As an SEO agency we’ve worked with a lot of clients. Many of our clients want to rank for what is called a “local search”. Which means Google maps shows in a search result like this:

The local map pack takes up a lot of real estate in a Google search result. This means it’s valuable space for any business to appear. But how do you appear in the local map pack? Mainly by having a reliable review system in place.

Reviews are the number 1 ranking factor for this spot

Now usually proximity is the main ranking factor, but what we’ve implemented with our clients, has confirmed that reviews can actually overpower proximity in ranking in the map pack. We’ve seen Google expand the geographic area that is the map pack if there is a really good business semi-close by that should be included.

The Ideal Review System Checklist:

  1. Get new reviews consistently. Once a year is better than never, and once a week is exponentially better than once a year.
    1. It’s great to have a system in place like an automatic text or email sent out after you conduct your business.
    2. Consider offering a reciprocal incentive for customers to give a review.
  2. Do not hand pick reviews. Believe it or not but 5 star reviews…. look fake or bought. So stop shooting for all 5 stars and start shooting for an honest and diverse review profile.
  3. Reply to all your reviews, and be detailed personal or specific!
  4. Reply to your negative reviews in the best way possible! Do not escalate a tit for tat exchange. Acknowledge their pain, mention that you really appreciate their feedback and that you will try to improve your business based on their feedback.

That’s it. Seriously that’s all you need to do to get a reliable and consistent review process in place. It may take a few weeks or months to surpass your competitors 200+ reviews but you’ll get there. ๐Ÿ˜„

3 Examples Of Review Systems That Work!

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  1. The automatic followup email / text. It’s easy, simple and effective. It’s how one of our clients has generated 150+ reviews per year! If you’re using some sort of booking software like Calendly it’s very easy to setup followup emails. It’s integrated into part of their software.
  2. Reciprocal incentive reviews. We love to see this method. While Google’s policies say you can’t pay people for reviews, there’s no harm in providing an incentive for people and politely ask them for a review. For example an essential oil shop could give out free eucalyptus oils in a basket with a sign that says “Thanks for Your Google Review, here’s a sample on us”. Falls within Google’s guidelines and provides a big incentive for people to review.
  3. Get personal. The getting personal method works great for business to business seo or a person to person service based business like mortgage brokers. When you have a personal relationship with someone take them out for lunch, shoot them a text, or give them a call and express your thanks for their business and talk about how much it would mean if they left you a Google review. Bonus, if you’re nervous to ask for this directly you can always blame your marketing person. Say “My marketing advisor is on me for drumming up more Google reviews so it would really help me out if you could leave us one.”

3 Examples of Bad Review Responses

  1. Just a 1 star review. If your customer did not leave any comment this is one of the best and easiest low star reviews to respond to. Even if it’s one of your competitors! We respond with something like this: “Hi there <name>, we really appreciate your review and are always looking for ways to improve our product. Could you help provide us with some specifics on why you had a bad experience?”. Pro tip, they usually never respond to this ๐Ÿ˜….
  2. Problem client that is just plain disappointed with not necessarily your service / product, but is actually disappointed in their situation or problem.
    1. For example “This lawyer told me what other lawyers told me that she could not take me case and charged me 172 dollars for the 30 minutes when the other charge me nothing.”
    1. The response; Hi Jen, we understand your frustration and are sorry that you canโ€™t get the justice you deserve. The law is not a perfect system, and in some circumstances there is no legal case to pursue. At Teryl Scott we do not take on cases that have no legal grounds because it is wrong to bill our clients when there is no legal case. However we do believe that our employees deserve to be paid for their legal counsel which is why we have that fee and display it on our website so you are aware of the charge before your appointment. Thank you for your feedback, it’s very much appreciated.”
  3. Long lengthy review ripping apart everything… These can