google my business logo

Google Reviews: Why They’re Important and What to Do About Them

Why GMB Reviews Are So Important

What we’ll cover in this post:

  • The importance of Google reviews to your online reputation
  • How to respond to both positive and negative reviews
  • A step-by-step how-to on the process

In order to get the most out of your Google My Business listing, it is important to keep up with reviews on a consistent basis.

Responding to Google reviews is just as influential as the reviews themselves. It provides prospective customers with a feel for what you’re like, encourages more customers to leave reviews, and can sometimes result in people amending their initial negative reviews and ratings to positive ones.

gmb review example Responding to reviews will also help you to stay on top of your online reputation, make improvements where necessary, and identify strengths to focus on.

It is important to take special consideration when replying to negative reviews. Be professional and calm when responding to these while also providing either an explanation for the negative experience the reviewer had or a resolution.

If there is no explanation, or if you feel the reviewer is being dishonest or misrepresenting their experience, it is never a good idea to express this in your response.

In the case that a disgruntled person or business competitor is deliberately committing libel or slander there are further actions that can be taken, but that is a bridge to be crossed when the time comes, and going about this is to be resolved circumstantially.

How to Respond to Google Reviews

Here is a step by step guide on how to respond to your Google reviews:

Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business

Access the Google My Business dashboard by navigating to business.google.com.

 

 

If you own or manage your business listing but are directed to a page with a search bar in the center that prompts you to “Find and manage your business,” no need to fret. Simply click on the Google My Business logo in the top-left corner of the page.

 

 

Step 2
Click the three horizontal bars in the top left-hand corner and click on your listing from the “Locations” menu.

 

 

Step 3

To the left, you will see a panel containing multiple options (“Home”, “Posts”, “Info”, “Insights”, and below “Insights”, “Reviews”). Click on Reviews.

gmb diagram
It will then, at the top, show you all of your reviews which you can sort by All, Replied, and Haven’t Replied. To the right of these options, there will be three horizontal lines. Click on this to see further ways in which to sort your reviews if you wish to, such as ranking them from highest to lowest or vice versa.

At the bottom of each review, you will see an option to Reply. Simply click on this, type your reply, and click Post Reply. If you have already replied to a review, instead of presenting you with the Reply button you will see the option to either Edit or Delete your reply.

 

Responding to these reviews, good and bad, is essential for local SEO. We hope that this has helped you understand Google Reviews the process so that you can climb your way to the top 3.

 

header image for Google My Business course

“Google My Business A to Z” – The Complete Course Pre-Release Announcement

Learn Google My Business from the Experts

If you follow us here at Horizon Web Marketing you know that our passion is for training business people to untangle the world of digital marketing. We conduct workshops and webinars, we even have our own training channel, the Horizon Web Marketing Academy.

So we’re excited to be putting the final touches on one of our most ambitious projects ever: the Google My Business Complete Course. It’s a deep dive into Google’s primary tool for local business people. But even though it’s a “deep dive,” we never go over your head with our training. Lead SEO trainer Ross Barefoot puts everything into plain business English.

The course is broken down into easily-digested modules and you get a full PDF ebook with the course contents so you can refer back whenever you need. Not only that, we give you lifetime access to the course.

Now we haven’t set a price yet, but we will soon. If you want to be notified as soon as we price and release this complete course, please fill out the form to the right and we will make sure you get all the details promptly.

The full information on the course, including the course contents, is listed below, so read on to see why we’re so excited!

Class Release Notification GMB

    I have read and understood Horizon’s Privacy Policy.

Are you in business? Then “Google My Business” is important to your success.

As a business person, you already know that Google is important. For all of the press coverage Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, and other platforms receive, a Google search is still the most likely way a new customer will find you online.

 

 

image of knowledge panel with indicator for Google My Business

 

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

But most businesses still don’t know how to effectively engage with “Google My Business,” the free management tool that Google has developed to allow businesses to communicate their critical business information to Google. If you’re not familiar with Google My Business (let’s just call it GMB for short), it is a special database that feeds business information into the results that searchers will see about you on Google Maps and in the Google “Knowledge Panel” (see next image).

Drawing of complicated knots to illustrate the complexity of Google My BusinessUnraveling Google My Business is Hard

Although many business owners have explored their GMB account (and more probably have not), very few are not intimidated by it.

First, GMB changes almost weekly, with new features, removed features, changed features. It’s Google’s usual pattern: constant change.

Second, GMB changes from one business to another, so it’s very hard to know how it will appear to any given business, at least when it comes to details of their account.

Finally, it’s not always intuitive. We understand Google does the best they can to make it intuitive and to inform their users, but as with any incredibly powerful software tool, it’s very hard to know what the platform is capable of, and how to access subtle but critical features.

