Tag Archives: internet marketing

How Do Google Reviews Work?

Google Reviews drive business for thousands of service companies. While only one of many ranking factors, client reviews have been the deciding factors for homeowners for decades. It’s no wonder that Google also prizes this feedback as they consider which websites to rank highest.

While the COVID-19 crisis has temporarily halted the creation of new ones, knowing how to collect and manage these reviews will be essential for your company’s future. In this handy guide, we dig into the easiest ways to protect your brand reputation, expand your collection of reviews, and respond to customer complaints. Grab a pen, paper, and take notes.

Keep hanging in there!

Important Lessons For Roofing Professionals

  • Google Reviews don’t happen by themselves. You have to actively ask for them!
  • The best defense is a good offense. Increase your positive reviews to dwarf negative ones.
  • Learn how to respond effectively to complaints. Future clients will be very impressed!
  • Fake reviews can cause lost trust, GMB listing cancellations, and even business failure.

How Google Reviews Work

Google Reviews are directly connected to your Google My Business (GMB) account. To leave a review, clients perform a direct search of your brand name, locate the knowledge graph on the side of search results – this assumes you have a GMB account, and you definitely should! and click on your reviews. From there, they submit a star rating for your service, and leave a message about their experience. This helps other consumers with similar heating and cooling needs create an clearer picture of your company.

Why Google Reviews Matter for SEO

Google Reviews garner more visibility than any other platform around. That’s because they’re featured prominently on your Google My Business profile. They’ll also appear on your Google Maps listings, and any local map packs your company wins in search. While Facebook Recommendations and other feedback platforms certainly offer their own unique user bases, people rely on Google Reviews more than any of these.

That means stakes are high when it comes to this very public feedback tool.

On a positive note, happy client reviews prove to both Google and consumers that your business is worth the investment. Reviews show relevant activity, which Google relies on to generate the best Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) possible. If you aren’t familiar with the layout of SERPs, make sure you check out our video on search marketing, which offers key ranking factors for each section.

Prospective clients heavily depend on reviews when making their decision to invest or look elsewhere. The more recent and relevant your feedback, the more confident they’ll feel about choosing your heating and cooling services. Be sure to collect them as consistently as possible. Speaking of which…

How to Collect Reviews

Whether your company uses sophisticated software or old fashioned approach, collecting reviews boils down to one basic task: asking for them. If American consumers have proven anything, it’s that they have a very short term attention span. You need to ask your customers for their review as quickly as possible upon finishing any project. The longer you wait to request that review, the more goodwill is lost to forgetfulness.

A quick note: Google Reviews should be as natural and unfiltered as possible. You may ask clients to provide information about the services you provided and (perhaps) the project leader, but you shouldn’t ask for anything beyond that. Never offer to incentivise or compensate someone for a review. That includes discounts, gift cards, or direct payments to the clients involved. We’ll talk more about this later.

A Roofing Company Addresses a Negative Google Review
This Experienced Roofing Company Kindly Responds to Negative Google Reviews. (Names Obscured)

How to Handle Negativity

It’s so easy to take negative Google Reviews personally. After all, business depends heavily on maintaining a productive, positive reputation. Instead of immediately hopping on your GMB account, busting out your best writing, and making your case about how wrong their complaint is, pause. If you’re feeling heated, walk away from the issue for a few minutes.

You’ll need a cool head for tackling the problem. Here’s how to address negative reviews:

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

Analyze

Analyze the Problem

Try to figure out what happened. Was there an issue in communication with the client? Did a sub make a mistake on a portion of the project? Even if there was no direct error on your team’s side, there may still be an opportunity to improve your services. So keep an open mind.

Be sure to put yourself in the client’s shoes too! So many complaints are the product of misunderstood expectations or lack of communication. Try to understand what that client is going through before you try to provide a solution.

