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Google Makes Reputation Management Easier for Local Businesses

Google Place Pages Now Let Business Respond Directly to Reviews

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Google is now letting businesses respond to reviews posted on their Place Pages in Google Maps. This should be huge for reputation management, particularly as Google continues to place increased emphasis on these pages.

Do you monitor your Place Page for negative reviews? Let us know.

"Engaging with the people who have shared their thoughts about your business is a great way to get to know your customers and find out more," says John Maguire of the Google Place Page team. "Both positive and negative feedback can be good for your business and help it grow (even though it’s sometimes hard to hear). By responding, you can build stronger relationships with existing and prospective customers."

"For example, a thoughtful response acknowledging a problem and offering a solution can often turn a customer who had an initially negative experience into a raving supporter," he continues. "A simple thank you or a personal message can further reinforce a positive experience. Ultimately, business owner responses give you the opportunity to learn what you do well, what you can do better, and show your customers that you’re listening."

Google Lets You Respond on Place Pages

Google actually has a user guide with some tips on how to handle your responses, just in case customer service isn’t your strong point.

You must have your listing verified before you are able to respond to reviews.

Yelp is probably going to love this, considering they already have something of a beef with how Google uses its content.

How important is it to be able to respond to reviews on Google Place Pages? Share your thoughts.

Google Makes Reputation Management Easier for Local Businesses
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  • http://sespecialist.com Gary DeCuir

    This is good news for many business owners. Sometimes, reviews can be very harsh and mean spirited. This now allows businesses to give their side to a MEAN SPIRITED complaint.

    • Chris Crum

      Yes, probably an overdue feature.

  • http://www.mylocalservices.co.uk My Local Services

    The review model is a hard one to perfect, and I thought the Google one was unfair by not allowing the right to reply. Good news all round!

  • http://www.positiveboost.com Sonny Lambert

    This is good news – nice post! I have shared your post with all my clients and on Twitter. This feature is one that was very needed. Google now needs to push Google profiles in to organic search results for individuals..

  • http://www.reviewboost.com ReviewBoost

    Review s are important in reputation management and Google has provided a tool for small businesses to respond to negativity online.

  • http://www.furniturexo.com Furniture XO

    Well, I hope it will help, as we at furniturexo.com feel that most reviews done as an impulsive thing, before even any action taken to resolve the issue. But after Furniture XO Customer Service has resolve the issue, very few post something like, – “Thank You FurnitureXO for great service”. Any way, this will give us an opportunity to post comments that come in a form of an e-mail ones customer is happy.

  • http://nicknorris.net Nick Norris

    This feature is long overdue. With sites like yelp, I knew it was only a matter of time before Google tried to corner another market. This is great for local businesses to stand up to difficult customers and encourage more interaction with their good customers.

  • charlie

    Google listens to the little guy. On Google forums there are many idea requests that Google turns into reality quickly. Google responds quickly, unlike the government. Google understands the needs of small business. I LIKE GOOGLE!

    Thanks
    Charlie Moore

    • http://www.newstartautoloans.com New Start Auto Loans

      Actually they are talking about the search engine Google.

    • Matt

      Google listens to and cares about the little guy? Are you kidding? An organisation that doesn’t even publish a customer service phone number, and is notorious for not responding in any way to the few ways they do offer for contact (ie via complaint forms), and you think they care? Seriously……

  • http://cabarrusindependentliving.com Steve Home Alone

    As a new small business owner I welcome the opportunity to respond to less than desirable reviews. I’m proud of our business’s personal delivery and outstanding service and want everyone to know how I handle the unsatisified customers – everyone gains that way.

    Steve
    Home Alone

  • http://www.wallacelawyer.com Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer

    This is past due. Evil competitors could always mar your online profile with a bad review. This solves that problem.