All of this is not to mention the fact that Google has rules and policies surrounding what data you enter and even how you enter it.

Our newly redesigned GMB course is meant to address and remove all of those obstacles for you, the mystified business owner.

We Walk You Through All the Google My Business Features

Our course covers the complete list of GMB features and does it in plain business English with plenty of illustrations and explanations. Just look at the list of modules:

  • Business visibility and Google: what it looks like
  • Factors for good visibility: what will help your listing show
  • A tour of GMB: what’s in the box
  • Typical business action items, overview: here’s your beginning to-do list
  • How to find your business listing: sometimes it’s a treasure hunt
  • Claiming your listing: hey Google, that business belongs to me!
  • Setting up a new business: just getting started? Here’s how!
  • Verifying your listing: prove it’s yours, and not someone else’s
  • Optimizing your business name: keywords, stuffing, and (almost) unwritten rules
  • Determining your business categories: one list to rule them all
  • The importance of how you enter your location: what’s in a (street) name
  • Hours, more hours, and even more hours: And you thought you worked enough hours already!
  • The subtle importance of how you represent your phone number: after all, it’s your lifeline
  • Location links: lots of ways to bring your customers back home
  • Attributes: Google giveth, and Google taketh away
  • Your Business Description: Time to really use those keywords
  • Posts: Microblogging is back in again (take that, Twitter!)
  • Q&A: create your own powerful FAQs, just for GMB
  • Insights and Analytics: who, what, when, how many…understand your audience
  • Reviews: the two edge sword and how to keep it from cutting you
  • Using the GMB Mobile App: sometimes nothing else will get the job done
  • Photos and Videos: leveraging visual assets for a visual age
  • Business-Specific Offerings: Services, Products, Bookings, Menu
  • Tips Multi-Location Businesses
  • GMB Websites: A great tool, but hardly a “website”
  • Users and Access: It takes a team to make GMB succeed; here’s how to manage it
  • Duplicate Listings: Sometimes more is actually less
  • Getting Support from Google: the secrets of the temple
  • Dealing With Spam: the mosquitos of the GMB world

 

promotion image for the Google My Business Free SEO Workshop

New! A Free Google My Business Workshop from the Horizon Web Marketing Academy

All About Our Google My Business, Free SEO Workshop Training

The Short version

  • Even voice search like Google Assistant or Siri relies on Google Search, so
  • If your business is invisible in Google, it’s invisible
  • Google has every business in its database, somewhere
  • Google My Business is the tool Google has created for you to manage your business in their database
  • Google My Business is often wrong, and you need to manage your business for accuracy and success
  • Our free workshop is coming up and will help you

Already know you want to go? Here are some quick signup links

Sign up here for the Grand Junction evening workshop. Wednesday, November 13th at 7pm.
Sign up here for the Grand Junction Saturday morning workshop. Saturday, November 16th at 10am.

The Full Version

How successful will you be in a local business if no one knows about you, or if they can’t find you?
 
No business can succeed if it can’t connect with potential customers. Gone are the days when that connection came through the local Yellow Pages.
 
People look for local retailers and service providers in a bunch of different ways, but they all seem to be driven by the Internet and, usually, by Google.

Think of voice search. Someone with a clogged drain, or looking for a Japanese restaurant, or searching for the best deal on gardening equipment, are increasingly likely to speak that into their mobile phone.

“Hey Google, what’s a good plumber near me?”
“Siri, where’s the closest restaurant that serves sushi?”
“Alexa, where can I buy cheap gardening equipment?”

If someone is using Siri or Google’s voice assistant, their voice question is turned into a Google search. The Google results are then interpreted by the auditory response the questioner hears. (If they are searching on Alexa or Cortana the search is handled by Bing.)

Logo for Google Voice Assistant

Whether a person is looking for what you have to offer on their computer, by typing into their phone, or even by speaking a question to a digital voice assistant, whether you reach that customer depends on whether Google or Bing know about your business and consider it relevant to what they want.

This brings us to “Google My Business.”

Google’s goal is to index (which is another word for saying “to catalog”) every business on planet earth. They most likely have your business in their index, whether you’ve helped them or not. The management tool for refining the information that Google has about every business is called “Google My Business.”

Using Google My Business, a business owner can manage the information about their business that Google has. This is important because Google gets things wrong about businesses all the time. Wrong address, wrong phone, wrong mapping location, wrong business category, etc.

The only way that you can make sure Google’s information on your business is accurate is by checking it and making changes where you need to. You do that using Google My Business

You may already have done this…or started to! You may already know a bit about Google My Business. But did you know that there are things you can do within Google My Business that will significantly increase your chances of being seen by your ideal customer?

promotion image for the Google My Business Free SEO Workshop

This, in turn, brings us to Optimizing Google My Business, and this free workshop

The world of Google My Business is constantly changing. In fact, it changes so fast that even professionals have a hard time keeping up. For example, in my role as an SEO consultant and trainer, I spend at least an hour every day monitoring changes to Google’s methods and learning new ways of taking advantage of, or protecting my clients from, those changes.

