Jesse Dolan: We’re pretty plugged into this industry, reading articles, podcast shows, Facebook groups, all this stuff. There is no definitive reason or explanation why some of these reviews are held in purgatory, right? They’re just taking a while to post to Google. There are some best practices and maybe some dos and don’ts. Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan. Bob Brennan, Sue Ginsburg, whole team together here. We’re going to be talking about some problems today, Sue, that people are having out there in this space of reviews. Most people are probably going to deal with this. Why don’t you go ahead and frame it up for us and we’ll try to talk it down and give some advice here.
Sue Ginsburg: Awesome. Well, the good news is, since we had our client Margaret Barrett of Safe Harbor on talking about the impact that increasing her reviews has had on her business, our client Giant Enterprise, also seeing a big, big impact of it, as well as others, we are getting more questions about reviews. That’s very good. People are listening and they’re figuring out how to apply to their business. The question today is, is there anything you can do when someone leaves you a review and it doesn’t show up? Does liking a review have an impact on SEO? That little thumbs up, I think, or maybe it’s a heart that you see on the bottom of reviews, does that matter? Does a review carry more weight if it is from a “Local Guide?” What the heck is a Local Guide anyway, and why would a person become one or why would I look at their review differently than any other one?
All good questions related to getting more reviews, being intentional about it and when you known you’re getting them and they’re not showing up, which has happened to us, what does that mean and what can you do about it? With that, the quote of the day, “There is no shortage of remarkable ideas. What’s missing is the will to execute them,” from Seth Godin, an American author and a former.com business executive, who now doesn’t have to do this, but he continues to educate and inform us through various means, right? Thank you, Seth. Okay.
The marketing story behind this, we all know that reviews are very important. Anything we hear about it only tells us that they’re even more important than we might have thought. They’re important to both Google and our customers or clients and our potential customers and client and we all know as human beings, which we all are, for purchases as well as for employment, we look at reviews. Is this product good? Is it good for however I’m going to use it? If you’re looking at it for employment, is this a nice place to work? What are the employees saying about it as well?
We know that what’s important to Google is the number of reviews, the average rating, how many stars, the frequency of reviews, the owner’s replies and how many there are in the past three months. We’ve learned that people typically focus on the more recent ones in the past three months. Now, do we have another factor here? How many likes a review has and how many reviews the reviewer has left in their lifetime, whether they’re a Local Guide or not. Then people started telling me that they left a review and it wasn’t showing.
We ourselves had this very same question and I waited, I looked, I kept watching and they didn’t show up. I went to the experts, Jesse and Bob, to find out why not? What can we do about it? It’s really frustrating. You know you got a five star review. They tell you they left it and it’s not showing. Let’s find out from those who can guide us. Why does that happen? When does it happen? What can we do about it? A little more intel on how we can leverage our reviews and everything surrounding them to get more impact and get found online. Please, please, both of you, make us a little smarter on the topic.
Jesse Dolan: Can I take a detour first because I want to do. Bob.
Sue Ginsburg: Of course.
Jesse Dolan: You’re a big Seth Godin fan, right? I saw you, when Sue said that quote and whatnot, your reaction. It made me think of this show and tripped on memory lane here for everybody. It’s a couple years ago when we were earlier in this show, and I want to say we hit like 4,000 downloads a month on the podcast or something, which was a big milestone for us. We were talking about Seth Godin. I was like, “Well, let me reach out to him and just see if he wants to come on for an interview. We got this cool SEO marketing show, right?”
Bob Brennan: Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: We sent him an email and he did reply back a day or two later and just super nice, like, “Oh, got a couple big initiatives coming up here,” wasn’t at all blowing it off, like, “Yeah, call me when you grow up kid,” or anything like that.
Bob Brennan: Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: Just very professional and just intelligent, like, maybe if I could squeeze and I would, but just so busy. In hindsight, this such a ridiculous email to send off.
Bob Brennan: Not really.
Jesse Dolan: I mean, we tried.
Bob Brennan: He’s very generous. I guess I think he’s just genuine and at least he replied. If it was me, I than more likely, never would’ve replied, because I would’ve been too busy hanging out on the beach or whatever, but you never know. If you don’t try, you don’t get, right?
Jesse Dolan: Exactly. Exactly.
Sue Ginsburg: That’s great.
Jesse Dolan: That’s one of my favorite quotes.
Sue Ginsburg: That’s right. I sent an email to Mark Cuban once, the dot come major success and owner of the Dallas Mavericks. I had read that he replies personally to all emails and he replied to me and something that he said in there, I could tell it was him. It kept me smiling. I was happy for three months straight. It was great.
Jesse Dolan: That’s super cool. Especially when you know those people, to your point, Bob, could easily just not even care to reply, just instantly track.
