Google Changes the Process of Leaving Reviews for Businesses
This week, Google began rolling out some major changes to Google+. For now, the old Google+ pages are still an option, but they will likely be phased out soon and we will be left with only the new, updated version. Most significantly for business owners, they have removed the ability for customers to read or leave reviews on a business’s Google+ page. Some are arguing that businesses are simply no longer welcome on Google+. But regardless of Google’s motivations, this is a big change, and it has left business owners and marketers around the world who have invested lots of time and effort in collecting customer reviews on Google+ scrambling to figure out how to keep collecting customer reviews or if it is even going to be worthwhile going forward. One thing is for sure - we are still seeing reviews in the search engine results page so at this moment they are still relevant.
With this change and the recent introduction of Home Services Ads, Google’s intentions seem to be to move all of their business data directly into the search results, and having reviews and other business information on Google+ pages doesn’t help them with that. While Google doesn’t like to explain themselves, it is likely a safe assumption that we will see more and more moves that are intended to keep users on the search results page, where Google can control the experience.
In the meantime, however, we need to adapt and change the way we ask for reviews from our customers. The way it used to work would be that you could simply send your customers a link to your review page. They would click the link, arrive at the page, and be prompted to rate your business and write a review. Now that Google has removed reviews from Google+ pages, there is nowhere to send them. Instead, Google reviews now live on the search results page. The only way for a customer to leave a review for a business now is to search for that business, and then click the “Write a review” button that appears on the right side of the results.
It’s a pain, and it’s more work to ask your customers to do, but seeing as collecting reviews for your business is as important as ever, it’s something everyone is going to have to get used to doing.
LinkNow Media has created an easy way to continue asking customers to leave reviews on Google
However, here at LinkNow Media, we have developed a tool that allows our clients to direct their customers directly to their review pages, without going through the intermediate steps of searching for the business name and clicking “Write a review.” Whatever changes Google decides to spring on us, we are going to keep working hard to make sure that our clients have all the tools they need to succeed in marketing their businesses online.
Have you had trouble with directing your customers to write reviews under the new Google system? Call us, comment, or reach out to @linknowmedia on Twitter and we’ll be happy to help you.