Now you can hire me on an hourly basis, but my time is, frankly, too expensive for most small businesses. This means that most small businesses have to take responsibility for their own “SEO.” If you’re in that boat, you need to know at least enough to make sure you have your ducks in a row so that you don’t lose out to competitors.

We’ve designed the business training at the Horizon Web Marketing Academy to help people just like you succeed in doing the basics of SEO yourself — even with limited time, and limited technical knowledge — without hiring a high-priced SEO agency. In some cases, our “low cost” training is even free.

This is one of those free opportunities that really has value

The workshop we’ve designed, and that I’m blogging about right now, is not some 2-hour sales pitch. In fact, if you look at the training videos I’ve posted on Horizon’s YouTube channel, you can see that they are not heavily focused on sales (probably not focused enough on sales, between you and me).

This workshop will show you the key steps in engaging with Google My Business and optimizing your own business listing for success.

When you are done you will have the knowledge and confidence to make sure you have done right by your business and set yourself up for the visibility you deserve when people look — however they look — for what you have to offer.

Why are we doing a Free SEO Workshop like this?

It’s simple. We believe that the best customers are found when a business is generous. For us, being generous means that we share some of our knowledge and experience without charging you every time we do.

Of course, (to state the obvious) we hope that when you get acquainted with the knowledge and experience that we have to offer, you’ll be interested in our other consulting and training services. Either way, you’ll come out ahead, we promise!

Sign up here for the Grand Junction evening workshop. Wednesday, November 13th at 7pm.
Sign up here for the Grand Junction Saturday morning workshop. Saturday, November 16th at 10am.

Google Ads logo

How to Add a User to Your Google Ads Account

Don’t Share Credentials! Add a User to Google Ads the Right Way

This video how-to tutorial will walk you through the procedure for securely adding a user to your Google Ads account without having to hand out your Google sign-in credentials.

Video Transcript

Hi, this is Ross with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy. As an agency, we often will start serving clients who have a Google ads account. One of the things that we’ll do is manage their account or do an assessment of their Google ads account. If you’re watching this video, it might be that you’ve been asked by your agency to grant them access to your account. Now, often what merchants will be tempted to do is pass around their own login information. Often people who are becoming clients of Horizon will offer to give us their account information.

screen capture of tools in Google ads
You find Access in tools within your Google Ads account dashboard

Typically, we encourage clients not to pass around their own Gmail login information, so I’m going to show you the better way to be able to allow someone into your Google ads campaign, so that they can help manage that campaign. There’s two basic levels of use or access to your campaign. We’re going to run through them now real quickly. I’m at the introductory screen of a Google ads campaign, this is a demo account and I’m going to go up here to tools and settings. Notice that under tools and settings, I have a choice that’s called account access, so I’ll go ahead and click on that.

Once it comes up, we’ve got a number of choices up here. We have users, managers, and security settings. Now, the type of access that you would initiate from your ads account is to grant another user, for example, an employee, maybe a freelancer who’s working with you, another manager, to grant them access to your ads account. So we’ll start with that tab, it’s the default users. And you can add a user by clicking on the plus button up here at the top, and then it will give you a choice as to what level of access you’re going to be granting this user. It’s also going to ask you for an email address.

Now in this case, I’ve got another demo account I’m going to add access to using a Gmail address, it’s hwmadsdemo2@gmail.com. Now typically this has to be an email address that is able to log into Google. It doesn’t have to be a Gmail address, but it has to be an email address that’s tied to a Gmail address with Google. And then we’ve got email only, which is basically, that’s often for someone who just needs to see reports. Read only is for someone who needs to see everything that’s going on, but you don’t want them to change anything.

Standard allows the user to be able to make changes, and the only difference between standard and admin is an administrative user then has the rights to be able to add or delete users, managers and so forth. We’ll go ahead and select standard access for this, and then down at the lower left we’ll click send invitation. Now at this point, the person that you’ve invited, does not have access to your account until they accept the invitation. At any time, you can go up here to this actions button, if you feel like it’s been a mistake, or you’ve changed your mind, go ahead and click on revoke, and then they won’t be able to get into your account.

Let’s switch over to another screen here, and I am in the inbox for that email address. So this, if you look up here at the top right, I’m logged into hwmadsdemo2@gmail.com, and here is the email we’ve received. So the user you’re inviting, we’ll get one that looks like this and you click on it, and then it will give them a more complete message, and they can go ahead and click, accept invitation. And notice how they do want to confirm the email with one more step. So we’ll go ahead and click continue. And then it takes them over and logs them into the Google ads account with those rights that you’ve defined for them.