Bob Brennan: Right.
Jesse Dolan: Okay. I told you.
Sue Ginsburg: He’s a really big metric guy. Maybe we’ll invite him to be on the podcast. He’s very big on metrics.
Jesse Dolan: Feel free to shoot out another email. Just reply back to the original thread. Maybe.
Sue Ginsburg: Sure. I will.
Jesse Dolan: I told you I was going to take a detour, guys, so there we go. Okay. The issue of reviews, specifically not showing up sometimes, right? Starting there. It’s a problem. It really started happening when COVID first hit. A lot of things happened within Google and frankly, a lot of things we take for granted as really just built in free features and services. The better part of the Google ecosystem that makes them what they are, right, but things we’d been taking for granted, whether it be getting our pages indexed for our websites, right, or setting up Google business profiles or just a lot of these things. That’s when we first started seeing reviews not being applied to GBPs, right, just various services with the Google started to slow down. A lot of that stuff’s back up, “online,” and back to normal, but really over this last part of 2021 and beginning of 2022 here, we’ve still seen just the issue of reviews being slow, in a lot of cases, not usually never posting. Sometimes it can be days, weeks, or months though, for review to finally post.
A lot of people out there, maybe even everybody, if you’re actively getting reviews has experienced where you know somebody’s left you review. You may even have gotten the notification from Google that they’ve left your review, but it’s not publicly showing online yet, right? There’s a couple layers there. Nobody really knows why. You work really pretty plugged into this industry, reading articles, podcast shows, Facebook groups, all this stuff. There is no definitive reason or explanation why some of these reviews are held in purgatory, right, and just taking a while to post within Google. There are some best practices and maybe some dos and don’ts that I’m going to read off that are really opinions. There’s no scientific testing in any of the stuff that I’m going to tell you here, but just a consensus, what everybody feels like is working and maybe helping. At the end of the day, we all have to read the tea leaves here for Google on what’s their motive? What’s their reasoning? Why would some of this all allow be posted and some wouldn’t and try to make our own conclusions.
Then, if you guys poke holes or add on any ideas, please interrupt me. These are the random bullet points here of some things we collected. One thing that’s pretty well known, although none of these are always true. This is not a black and white type thing. There’s a lot of spectrum, is a new account. Maybe filtered out. Specifically, Bob, we always talk about the Mr. Rogers approach. If a client comes to our business and patronizes, and you say, “Can we please get a review from you,” if they have never left a review on Google before and if they set up a Google account right then and there, that may look a little suspect to Google, or maybe let’s just say the degree of confidence is a little lower. That’s a brand new account and boom, they’re leaving you a review. Doesn’t mean it won’t work by any means. This is just something that maybe a question mark.
Add to that, if they did not leave the review on their own device. Maybe you have a kiosk or an iPad or a laptop that you have clients always used to leave your review. Now, you have a new account that was just created on the same device and IP address as other accounts that have been logged in, right? You might look a little scammy or fake to Google, lacking some confidence there. Of those things, if you’re out there listening and you’re having a problem, getting reviews to stick. If either one of those scenarios is something that’s common for you, maybe look at a way to rectify that and combat that. One thing would be for sure, to the positive side, is having people leave reviews on their own devices, right?
If I’m logging into my device often and using it as a Google profile, and then I leave review from my device, there’s a track record there, some confidence, but if Bob hands me his phone, right, and I log in and leave a review off there, and again, maybe I just created an account, you can see where that may look a little different in the eyes of Google. That’s one thing people have really called out. That doesn’t mean if you leave a review of a brand new account, again, that it’s never going to show. We’re not talking about these things disappear in a black hole and are deleted or filed away never to be seen from again. This is much more of a delay from showing up online. It is generally expected that eventually your reviews will show, but how long they’re in purgatory is a big question mark.
Another thing, this one’s a little more obvious on what could get you reviewed to not show maybe even permanently is your language and explicit content in nature, right? The things that might put you in Facebook jail, if you’re doing that on a Google review, probably not a good idea either. That might get that held up. If you’re, again, Bob and the Mr. Rogers approach, soliciting with clients, like, “Help me. Please give me a review.” If you’re coaching them or giving them any guidance, make sure they’re not cursing, right, and being inflammatory remarks and just these things. You might be asking for getting in a fight in Google there.
