You may have noticed a change recently to the Google Knowledge Panel. In early September, Google started pulling up to three ratings from other review sites like Facebook, Cars.com, DealerRater, YP.com, etc. into the knowledge panel.
To make sure that your business is taking advantage of this new feature, Google recommends implementing review snippets on your site using Schema.org Markup. To participate, your business will also need to meet certain requirements set by Google. Those requirements include:
- Ratings must be authentic and sourced from real users.
- Reviews can't be curated by human editors. Those are considered ‘critic reviews.’
- Review site must collect reviews directly from users and not aggregate from other sites.
Taking the time to make sure you have the proper markup will help ensure that the aggregate ratings are included on the Google Knowledge Panel.
Connect customers with the right information
As we’ve mentioned multiple times on this blog, the goal of any good search engine is to connect users with the most relevant information about businesses to help consumers make better decisions. By including reviews from across the web, Google is doing just that. The more information about your business that customers have access to, the more comfortable they will feel making purchase decisions.
Now that you’re aware of these changes and how they can benefit your customers, what can you do to ensure you are taking full advantage? We have always encouraged businesses to take a holistic approach to their online reputation and have a diverse portfolio of online reviews from across the web. Doing so will help build trust and credibility with your audience while increasing visibility through improved local search ranking. Below are simple tactics you can implement today to make sure you are getting started on the right foot.
Claim your business listings
First and foremost, you need to claim your business listings, and not just your Google My Business page either. You should find out the sites that your customers are visiting most frequently and claim listings there. Here's a comprehensive list of the top online business listings.
The process for claiming a business on many of these directories is fairly simple and straightforward. The steps include:
- Navigating to the site
- Searching for your business by name and address
- Filling out basic information
- Submitting for verification
Optimize Your Listings
Once you have completed the verification process, it’s time to start optimizing your listing for local search. There are a number of ways to optimize your listings, including:
- Consistent name, address, and phone number: Your business’ name, address, and phone number are probably the most important pieces of information on your listings. Because of this, you should make a concerted effort to ensure this information is accurate and up-to-date. This will not only eliminate any potential confusion and frustration that might arise if customers were given inaccurate information, but it will also give your local search ranking a boost.
- Upload photos: Photos on your profile help tell a visual story about your business. They show customers researching your business what experience they can expect. Photos will make your directory listings more attractive to online searchers. In fact, profiles with pictures have significantly higher click-throughs than profiles without.
- Accurate description: It’s also important to accurately describe what your business does. Be sure to include keywords that are relevant to your industry.
- Include hours of operation: Another important piece of information online searchers are looking for is your hours of operation. Make sure you keep that information up-to-date and include any variations or special holiday hours.
Build Your Online Presence
Finally, you should build and maintain your online presence on the sites that matter most to your business. Having a large number of quality online reviews coming in on a regular basis will help build trust and credibility with your customer base.
The most effective way to ensure you have full coverage across a wide swath of review sites is by implementing an online review management platform. A good platform enables you to prioritize the right review sites for your business and creates a frictionless process for your customers to leave a review.
Streamlining this process will significantly increase the number of online reviews your business generates. This will also increase consumer confidence for your business when they see how consistent your online reputation is in the Google Knowledge Panel.
Request a demo to see how Podium’s cloud-based solution can help you use text messages to invite all of your customers to review your business. Podium’s efficient, mobile process can help your business build a strong online presence on the sites that matter most. This will, in turn, improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenues.