Did you know your customers can now leave reviews of your business right from their mobile phone? That’s not something that was always an option, but thanks to the Google Maps Application, it’s easier than ever! Here I will take you through – step-by-step - how to leave Google reviews on a smart phone, and then offer some insights on where I think this is all going as far as local search and social goes. Finally, don’t miss the free download at the end – it’s a little piece of literature that just may help you increase your customer feedback and reviews via Google!
Logging In To Leave A Google Review On Mobile
The Google Maps App is available on Android and Apple devices and works pretty much the same way on both. The key is the user MUST be logged into their Google account via the app in order to leave a review.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to actually login to the app (because it’s not readily apparent on the screen)
First, locate the app on the screen -
Once in the app, look for the 3 parallel lines (called the “hotdog icon”) in the lower left and press them to open the admin portion of the app. Note: if you have sausage fingers like I do, this is not an easy task.
Inside the admin area, press the “settings” option to get to the login screen.
IMPORTANT Side note: This is also where you can program your “work” and “home” addresses. These are good for general use of the app, but it is my belief that these send very strong signals as to where you as a user are more “influential” and why. (my next blog post will talk about this – stay tuned!)
You log in at the top. My advice is to use the same Google ID that you use for Google Plus. In the screenshot below I am already logged in. You can also toggle between multiple Google accounts here if you so choose.
Now that you are logged in, its time to take yourself down to a local business where you can actually leave an authoritative review. I’m going to search for “Starbucks Naperville” in this example. I happened to be at our office in downtown Naperville when I went through this exercise. Being as this is indeed Naperville, there are like 79 Starbucks locations within a 5 mile radius… I chose one that affords me a nice little walk to get some fresh air. (the blue dot is my current location, and the red teardrop is my Starbucks destination – and that little tiny red dot just by the blue dot – that is where I geo-coded my “work” into the app)
Google Local Predictions – The Power of Cards
Now I’m going to take minute here and make a few predictions (most of you just look at the pictures in these posts anyway, but for those who actually read…). You’ve seen the large, improved Google local listing cards that are showing up in search results when people search your brand, but what you see now is just the very beginning. Those cards are becoming hubs that collect all the interactions that users have with your business. (read that sentence again and let it bake in a bit) Reviews displaying on these cards is only one small feature – but it’s an important one.
In my opinion, Google much prefers reviews generated via mobile over those from desktops. Reason being is that a mobile device tells Google that you truly are (or have recently been to) the business you are reviewing – making the review more trustworthy. In addition, with the recent advent of the Google City Experts program, it signals to me that TRUSTED user generated reviews will very soon be used for a lot more than just pretty orange stars in search results:: they will be shared experiences. These reviews will be used as ranking factors, and may already be in some cases. (Bill Slawski elaborates in a blog post about reviews and driving directions as ranking factors)
Back to the tutorial – here I am at the Starbucks.
Here’s what the listing looks like on my phone.
To find the reviews, just scroll down and as long as you are logged in, you will see the option to leave a review. Press a star and up will pop your keyboard to begin typing. When completed, you review will appear not only in mobile, but on that business’ Google Plus Local listing. Many times, if their listing is not fully upgraded, it will still appear on their old places page.
Couple things to notice:
1) See the “add a photo” option? That is something that I have been heavily experimenting with. I am learning a lot about what those photos can actually do and will be posting about it later this week!
2) When you leave a review, please leave a helpful one. It’s important because Google actually ranks the reviews based on two factors:
(a) Top reviewers – typically based on those who actually live in the area and are “known” to be authorities in that area.
(b) Number of words written. Content is king, even in reviews my friends! I try to leave some sort of special tip if I can – I want my reviews to be unique and insightful. I don’t always succeed at this as sometimes I am in a hurry – but it’s best to do what you can to be engaging and helpful.
3) There is also an option to “edit your review.” This is important for business owners. If someone leaves you a negative review, and you are able to work with them to resolve the issue, you could ask them to update the review to reflect the superior service you provided.
Neat Insights About Google Reviews
In the following screenshot, you can see that I am listed in NW Indiana as a top reviewer. And rightfully so – I live here and am heavily entrenched in our online community. There are many signals around the internet that tell Google I am an authority in NW Indiana, not the least of which is where I listed my “home” within my Google Maps app. There are many more authority signals and I will talk about those in my next post.
Just for fun, I left a positive but short review at a restaurant in West Virginia recently. I have never set foot in that state until last week. You will see that my review, although freshest, is not being displayed as such. Google is already parsing which reviews are most authoritative.
I hope this very long tutorial has helped you and that you can begin using Google Maps on mobile to gain customer feedback and reviews. Below is a free download for you. It’s a simple foldable table top tent that encourages folks entering or leaving your place of business to leave a review via Google Maps on mobile. I am willing to bet that a good majority of you found this article because you were wondering if it was possible to leave a Google review on a mobile phone – and now that you know, it’s time to educate your customers! Simply click below to download and then print – good to go!