Something that could help you is feeding the beast. Google, we know, we’ve talked about reviews on this show. We’ve talked about adding photos to your reviews. That’s something Google wants, right? To put it another way, they’re hungry for that, right? They want reviews with photos coming in. They want that level of user engagement, photos to be uploaded, shared. We’re not late breaking SEO news, but they’ve recently in the last week or two, started showing more photos for your GBP. Sometimes, if you search a business, they’ll show a little collage of some of your business photos from your profile. They’re starting to show a few more in that, right, for what it’s worth. That just is more proof of, they want photos. If you’re coaching and soliciting reviews, if you have the means to ask people to do photos with it, right now, here’s another confidence thing. We’re adding to the confidence bucket with Google saying, “This is a real person and here’s a photo that’s going with it.” You’re you’re just taking that next step that somebody that’s maybe more fraudulent or less trustworthy wouldn’t be able to do. Try that.
Then, generally things that are natural are best, right? If you can imagine Google is a bot, these are not human beings. Bob, Jesse and Sue are not sitting there approving or disproving reviews at Google. That’s on the basic level, maybe on some super high end escalated version, right? That’s not what’s holding up reviews is people pushing a button. It’s a bot. It’s an analysis. It’s an algorithm. Being as real as possible, again, your device, your own review. If you can upload a photo versus your device being used for multiple logins, right, or multiple accounts or fresh new accounts or all the reviews happening off the same IP address at this location on multiple accounts that just isn’t necessarily a real world thing that would happen on a regular business and there’s a lot of confidence. Just try to evaluate your practices, what’s happening, how it’s happening and try to keep it as real to the person leaving the review in a natural setting as possible. As a business, when we solicitate … Solicitate? Is that a word?
Bob Brennan:It’s a Bush-ism.
Jesse Dolan: I amaze myself sometimes. When we solicit reviews and try to curate these and coach clients, if you go too far and make it unnatural, right, and you’re too process driven, like, we always leave reviews on this iPad, log in and say these things, it’s robotic, it’s repetitive. Google will catch onto that too. Last but not least, well, I shouldn’t say it like that. Actually, Sue, what I mean is next topic in this is your question and thought about liking the reviews, right? There is a feature within the reviews. If the three of us liked a particular review on a profile, it’s going to bump that review up, give it more exposure, more visibility, like in Facebook, right, we’re liking that post. That doesn’t necessarily have any direct SEO impact.
Again, here, this isn’t going to make the review show. It’s already showing. That’s how we’re able to like it, right? This isn’t going to make a review show that wasn’t before. Slightly different topic, but we’ve always subscribed, Bob, even our initial episodes, like for the Google my business profiles. It’s like, if they’ve got a field and a listing, use it. If Google’s given you all this stuff to fill out, use it, communicate, fill in the blanks. I feel this is similar here. If there’s a spot to like your review, nothing negative’s going to come of it. If it has some keywords that you really liked in it from a business owner standpoint, like it, encourage other people to like it. If there’s anything we can do to send a signal to Google to promote, to like, to show approval of a particular review, that’s going to be a good thing, I feel like, right? We’re communicating with Google directly into that profile.
Bob Brennan: How much of a role do you think in responding to reviews that that plays in where you’re positioned in the GBP or whatever? You know what I mean?
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Bob Brennan: In other words, in theory, if you are responding that and Google seeing that engagement, do you think Google says, “Okay, we’re going to move you up the 3-pack,” or into the 3-pack, if you’re not into 3-pack?
Jesse Dolan: I mean, to be salacious, I’d say, yeah, hell yeah, it matters, but realistically it matters in a granular level, just like everything else adds up, right?
Bob Brennan: Right.
Jesse Dolan: The number one thing, if we’re talking GBPs is like, create one and get reviews. That’s like A one and A two.
Bob Brennan: Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: Everything else under that starts to get more and more granular. To your thing here, that’s not a silver bullet, right, but it is definitely a way to generate some strong signals to Google that you’re a legitimate business, you care about your clients and it will add up. It’s worth doing, right? We recommend it to everybody and then in the same vein of Sue’s question of, does liking it help? The responding to those reviews, we’ve talked, does using keywords and you, your response as an owner, does that help? Don’t know. It ain’t going to hurt. If it ain’t going to hurt, you might as well throw another keyword or two, right, that has this association with what you’re doing and do you reply as an owner? To your point, replying as an owner from Google’s viewpoint, it’s a great signal from trust, right, and legitimate business.
Then, there is a little bit more abstract down the road stuff. We’ve talked before, like the actual client themselves. They get notified when you respond to their review. You don’t bolster that relationship. Do they refer? Do they tell somebody about it and that person has a brand search for you? I mean, so we start to get more granular as they go. These things have multiplying effects of at the end of the day, just being a great business and engaging in these ways, it’s going to do good things for you. No silver bullets there though, but definitely do it. Bob, you bring a great point. People got to be replying to those reviews and I think there’s a little bit of it too. Sorry, Sue. I got to finish this spot before it leaves because it’s not in my written down notes.