Reply

Reply Directly to the Review, Then Take Things Offline

Don’t rush this step! Write a courteous, sympathetic response to the complaint. Keep in mind, it’s okay to apologize even if you haven’t done anything wrong. After all, you want all your customers to feel satisfied with your services. Offer to hear more of the client’s problem, but take the matter offline. You don’t need to continue the conversation in Google Reviews for everyone to see!

Ask the client to call or email you with a description of what went wrong. If the situation warrants it, consider providing free touch ups, a discount, or another solution. Remember, fixing the problem in a timely manner should be the primary concern. You need to get this step right!

Ask

Ask Them to Change Their Review

Once you feel confident the client has been satisfied, it’s time to move on to the final step. Remind the client how important their review is to your business. Politely ask if they would be comfortable with updating their review to a higher rating, or removing it completely. Most customers will be more than happy to update their original review. You may even get some free brand recognition from it!

After that, simply move on. Continue collecting Google Reviews from all your happy clients. Just ask immediately after you finish their project, or within the next few days at least. Enthusiasm fades over time, and even the happiest clients can be forgetful.

How to Treat Fake Reviews

Treat them like the plague. Avoid fake reviews at all costs, as they’ve been the death of businesses. Fake reviews destroy trust with clients. Just as important, they destroy trust with Google, who may respond by suspending reviews. Google may even suspend your GMB account, which would severely limit your ability to appear in localized search.

Essentially, fake reviews could make your business disappear from search. We’ve seen one business lose millions in annual revenue because of review snafus. That’s a risk you cannot afford to take. When it comes to reviews…

  • Never pay for someone to provide a review.
  • Never ask a non-client to provide a review.
  • Never create your own reviews.
  • Never create fake reviews on competitors accounts to hurt them.
  • Never offer incentives for reviews.
  • Just ask for them after each project.

In Summary

Google Reviews create trust and connection with prospective clients. They also serve as a key ranking factor for local search, where the majority of online leads come from these days. Collecting them matters. So be sure to consistently ask clients for them, and you’ll notice stronger brand growth as a result.

Want help collecting those reviews and supercharging them for search? Try out our BrandREVU software, which comes with all of our custom designed websites. We’ve helped brand new businesses earn local map pack rankings in a matter of months, and we’d love to help you too! Call the Roofing Webmasters at (800) 353-5758 for more details.

Additional Resources From Roofing Webmasters

Related Podcasts and Articles
Local SEO Updates for Roofers (Podcast)
– Survey Says: Roofers Need Reviews to Excel in 2020 (Research)
– Roofing SEO Conference 2020 (Podcast)
Savage Exteriors Inc. (Case Study)

Related Services
– Online Reviews and Reputation Management for Roofers
Buy Roofing Leads

Posted: | Updated: Mar 24, 2020 | Categories: Podcast

True Client Stories: Roofing GMB Nightmare

We’ve all heard the tales of marketing disasters, but few professionals fully understand just how close they could be to losing serious business online. In our latest podcast, Nolen tells the scary story of how a once successful roofing professional lost over two thirds of their annual revenue ($2+ million) thanks to some unfortunate online mistakes! If you ever feel worried about the future of your lead generation, be sure to listen in.

Key Lessons for Roofing Professionals

  • Your Google My Business account plays an essential role in local search results!
  • Trying to manipulate the rankings of other companies is a recipe for disaster.
  • Relying exclusively on reviews and referral traffic can lead to sudden drops in lead generation.
  • Make sure your company has an organic presence to work off of.

A Shaky Foundation

Every seasoned industry professional knows that even the strongest roofing system is only as sound as its supporting framework. Without a solid foundation to rely on, a roof can quite literally implode on itself. One roofing company owner – we’ll call him “Bob” – found out the hard way that this concept applies to online search marketing as well!

In fact, a handful of mistakes cost his business over two million dollars in one year!

Bob ran a very successful company. With years of experience under their belts, Bob’s team managed to complete hundreds of roofing projects each year. Much of his business arose from repair and replacement jobs, as the company operated in one of the top hail-prone states in the country. His staff consisted of over 30 people, and the business still saw fantastic profits year over year. Unfortunately, all Bob’s success came crumbling down around him one day.