  • http://business-opportunities-newsletter.com Ron

    That’s great news for business owners! With so much emphasis on social networking, and the ease of which a customer can communicate his/her experiences to the rest of the online world, it really gives the businesses a good platform to turn some those negative reviews into returning customers.

  • http://www.wsiwebscience.com WSI Web Science

    This is a very important post. Responding to both positive and negative reviews is an essential part of reputation management. That being said, it amazes me how many businesses have yet to claim ownership of their own Google Places pages. If you are not visiting your own business page how can you even know if you have a negative review?

    Call to Action: Business owners take charge of your Google Places page!

    • http://lloydchiro.com Todd Lloyd, DC; Sonoma Chiropractor

      ” it amazes me how many businesses have yet to claim ownership of their own Google Places pages.”

      Don’t tell my competitors. :)

  • Joe M

    This a total crock. It is leaning in the correct direction with it’s feet nailed to the floor. The largest issue is policing fake business listing. I have reported businesses that don’t exist and create fake reviews. One listing in particular has a fake address. The post office website shows the address as non-existent. One year later the listing still stand after numerous attemtps to report for removal.

  • http://www.worldtravelingartist.com/about Alexander

    Not so sure if this reviews thing is a good thing.

  • http://www.EnchantedPortraits.com.au Steve Shulenski

    It’s nice being able to thank those who left reviews. Last month I noticed I had several really great reviews but today after learning that Google permits business owners to respond to reviews I noticed that all of my reviews have vanished. WAs wondering if anyone else noticed this?

  • http://www.EnchantedPortraits.com.au Steve Shulenski

    It’s nice being able to thank those who left reviews. Last month I noticed I had several really great reviews but today after learning that Google permits business owners to respond to reviews I noticed that all of my reviews have vanished. Was wondering if anyone else noticed this?

    • http://lloydchiro.com Todd Lloyd, DC; Sonoma Chiropractor

      Steve,

      If someone has it out for you, and told Google that your reviews were abusive or misleading, they might have deleted them.

      If you have a bunch of reviews from people who only wrote a review for you, but no other businesses, then they might have been deleted. Yelp.com has an algorithm that hides one-hit-wonders until they start reviewing more businesses. I fear that I might have some of those on my listing though, so I’m knocking on wood for good luck that mine don’t get deleted.

      You might have two listings for your business and Google went ahead to clean house, getting rid of one. And, that one might be the one with the reviews.

      What I would do, for good measure, is have your clients review you on other sites as well. don’t put all your eggs on one basket just in case this sort of thing happens. Make sure you have people review you on Yahoo, Citysearch or wherever else you can have a listing and leave reviews.

      Good luck.

  • http://lloydchiro.com Todd Lloyd, DC; Sonoma Chiropractor

    My business relies on the Google 7-Pack for most of my new patients. Far too often I see reviews written on my colleagues’ listings that are unfair. A lot of the times it can make the business owner seem callous because there’s no proper way to the owner to retort. I’ve seen some people write a review on their own listing complete with 5-stars even though it is mearly a reply to someone’s review with only one star. That’s obviously the wrong way to do things, but up until now, they’ve had no other choice.

  • http://www.benenotes.com Carol Frome

    This is a good development. Certainly, businesses should have the right to respond to complaints. But I’m of two minds about addressing every complaint. What if someone figures out that by making public complaints she can get lots of attention and maybe some freebies?

    Related to this, there might be times when it’s best to just let idle complaints fade into the background, as long as most of the reviews are good. Responding, especially if it’s not handled well, can look like defensiveness. But, that said, not handling responses well is the fault of the site owner, not the consumer.

  • http://www.targetwebs.com Mark Lee

    That’s an excellent feature and among several which are long overdue considering the “top of the page” positioning of local listings and their importance to every business’s exposure and generating clients .

    What continues to defeat logic is how Google, the internet’s “spam police” in regards to search results, has done so little in regards to zapping the millions of “spammed reviews” of it’s local listings.