If we talk about what things can the person leaving the review do to build confidence in Google, to get this review to stick or to show and things like that, right, I think Bob, what you’re asking is also something you can put in the box of, what can you do as a business owner to show you are legit and build confidence? There is a little bit of two sides of that coin there, right, the leaving the review and where it’s left. If you can do everything in your power to make sure your Google knows that you are legit and the only question mark is on the person leaving the review, then just eliminating that variable is good because we want these reviews. We put a lot of energy into getting the reviews, right, and it’s super important. Anything we can do to help a review pop is going to be worth it, to be simplistic. Sorry, Sue.
Sue Ginsburg:That’s okay. I was going to ask, one of the ways that I help clients get more reviews is suggesting that if they have an iPad that they’re using in the office, to have it open to the exact page and when they leave the room to go and make copies or whatever, hand it to their customer or client. Are you now saying that’s not a good thing or that Google will recognize it less because it’s from the business’s iPad or something?
Jesse Dolan: I wouldn’t say to avoid it. Anything that gives you accessibility and helps get reviews, do it. If you’re presented just with the straight up A and B option of, you can leave a review on your own device or you can use our iPad here, then I would say, have them use it on device, but usually, we’re presenting this iPad or a laptop or some other device because they need that accessibility, right, or something like that. I wouldn’t shy away from it, but I guess I would say if that’s your only means of getting reviews, I mean, if it’s working right now, then God bless you. It’s working and I wouldn’t worry about it.
If your reviews are not sticking though and you think this is maybe one of the things is maybe then try to do something towards that other end. No, Sue and Bob, feel free if you want to disagree or say, “Hell yeah, I agree,” but anything you can do to get more reviews, period. I don’t think we’re talking here at all about that’s a black hat thing. You’re going to get penalized for doing it. This is just, if you’re having a problem, not getting reviews to pop, maybe look at these areas.
Bob Brennan: I mean, the way I look at it, if 100 people come through your store, how many of them are going to have Gmail accountants? 30? 40?
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Bob Brennan: Right. Then, of those 30 and 40, you have to ask a question, how many have ever left a review, right?
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Bob Brennan: Then, of those that have left a review, how many of them actually remember to how to do it again or whatever the case is? There’s all these barriers that you have to ask yourself, what are your customers experiencing for barriers? I think the key thing is, one, obviously do they have a Gmail and then two, show them how to leave a review. It may seem a bit trite or whatever, but literally, if you can print a color deal showing snapshots of how to do it, because people, we all have pride and so we’re not going to, “Oh, how do I leave a review?” You know what I mean? It’s assuming they don’t until you know the majority of the public do know how to leave a review, right? The majority of us know how to put gas in our car or whatever the case is, but this review issue, I would argue a percentage, a high percentage of the people, I’m literally helping them through that process.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Bob Brennan: The general public like, okay, this is where you need to go and da, da, da, da. Okay. Almost to a point where look, I’ll leave it. Here, hit five stars.
Jesse Dolan: Here’s what you’re going to want to type.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. He’s got great blue eyes or whatever the case is and it’s just helping people through that barrier. It’s an art. It takes, again, a lot of failure to figure out the right pitch and then also reading the person, obviously. I think at the end of the day, and we’ll have to really study this, asking people, “Have you ever left a review before,” as they’re leaving the review and making a note of that to see if their reviews are showing up because my guess is, Google’s saying no and in fact, the reason they’re not showing up is because they’re waiting for two or three other reviews to be populated and then once that happens, they’re like, okay, this person’s legit. That’s the theory, total theory because when you think about it, you could write an AI program to open up a Gmail account and bang out a review automatically, or somewhat automatically, or autonomously or whatever. Therefore, reviews that essentially can be resold and therefore bought and that’s probably what Google is cracking down at some point on.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Bob Brennan: That’s just my theory.
Jesse Dolan: Hey, everyone wanted to take a quick second to talk about Review Lead. You’ve heard us talk about it on the show before. Review Lead is a product that we support and service that we represent. It’s a tool that’s going to help you get more reviews for your business, manage your reviews, be aware of those reviews and maybe even deflect some of the negative reviews before they go live online. Check it out at localseotactics.com/reviewlead, or go to our resources page and look for a Review Lead on there. This is a product that we support and that we resell. This is not a third party or an affiliate link or something like that. Now, what Review Lead’s going to do is help you automate getting more reviews from your clients, makes it very easy to get reviews and get more five star reviews. Whether you want those on your Google business profile formally, Google my business listing, maybe the BBB, maybe Facebook. Anywhere that you can get reviews, you can connect with Review Lead and promote this to your clients and customers and get more reviews quick, easy, and in an automated way.