A Painful Local Search Mistake

Bob’s company did little in the way of marketing online, with the exception of collecting reviews. The company’s Google My Business account had yet to be verified. His website lacked essential optimization factors that could elevate rankings in local search. He didn’t even have to advertise very often. Like too many contractors and owners, Bob assumed that the company could coast along in reviews, so that’s where he spent his efforts. 

That’s where he made the gravest mistake of all.

A Customer Leaves a Review for a Roofing Contractor
Bob Accidentally Violated Google Quality Guidelines by Offering Discounts for Reviews.

Bob wanted to encourage people to submit reviews for his company, so he offered $50 gift cards for anyone who would provide them. In the man’s defense, he wasn’t trying to coerce or bribe people for better ratings. His team already did great work, and the reviews created were from real, happy customers.

That didn’t matter when Google found out about his practice. It seems an unhappy former employee contacted the search engine and informed on his boss’ practice. Since this violated Google’s quality guidelines, they closed down Bob’s GMB account. Almost overnight, Bob’s roofing company went from premium rankings to practically disappearing in local map results.

A Difficult Lesson

Bob made an honest mistake when he incentivized reviews. Regardless, his company went from earning $3+ million in revenue to less than a third of that. He contacted Google, eagerly sought out his error, and apologized. Google reinstated his account, but Bob’s company still hadn’t recovered when they came to our team at Roofing Webmasters for help.

His company signed on, and we’ve worked very hard to restore Bob’s company to their former online glory. It’s been a challenging journey. The shaky reviews-only foundation that had supported the business collapsed when the GMB account was suspended! Because the company had practically zero search engine optimization for their website, no one could find the brand when they tried to search local contractors. 

We’ve since started overhauling Bob’s website so he can start ranking again, but it’s going to take some time before his team fully recovers.

An Example of a Well-Optimized Website
Even in Rare Search Mistakes, Well-Optimized Sites Like This One Can Bounce Back With Steady Organic Traffic.

How Can You Avoid Bob’s Mistake?

There are a few key activities you can tackle to lessen your chances of a major marketing disaster like Bob’s. First, make sure that you’ve claimed, completed, and verified your Google My Business listing. While verification methods change from time to time, you should be able to get your roofing company taken care of within a few weeks.

Second, invest in a quality, search-optimized website. A sturdy website should have dedicated pages for each of your services. We see companies that provide dozens of services strip down their list to two or three, then jam-pack those few pages with way too many keywords. Instead, craft a handful of pages for your top categories (such as residential, metal, and commercial roofing), then create sub-pages beneath each of those with all the related services. Take time to work related keywords into every page in a way that reads naturally.

Finally, make sure that your company is consistently asking customers with reviews. Of course, you should avoid any sort of practice that could be interpreted as incentivizing reviews! If you ever feel unsure about a particular practice, check out Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines

How to Earn Leads and Avoid Search Penalties

  • Register, claim, and verify your GMB account.
  • Create a custom, keyword-optimized website with dedicated service pages.
  • Collect reviews from a variety of sources (Yelp, Google Reviews, Manta, etc)
  • Get listed with citation sources, such as the Better Business Bureau.
  • Never offer incentives for reviews!
  • Never try to mess with reviews or listings for competitors.
  • Consult Google’s webmaster quality guidelines.

If you’ve been hit with a serious Google penalty, our team at Roofing Webmasters would love to help. Contact us anytime at (800) 353-5758 for a free consultation!

Other Resources from the Roofing Webmasters

Podcasts and Articles
14 Roofing Sales Strategies to Boost Income Potential (Article)
Roofing Marketing: 22 Proven Tips for Contractors (Article)
Skin in the Game with Roofer Marketing Dollars (Podcast)

Related Services
Google My Business
Google Maps for Roofing Contractors
Local Search Marketing for Roofers

Posted: | Updated: Feb 26, 2020 | Categories: Podcast