    Particularly bad in areas of small business which cover large areas that have established multiple listings for themselves and show tons and tons of “self generated” reviews on all of their many listings.

    In my opinion, Google should totally ZAP the “amount of reviews” as being a factor in first page placement. This would help kill the ongoing battle and wide spread spamming committed by companies posting self generated reviews which has sadly become is an epidemic.

  • Guest

    Google is a turd factory. They don’t care what service they provide at all.

    Don’t believe me? Try contacting the Adwords team from your account pages… it’s not allowed to happen.

  • http://www.greenhosting.ro Guest

    Hello All,

    I own http://www.greenhosting.ro .

    I am also listed in Google Business, maps and so on. Unfortunately, I am struggling already for 4 months to get my website found in the search engines, so I can get more traffic, but it is just not working.

    Google just wont show me up in the results.

    On page seo is done, off page seo as much as possible, still I have 60 visitors per day, unless I use paid ads features.

    Can you please have a look and advise?

    Thank you!

    • http://www.newstartautoloans.com New Start Auto Loans

      The first thing I see is that it looks like you keyword density is a little off (too little). You have quite a few keywords in your source code but don’t use these often enough in your actual content. I’ve also heard that the less keywords you have the more important they become to Google.

  • http://www.saferoofcleaning.com Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa

    This was a good idea for Google to implement.
    A negative review can ruin a small business, if we are not allowed to counter it.

  • http://www.seowebsiteadvertising.com Seo Berkshire

    Good feature and much needed!

  • http://www.rorywitham.nationalphotographer.co.uk/ Rory Witham

    I used to check through the google local/maps and had nothing but trouble with it.
    One of the problems being that if you have different businesses google will change the links to the sites (which are different) so it does not match the information. Therefore this issue directs clients to the wrong websites.
    This is particularly bad when people may be looking for child photo shoots and go to a glamour photography website..

    anyway back to the reviews, oddly I checked in the other day to find that one of my competition had written a review for me back in April, it was trying to undermined my business, I flagged it and its been a week later and its still there.

    I think that if google had done some checking for his listing they would have found that he is a photographer, and also that he is next door… both of these things should have brought up flags and the review should have been held up somewhere.
    I think that this would be a good start so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen.

    I did enjoy responding to his ‘review’ where I happened to mention a simple question when naming him and his business.. the question was: do you think its underhand saying to people you have never heard of me when they come looking, when you know who I am and where I am? it is a little underhand isn’t it?

  • http://capsiplexreviewed.org.uk Guest

    Surely any competitor can leave negative comments against you? How does this get audited?
    Another exercise in interweb pointlessness.

  • Who cares?

    Just wondered if anybody really gives any credence to Google Places given the number of account holders who have their account suspended? New facilities kinda assume one is able to use them!

    Google would be far better advised sorting out the issues so that suspended accounts could be re-instated. IMO the value of Google places is very questionable if an account holder is suspended when they try and update their listing to bring it up to date. No amount of emailing google, posting on forums, etc. seems to work. Even creating a new account from the same IP address means automatic suspension.

    See http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Places/label?lid=662fabfc1bc0b4ab&hl=en for examples of those who have bothered to complain!

  • http://www.highimpactsitedesign.com Chris

    It’s good that Google has recognized the need to allow users to respond to reviews. The system was completely one-sided and to open to abuse.

  • http://www.WebAllways.com Anant

    It’s good news to website owners as some times their competitors make fake and negative review.

  • Guest

    If only Google would reply when reports are repeatedly sent about a business being wrongly placed on another person’s already placed site with wrong photos and the original business correctly placed has been removed! Impossible to get them to fix

  • http://www.hedgehogdigital.co.uk Splinter09

    Finally Google has enable such feature. Now we can at least defend ourselves from bad reviews. I consider this an incredible new feature that will be a game changer for business of all sizes and I’ll stop competitors from leaving unfair reviews just to degrade their competition.

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