Some other cool aspects of it is, it does have a mechanism there to, I guess, deflect, if you will, one star reviews. If somebody is not happy with your service it asks them that, and then rather than asking them to leave a review, it’ll say, “Do you want to fill up this feedback form and give that feedback directly to us,” and hopefully that can help deflect some of those one star reviews before they go online and also alert you if something bad is happening in your business, you have a client or a customer that is disappointed so you can rectify that and make changes in your business to keep them happy and prevent that from the future. That’s a really cool feature. Also, it has great reporting in it to make you aware of the amount of reviews you’re getting, where you’re getting them from, who’s leaving them, things like that. You can also promote those reviews on your website or through social media with some of the integrations built in this product as well. Learn more, go to localseotactics.com/reviewlead and check it out.
Sue Ginsburg: Oh, I was going to ask, do you guys think that putting a little, how to leave a review together and for our resources page would be something that would be helpful to our listeners?
Jesse Dolan: That’s probably not a bad idea. Something to go off as a template or example even, right?
Bob Brennan: Yeah. Something they can print out because, again, not everybody’s going to go out on YouTube, how to leave a review.
Sue Ginsburg: Step by step.
Bob Brennan: Got to go old school and hand somebody at my age that sheet of paper that I can, whatever.
Jesse Dolan: No, that’s a great point. We’ll put that together, Sue, and link it in the bottom of the show notes for this episode. Everybody go out to localseotactics.com and you can search for this episode or if you’re listening to your podcast right now, you should be able to go in and read the summary of this episode, the bullet points and scroll down to the bottom and get to the episode page from there. Yeah, let’s put that together, throw it out there, maybe as a PDF or just a screenshot, people can grab and run with it. That’s a great idea to help them out because anything you can do.
Bob, like you’re talking about, if people are listening like, I don’t want to put that little cheat sheet together and do these things, but if you’re going to be asking for reviews ongoing, right, anything you can do to help set the stage to make it easier for every time going forward, make that resource, right? Put that thing up at the front desk or put that sticker over there, whatever it is, make that investment because when you’re doing this process over and over and over, right, and like you said, you start to understand where the barriers are for the people.
Bob Brennan: Right.
Jesse Dolan: Knock those babies down, get the reviews. That’s what we’re talking about here is get the reviews, get them to pop. How do we build confidence? It’s a major thing for your business. We got to get them. I think this-
Sue Ginsburg: There’s something that both of you touched on that I wanted to explain. In order to leave a Google review, you need to have a Gmail account and not everybody does. I think a big percentage of people who we might be asking to leave reviews do, but if they don’t have a Gmail account, they won’t be able to leave a review. Jesse, so you mentioned, if they’re just starting and setting up their Google account, it may seem not legit to Google. Are you talking about a Gmail account?
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, that’s a great question, Sue. Sort of. Every Gmail account is a Google account. Okay. You can have a Google account that’s not a Gmail account, right? You can use your current business email or create a new one, right, or a Hotmail address or whatever and you can create a Google account with that email. When you go to set up your account to leave your review, to log in, whatever, manage your GBP, all this stuff, you have to log into Google to do it. If you have a Gmail account, that’s easy. You just log in with your Gmail credentials. If you don’t, you can create a new Google account. Now, you can do that by creating a new Gmail account at that time or you can use your existing email and set up a Google account that way. Just a little clarity there.
It doesn’t have to be Gmail. It just needs to be a Google account. If you don’t have one, you can set one up free with a new Gmail or you can use your existing email. If you use your existing email, it’s going to verify that, right? It’s going to send you a code to that email that you got to click on to verify this is your email. Then, you’ll have your Google account and you can leave your reviews and all that, but you do have to log in is the core thing here. You have to log into Google to leave that review. Yes, that can be a barrier. Some people may just refuse to do it because they don’t want a Google account, no matter if it’s Gmail or not, right? They don’t want to log in and be communicating with Google. We’re talking about GBP reviews here, why they stick, why they don’t, some tips to hopefully help you out.
Expanding on that topic, if you run into somebody who is willing to leave review, but they don’t have a Google account and they don’t want to create one, then just start going down your list of priorities. If they can go to Facebook, if they can go to Yelp, if they can go to four square, if they can go to the local chamber of commerce, wherever you can get reviews. If they’re willing to give you one, get it, right? Google’s the number one option here. With that, I think if we can transition over and talk about the third part of your question, which is the Local Guide, because that is something that ties into, that’s your status. That’s your level. That’s your points of your Google account within this space of leaving reviews.
Bob, if you’ve left a hundred reviews over the last five years in Google, if I’ve left two and Sue’s left 30, we’re all going to be at different levels, right? If it’s a game, you’re on level 10. I’m making this up. There’s there’s legitimate numbers. If anybody’s a Google Guide, I’m making up fake numbers here just illustration right? Bob, if you left a hundred reviews, you’re at level 10. Sue you’re at level five. I’m at level one or whatever, right? Well, there’s a couple cool things. The more prominent you are, Google would reward you. They may send you stickers or Google socks or little trinkets. If you’re really in the upper echelon of a Google Guide, being very active. Yeah.
