Chris Hogan: Good day, world. Chris Hogan and Andrew Groat coming to you live from MeMedia studio here a Burleigh Heads for episode 79 of Get Fact Up and today, we're talking about …
Andrew Groat: Local listings or your Google My Business listing.
Chris Hogan: You know what that is? Does anyone know what that is?
Andrew Groat: No. A lot of people don't. A lot of people don't take it seriously. That's why we’re bringing it up today.
Chris Hogan: That's right. What is it? What is it when you're viewing it from the interface first?
Andrew Groat: They call it the local pack and that's the very first thing that comes up on Google if you search a business name. It's like that box and it'll have your contact details, it'll have your Google Map listing, it'll have reviews, photos if you put photos in there. It's often the very first thing that people see when they start looking for your business.
Chris Hogan: Or do local searches, which is why they're called local listings and stuff like that.
Andrew Groat: Yeah. Almost always shows up if you search for someone on a phone.
Chris Hogan: Yep, because it gives the ability for people to actually call your business, get directions, visit the website.
Andrew Groat: Yeah. It's a first point of contact, and that's a problem because a lot of people don't take it seriously. There's a real "she'll be right" sort of mentality about it. People just think, “Ah, I got a three-star review. It'll go away,” but they don't. That's the problem. It's like-
Chris Hogan: The other thing they can do there apart from all those other things we've mentioned is place a review on your business, review your business.
Andrew Groat: Yeah. If you are looking for a business or if you didn't know something about a business, you aren’t sure about a business, what's the first thing that you do? You look for reviews, and you don't just look for reviews. You look for bad reviews. You search for bad reviews. This is what people do. It's like if someone graffiti-ed the front of your shop, you would clean it up straightaway. People should be thinking the same about-
Chris Hogan: Yeah, I liken it to, if you had a petition happening at the front or a demonstration happening at the front with people carrying placards saying, “Don't go into this business,” or they're standing even in your foyer of your business, people aren’t-
Andrew Groat: Nobody's going to come in.
Chris Hogan: No, they're going to be feeling uneasy.
Andrew Groat: The ones that do, they're going be a little bit off so yeah, it's the web version of that.
Chris Hogan: Yes. Peeps, this has come up because recently, we've had some clients that have come to us for SEO, and we've been doing a great job of getting them good traffic and improving the social expansion, social reach and engagement, but lo and behold, there's been this 10 or so reviews on their on their business listings, on their Google My Business listing and they've been pretty average. What we're basically saying is why send all this traffic to this website if people are potentially going to see these reviews and go, “Well, your content’s really great.”
Andrew Groat: Yeah, not so sure about this. Yeah.
Chris Hogan: “You're putting really great content out but now, I'm not so sure.”
Andrew Groat: The thing is often, there's just serial reviewers out there that just go and they just give a bad review for everyone because you can create a local guide account and then you can become well-known for reviewing. There's people that just go out there and do this, and it's not necessarily because you did something wrong. It could be someone's confused, so they've left a bad review until you've addressed their feedback, or you get these serial reviewers and things like that. It's not always your fault. You need to be able to manage this better and be able to respond to these people and ask them if it's something you did or if they're just having a bad time, that sort of thing.
Chris Hogan: One of the most important things that people need to do is much, more than likely that there is already a Google My Business listing that exists for your business on Google Maps and Google’s search results and if it does and you don't know who owns it or what's going on there, then you've got to claim it, right?
Andrew Groat: Yeah, because if you haven't created one and someone comes to your business and they have a good time or a bad time and they want to leave a review, they can create one like that and then, you have to make sure that you get on top of that and own that. Better yet, you should already have a Google My Business created so that they can find you and do the right thing.
Chris Hogan: Claiming is easy, yeah? It's well-
Andrew Groat: Provided no one owns it, yeah.
Chris Hogan: That's right. What do people do if they need to claim their business listing?
Andrew Groat: They just go to business.google.com and from there, they can either create one if there isn't anything yet. It's a really, really quick process. All you need is a Gmail account for that, or if it does exist and no one has verified their ownership of that, then it's the same process. You just claim that, no questions asked. It's yours now until further notice, but a lot of the time, people will create one for you and then they'll say that they're the owner because they may not realise what they're doing or maybe your competitors just decided that they want it, or maybe someone that worked for you created it and now, they don't work for you. This happens all the time.
Then, the next step is you have to go and request ownership. That's where a lot of people just give up because it's a really ambiguous process. There's no explanation of what happens when you do that. It feels like there's no way to contact Google, so you have to … It's the same website. Go to business.google/ad and then you enter the name of your business or your address, I think, as well and you'll see if it's already there. You click on that. You go through the steps, and then, if someone's already got access, it'll say someone already … or ownership, someone will say, “Yeah, it's already owned by someone else.”
Then, you can go through their request access process. What that does is send an email to the person that created that and then, they have seven days to either approve or deny the request or maybe they just won't even see it or maybe they'll ignore it. Once that process starts, you're kind of waiting for them to do the right thing. That's not a really good place to be.
Chris Hogan: Especially because you don't actually know who it went to. The email address for who owns it is actually masked, so you can’t even determine what domain it's been owned by or anything like that.
