access to Google features and specials from third party providers.
Benefits for businesses
Google Guides influences the way your business is perceived online by providing users with personal experiences, tips and impressions. Ultimately, this can increase trust in your business, help grow your audience and ultimately improve your ranking in search engine rankings.
Third party reviews
While actively marketing your business through your website, blog or newsletters is a great way to educate your audience about who you are and what you have to offer, many people are greatly influenced by reviews and other people’s experiences. In fact, almost 95% of all shoppers read reviews before deciding whether or not to purchase. A recent study has found that displaying as little as 5 reviews for a product increases the likelihood of purchase by 270 % compared to having no reviews. The more reviews you receive by Google Guides, the more likely your business will be noticed.
If you have recently changed your phone number, added new products and services or have moved addresses and forgot to update your business listing, Google Guides have the ability to make those changes for you. Besides leaving reviews, Google Guides can edit and correct information such as opening hours, location and contact details, keeping your business information up to date for others.
However, it is still in your best interest to regularly check that your details are correct. Continuously displaying wrong information will disgruntle potential customers and send a signal to Google that you are not trustworthy. Furthermore, it will make it harder for people to find your business offline, which would counteract any effort undertaken to increase your visibility on the internet.
Dealing with negative publicity
No matter how hard you try, there will be reviews that do not shed a positive light on your business. Negative feedback can be scary, but it is essential to help customers make an informed decision. Responding to critical reviews on Local Guides in a professional manner will show other users that you are striving to learn from your mistakes. It will also make the process of dealing with you more transparent, showing possible flaws and what to expect when doing business with you.
If you are worried about fake or unwarranted negative feedback, Google Guides has a solution for you as well. Any comment or review that violates Google’s terms will usually be removed. If in doubt, you can contact a Google Guides moderator and ask for help.
Utilizing Google Guides
In order to maximise the benefits from Google Guides for your business, you need users to engage with your business on the platform. There are a few easy ways to achieve this.
While businesses are not allowed to become local guides, they are welcome to attend meetups organized by members of the Google Guides community. This is a great way to engage and connect with people in your area. However, be aware that you are not allowed to pay guides or reward them in any way for a positive review.
Optimize your listings
Ensure that you have created your Google My Business page and ensure it is up to date with all the necessary information. This is what Google will display in search engine results when people look for specific products or services in your area. Likewise, your Google Maps profile should be completed and updated regularly to make it easier for potential customers to find you online.
If you would like to increase the reviews on your business, do not be afraid to talk to customers about it. Start a conversation on the basics of reviews and how important they are especially for local businesses. Make it easy for customers to leave feedback and respond to it in a timely and professional manner.
While Google Guides is a passive way to market your business and most of the process is out of your control, it can significantly impact your success and attract new clients. Studies have shown that user-generated content results in higher confidence among consumers. When positive, it adds credibility and trust in your brand because it is authentic. It is also entirely free. Even negative feedback, when handled the right way, can boost interest in your business.
If you would like to know more about Google Guides or how to generally increase your website visibility, contact the experienced team at Energise Web today.