That’s cool, right, but really why a business owner or anybody listening here would care about being in Google Guide is, again, back to trust and confidence within Google. As you gain a higher score, a higher level of your Google Guide, you’ve interacted with Google in a lot of ways. You’ve left a lot of reviews. The process can be even more intensive or not only have you left a review, they’ve asked you what services did you do here, right, or some follow up questions to help curate either what you’re talking about or give guidance to that business on their profile. The more you engage as a Guide and do these things, your score levels up.
The higher your score, the more trust you have, which means, and some people use this in a negative way, if you decided that there was a piece of information on just a random GBP, right? The Bob’s Auto Repair, if you thought Bob’s hours of operation were wrong on his GBP and you’re a powerful Google Guide, you’re a high level scorer, if you go in there and suggest and edit that Bob’s hours are wrong and they should be this, if Google trusts you enough, if your score is high enough, they may just change that based off your input, not even asking Bob to corroborate that or not needing five other people to do it from a public influence standpoint.
Again, I’m making this up and maybe making it sound too easy and simplifying it, but I’m just painting the scenario, right? The higher your score, the more prominence you have as a Guide. The more trust you have within Google and the more they will trust your recommendations and input. This is not that different than maybe Yelp or some of these other review platforms that have the business and the reviewer status and scoring for both of them and trust for both of them. It is definitely something within Google that’s important.
Now, does the level of your Guide score make your review stick or not? I’ve read in a number of SEO circles and people betting out this problem that even people of high level Guide scores have had reviews stuck for weeks not showing, which you’d think that would be a very clear signal to Google, right, which goes back to all these best practices or dos and don’ts. Everybody feels like they can help nudge you, but there’s still a certain percentage of these reviews held in purgatory where we’re just like, no idea why. It doesn’t fit the mold one way or the other, doesn’t make sense and then that just goes back to, there’s got to be some backlogs or some wires crossed or just queue of work at Google. Who knows?
Again, they do this offer free, right, to an extent. They get revenue, don’t get me wrong, but they’re not obligated to tell us what’s holding it up either, right, is the moral story and we just have to guess, and that’s what a lot of this is, just educated guesses that hopefully put everybody towards the right direction. Even something like a powerful Google Guide, if some other factors, question mark, what that is, are in play, they may still hold the review for a while. It’s weird. There you go. There’s the nickel tour of the whole thing. I think we covered all the bases there.
Bob Brennan: Yep.
Sue Ginsburg: Interesting. I am a big believer in accelerating a business who’s doing things right. I don’t know how many I’ve left, but I do have that classification as a local Google Guide or whatever they call it. Knowing now that I could be getting a pair of Google socks or something else from them, I’m going to say, game on. I’m going to go add more reviews.
Jesse Dolan: I know somebody out there in Twitter or something has Google socks. I forget who it was. That may be something way more lofty. That may take years to accomplish. I don’t want to set your site too high and have you be disappointed. It may just be a sticker or a digital sticker via email. I don’t know.
Bob Brennan: A Marlboro jacket. You’ll probably get a Marlboro jacket or something.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Bob Brennan: No, I think it’s that gamification to encourage reviews, right, and Facebook’s done it with badges where if you like, you continue to like a certain business or entity, they recognize that and then they give you a special badge, that kind of thing. It’s that gamification that gets all those 14 year olds involved in the whole thing.
Jesse Dolan: Yep. Yep. That’s true.
Sue Ginsburg: Great points.
Jesse Dolan: There you go. That’s why your reviews may or may not be showing, maybe. We don’t know for sure.
Sue Ginsburg: Okay. You mentioned it’s good to add a photo. Does the photo need to be in front of that business or holding that product or what kind of photo and is it photo/video or just photo?
Jesse Dolan: Great questions, Sue. Pure speculation for any answer as all this is, but here’s some things that we know about Google. Again, we have to infer some things here. We know Google vision, AI. We’ve talked about it on the show for a year or two now. Google can not only do reverse image search and entity correlation just from an image. I think we’ve used the example on the show, I forget where he pulled it from. You could take a picture of an Amana air conditioner, a brand of air conditioner, with a repairman sitting there. Let’s just say the logo of the company he works for is prominently displayed on his polo in that same picture. Google can recognize this is an Amana air conditioner from the photo. Google algorithm bot can know that’s an Amana air conditioner and if it can parse out the logo on that polo, it can then correlate in its database, regardless of what the business communicated, that Bob’s Air Conditioner repair is associated or somehow connected to the entity of a Amana air conditioners, right?