Andrew Groat: It’s hard to say, “Oh, wait. That was someone that worked here or that's someone I know,” so it just kind of goes into oblivion and then you have to hope for the best. Every now and then, if someone gets one of these requests, gets one of these emails from Google saying someone wants to take ownership and they ignore it, Google will say, “We didn't get a response,” so they'll just give it to you, that almost never happens. I've never seen that happen myself but apparently, that can happen.
Here's some kind of steps to actually do that and how it really works after that. After the seven days is up, Google will send you an email saying either it was approved or denied or there was no response. Then, that's the second place a lot of people give up. They say, “Well, nothing I can do about it,” but right then and there is where you should be contacting Google. If there's a reference number in that email, just write that down because you'll need to talk to them about it.
Contacting Google is one of those weird things. It's like if you search how do I call Google, you will spend an hour and find nothing, but there is a way to call them or request a callback and we'll put the link down the bottom here because it's a big link, but basically, you just go through the steps where you say, “This is my business name. This is the business listing that I'm trying to claim,” and you put your contact details and website, that sort of thing. Submit that. Submit your phone number and then they'll call you, and it says here that they call back within 60 seconds.
Chris Hogan: Yes. It's normally an automated call and …
Andrew Groat: Then, you just explain what's going on. They'll probably ask if you've done the ownership request first, so if you haven't done that, don't bother calling them. They'll just make you go back and do it, but if you have, you've got that reference number there and you say, “Look, I've gone through the necessary steps. This person's not responding or they've denied it and I'm the business owner,” and then they’ll follow it up from there. They might ask you a couple more questions, maybe ABN or something like that so that they can go and check that. Then, they'll take it from there, but it's really important that you actually get on top of Google and call. Then, if it doesn't work the first time, call them again. Call them again. We spoke to someone recently and they said it's just a matter of really sticking to it.
Chris Hogan: Yeah. There's a whole other realm to managing bad reviews that we probably won't go into today. That's another Get Fact Up, but one of the benefits of Google My Business is that there is actually an app out there for iOS and Android. It's Google My Business app. Once you've claimed your business, you can log in on that app and you can get notifications as to when people actually review, so you can get the notifications on the app. You will also get notifications via email as well, which sometimes go into the ether. Getting at notifications to the app, you can respond straight away and that's really great customer service. Even if you are getting bad reviews-
Andrew Groat: Yeah, it's important to respond because that's-
Chris Hogan: Absolutely.
Andrew Groat: That’s how you show that you're there and you can turn a bad review into a good review just by doing the right thing.
Chris Hogan: Sure can. Absolutely.
Andrew Groat: People see that you're responding to everything and they say, “All right, cool. That business is doing the right thing.” Something that we noticed today when we were playing around with the app is you can actually see insights of your own Google My Business. You can see how many people have viewed it for the month. You can see how many people have called, how many people have gone to your map listing, asked for directions.
Something I thought was really cool is you can see how many people have viewed specific reviews, so you can see which reviews, which specific reviews are driving decisions. If you have a bad review, a one-star review that’s getting hundreds and hundreds of views, you may want to do something about that, or there may be a good review that everyone's looking at and you can say, “Well, that's awesome. I should make sure I follow that up and thank them all,” or something along those lines.
Chris Hogan: Google also wants you to upload photos. There are actually professional photographers that exist out there that will come and take photos of your business and just do the Google upload process. They do exist but you can actually do it yourself, of course, so snapping photos of your business, your premises, people in your business. We've said once before about personal branding and all that sort of stuff and make your brand more personable is what the result of good personal branding is actually making your brand more personal, so putting photos up of the people there …
Chris Hogan: You should do that because if you don't have any photos in there, the people that review have the ability to add photos as well, so if they add some dodgy photos in there, that's the first thing that's going to come up, so you got to make sure you have at least five in there to push out whatever you don't want. We saw recently that there’s people that are even doing 3D walkthroughs of your business now that can be put into the Google business listing, so if you want to have the ability for someone to click and walk into your premises and look around, you can have that now. That's a feature on there now. It’s pretty cool.
Chris Hogan: Don't freak out. They're not actually in your business, but it’s a photograph or it’s a 3D walkthrough and that gives you the opportunity to maybe tidy up the shelves a little bit, clean up a little bit. If people can see or look at the amount of stuff that you're holding or if you're a shop, for argument's sake, look at the beautiful foyer you have, look at the-
Andrew Groat: Yeah, it kind of breaks down that barrier of people being unsure about what they're about to walk into. I think a lot of people would try it if they saw it.
Chris Hogan: Absolutely. I think we should probably wrap it up with you.
Andrew Groat: Yeah, there's too much already, I think.
Chris Hogan: Guys, thanks very much for watching MeMedia’s Get Fact Up series. We are at episode 79, and we do this every week, release them on Monday mornings. You can also find them on our YouTube channel. Just search for MeMedia and also on Facebook, facebook.com/memedia. You can subscribe via email to get those notifications of when we go live with these episodes in your inbox. If you have any questions, by all means, reach out. We're on nearly every social media platform. Send us message. Give us call. If you want some specific questions answered, you want us to do some digging and find out how you should be doing something, we’d gladly help out. Sometimes, gathering content can be a little bit difficult or time consuming for us and most of it’s sometimes just adlib in our head. If you've got a hard question that you need us answering, bomb away and shoot it in. Thanks very much, Andrew. It's been great.
Andrew Groat: Thank you.
Chris Hogan: Cheers.