They do that from the image search and then the whole Google brain behind it, right, to be simplistic. Because of that, if we’re going to take a photo and attach it and upload it with our review, we have to make certain assumptions that Google will be able to know. If multiple people are doing this, they’ll get an idea that’s that store or that’s that service desk and that’s that logo. They will be able to understand what they’re seeing in the image, either from a repetition of uploading from this particular place or from other photos that it’s amassed this.
This is a newer technology area within Google. It’s not slowing down, right? If anything, it’s accelerating. Sue, again, they’re hungry for photos. If you think about it, they want to build this database of photos so they can train their AI and develop all this.
Sue Ginsburg: Fabulous.
Jesse Dolan: It’s not just like, send a photo that proves you’re legit business, just like they want to crawl all websites to digest all the information to then do things with it. They want to do the same with photos to be able to understand what they see in a photo. This is building the database for self-driving cars and all kinds of video related tech in the future that’s more external than us submitting it to it, but they need this massive input. right? When we say they’re hungry for photos, for a lot of reasons. What we’re trying to do is attach that photo to the review, sneak that review in with the photo because they want that photo. They want to digest it and long answer to your short question is, yeah. I do think the content in that photo, maybe not immediately, but definitely over time, is relevant.
If you’re a car dealership, a lot of car dealers will have a great spot to take photos of their clients with their name in the background or showing the vehicle. Again, be intentional understanding that Google, like they can read your webpage, they can read this picture, more or less, right, and be intentional with that stuff. Don’t be afraid to use the same spot over and over. You’re not going to get Google thinking you’re spam. They will understand you’re a business and this is where you take photos. You know what I mean? They get it. Then, that knife cuts both ways in that your pictures better be relevant to your business. If you’re just throwing junk photos on there, like, they said, attach a photo. It’ll help the review. If it doesn’t make any sense to the review or your business, you’re probably doing more harm than good. You’re starting to associate yourself with whatever’s in that photo. Again, be intentional with it. Hopefully, that makes sense, if I said it right. Sometimes my English gets weird.
Sue Ginsburg: Okay. Reverse engineering that thought. If I was a person that believed that I could hide from Google, which I don’t, I think you can run, but you can’t hide, your phone, everything you do, Google knows, would adding a picture to my reviews be giving Google more information to know who I am and what I like and therefore, ads are going to pop up related to the dog food that I just bought, the air conditioner picture I just took, et cetera, et cetera? What a scary world.
Jesse Dolan: Almost.
Sue Ginsburg: This is like the Jetsons, isn’t it?
Jesse Dolan: Almost.
Sue Ginsburg: We’re living in the Jetsons’ age.
Jesse Dolan: My whole family takes the money out of my wallet in the same way. That part’s ingrained into my memory. The flying car thing, not quite yet, right? Yeah, we are.
Sue Ginsburg: We’re getting there. We’re getting there.
Bob Brennan: I talked to a forensic officer, cyber forensics or whatever you want to call it, for local police department. You really don’t know. I mean, if they can prove or if they have a suspect and they’ve got pretty good evidence pointing towards them, they can go to Google and track almost every move this person’s made in a period of time.
Sue Ginsburg: God.
Bob Brennan: For instance, if there’s multiple robberies then can go back to the person’s phone and show them at each of those points. It’s pretty crazy.
Sue Ginsburg: Wow.
Bob Brennan: Now, I don’t even think they’d use it for robberies, but if it was multiple murders or homicides or something like that, they’ll collaborate with Google.
Jesse Dolan: That’s there when needed, right?
Bob Brennan: Yeah. They’ll collaborate with Google to pinpoint them at the right time and even traffic cams and stuff like that, showing that this person was there at that time. For those of us that don’t anticipate doing any crimes, it’s not a big deal, but yeah, they’ve got it. It’s scary. It really is. Big brother is in a sense watching.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. Way more than you think. That’s, again, Sue, your question and then your insight, Bob, I think are important for people to understand because you have to have that context. Again, why do photos matter attaching your review? There’s so many layers there, right, or why do we try to look real on our GBP in the way we engage and interact? To your point, Bob, all this data is being captured and decisions are being made or algorithms are spitting things out.
Bob Brennan: Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: Based on so many factors we don’t realize are being collected. The ones that we’re aware of, that we can be intentional with, that we feel have some kind of difference making ability to it, we have to take advantage of those. Whether they’re proven or not, if they make sense, right, read the tea leaves, because Google does not tell us all these things.
Bob Brennan: Right.
Jesse Dolan: Give it a shot, man. Give it a shot. I don’t think anything we’re talking here today has any danger or downside, right? If anything, it’s just your labor or your time to do the thing would be the only potential liability. If anything, you’ll get a little benefit out of it, get your photos on the reviews, get those reasons to stick. Good luck.
Sue Ginsburg: I don’t know about you guys, but I sure I’m happy to say I lead a good, clean life. If I review my health club, put a picture of that with it and then I review the delicious, huge cupcake that I’m eating after and put a picture of that, I’m okay with that because both of them are part of my real life.
Bob Brennan: You earned that cupcake. That’s the key. You can have a cupcake, you just got to earn it.
Jesse Dolan: You just got to keep it level.
Sue Ginsburg: Thank you, Bob.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. I mean, in a little bit of a side note, I mean, for the first time ever and again, side tangent, if you will, I don’t know how many, five or seven Russian generals were killed and that wasn’t done through Google, but it was done through them making a mistake of going on the Ukrainian cellular network and getting isolated and pinpointed.
Sue Ginsburg: Wow.
Bob Brennan: That’s through that, but if they didn’t use the Ukrainian network and it was some other network and however they’d use Google, these are just different times we’re in.
Jesse Dolan: Signals.
Bob Brennan: All’s fair and love and war.
Sue Ginsburg: Sure.
Bob Brennan: In my opinion, it wouldn’t have mattered if it was on the Ukrainian cellular network, but if the Ukrainians wanted to team up with Google, a lot of things can get done.
Sue Ginsburg: Interesting.
Jesse Dolan: Sue said, you can run, but you can’t hide.
Bob Brennan: Correct.
Jesse Dolan: Big tech is watching. If you’re using tech, tech is using you.
Bob Brennan: That’s fair.
Jesse Dolan: Nothing’s free.
Sue Ginsburg:Right. Right. That’s right. I’ll just say, if you remember one thing and one thing only, remember this. Reviews are important. You cannot overestimate the value of reviews for a business. Keep asking for reviews. If possible, be as real as possible in the wording. When you leave a review or for people who are leaving you a review on their own device, ask for a photo where appropriate in their own language. Don’t feed them the words and help Google know that these are legit reviews.
Bob Brennan: Perfect.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Sue Ginsburg: That helps. That helps your business. It helps other people who are reading reviews and that’s we’re all after.
Jesse Dolan: It’s all the signals.
Sue Ginsburg: In the end.
Jesse Dolan: Welcome to confidence.
Sue Ginsburg: Yeah, that’s right. It’ll support that. Quote of the day, “There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas. What’s missing is the will to execute them by,” Seth Godin. Thank you for your little story. I’m now going to be emailing and hawking Mark Cuban until he says, yes, he will be on our podcast as an interviewee and that’s a good thing.
Bob Brennan: We’ll take him.
Sue Ginsburg: With that, Jesse, how can we help people make it easy for people to leave us a review?
Jesse Dolan: Two things you can do.
Sue Ginsburg: While we’re on the topic.
Jesse Dolan: One, you can ask a question. One, you can leave a review for both of them. You’re going to want to go down to localseotactics, go out to localseotactics.com, scroll down to the bottom. You’re going to see a button for reviews, a button for questions. If you leave a review, please do. We don’t read your review on every format, like this type of a show, but on some of our other shows, we read the reviews. I promise you, if you leave us a review on any of the portals you’re going to be presented with, we’re going to read it, give you a shout out on the air and pretty cool. We appreciate that feedback. It helps the show, helps us know what we’re doing right or wrong. We do read everyone internally and on the show and we take it to heart. The feedback that you give us, we’ve already used some of the guidance we’ve got over the years.
Sue, thanks for asking for that. We always want to encourage people to leave us review and it helps spread the word too and create exposure as well. If you think we’re doing a good job of getting good value out of this for yourself, that’s a favor we’d ask of you. We’d love to have your help. If you have a topic, like this one that we’re talking about for reviews, how to get them to stick and all that, something to explore, you want us to dive into, a question you have, a hurdle you’re having in your own SEO journey, digital marketing, click the other button at the bottom of the page, localseotactics.com for submitting a question. You can type in your question into the form there and send it and we’ll use it on the show and answer it round table it.
Even better, if you’d be willing to call that question in and leave a voicemail on a recorded line, we’ll then play the audio on the show, which is just always cooler, more engaging and we like to hear your voice. If you do that, we’re going to send you off either a free Intrycks tee shirt or as you can see here, I’m modeling hot off the embroidery press, the Intrycks gray hat, not black hat SEO, not white hat SEO, but straight in the middle, gray hat SEO, totally free with your help of submitting a question for us. We’d love to hear from you and love to answer it on the show. If you’re so inclined, please reach out to us. Again, localseotactics.com. Until we hear you from you, you can catch us on the next episode. Until then, thanks for tuning everybody. Bob and Sue, appreciate the time. Catch y’all later. Next time.