On your side of things, going back here to this screen we were at before, this is the account that has granted the access, now let’s go ahead and do a refresh on the screen. And notice, now we have hwmadsdemo@gmail.com, or adsdemo2@gmail.com has been added, there’s the access level, you can change that from within this interface, you can also remove access to the account. The one other category of user is managers. Now managers is a different animal. You notice when we click on managers, there is no blue plus button. There’s no way to simply add a manager. The way this is going to work is, a manager needs to request access to your account.

And in order to do that, they will need to have you provide them with this account number that I’m pointing to in the upper right hand corner. This number here 786-806-4225, just like a US phone number. And that number you provide to the agency. And now an agency has a special, what’s called a manager account, for example, at Horizon Web Marketing, we have a manager account that we use to manage different accounts for our clients. And then the agency who has requested access will use this number, and will submit it through their manager account, and then you will show in here, you will show that a specific manager account has requested access to your account, and you’ll be able to approve it from this screen.

Those are basically the two levels of access that you need to know about, if you’re collaborating with others in your Google ads account. I hope this has been useful for you. If you’ve got other questions about things I haven’t covered in this particular account, please do leave them in the comments below. We try to respond to all comments, maybe not within a day, but we get around to it. So, leave us a comment, tell us what you’d like to learn, and give us a subscribe and a thumbs up if this was useful. Again, my name is Ross Barefoot and I’m with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy, and we’ll see you next time.

YouTube logo for add managers tutorial

How to Add a Manager to Your YouTube Channel

Empowering Your YouTube SEO: Make it a Team Effort

It’s essential that you have YouTube marketing as part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Like everything else, the list of “best practices” is steadily getting longer. It’s almost impossible to put forth a full effort unless you have team members collaborating on your YouTube channel, whether it’s videographers to make the video, content creators to write and optimize descriptions and titles, or SEO assistants to take care of details like tags, captions, end screens, cards, and so forth. Don’t fall into the trap of handing out your credentials to team members. Not when there’s a much better alternative: add members of your team to your YouTube channel as managers. In this video we should you how you need to be set up, and then how to do it.

Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy. Are you trying to manage and promote your own YouTube channel? If you are, especially if you’re doing it for a business or an organization, you probably need some help. It might be another member of your team, an employee, maybe an agency partner. Whoever it is, how can you grant access without sharing your own personal YouTube login information? There is a way, and I’m going to show you how to do it, coming right up.

So the first step in this process is going to be to log into YouTube. Now the most difficult part of figuring out how to add someone to YouTube is going to be figuring out whether or not you have something called a brand channel. And typically when you set up a YouTube channel, especially if it’s an older YouTube channel, YouTube might’ve set it up under your own personal identity or you may have set it up and tied it into your organization’s brand. And that’s going to govern whether or not you can add somebody as a manager on your YouTube account. If you have a YouTube account where the channel is just under your own personal name, you’re not going to be able to add somebody else as a manager unless you tie it into a brand channel. Now, the point of this video is not to show you how to tie your channel to a brand channel.

Identifying Whether You Have a YouTube Brand Channel

For right now, we’re just going to show you how to identify whether you have a brand associated with your YouTube channel. So here I am, I’m at the YouTube login screen. The first thing that I’m going to do is I’m going to log in just with my personal identity to YouTube. All right. Now as I log in, because under my login I do manage a number of different YouTube channels, YouTube recognizes this and it’s going to ask me whether I want to log in with one of the other identities, with one of the other brand identities that I have associated with my account. In this case, I want to just illustrate to you what it looks like if you don’t have a brand channel. So I’m going to just use my own personal identity, and I don’t really use this, I don’t promote my own personal YouTube channel.

screen capture, show YouTube Studio Beta access

So basically it’ll just come up and it’ll look like this. And the first step that I want to do is go up to the top right, click on the little round circle, and then notice how it’ll give me a number of choices here. And one of those choices is YouTube Studio beta. Depending on how you’ve been using YouTube, it might say Creator Studio. Right now as of summer of 2019, YouTube is in this long-drawn, multi year process of switching over from their original management suite called Creator Studio over to their new management tool, which is called YouTube Studio. Let’s go ahead and select YouTube Studio, and I’ll show you basically, and you can’t still do everything on YouTube Studio that you could in Creator studio. And so Google gives you down here at the lower left an option, Creator Studio classic. And then you can go into Creator Studio Classic.

Right now you can’t do what I’m about to show you in YouTube Studio. So you’re going to have to switch back to Creator Studio Classic. If you’re viewing this a year from now, like in 2020 or 2021, might’ve switched a little bit, but bare with me on this. Who knows how long it’ll be that Google is going to force you to go to their older suite, Creator Studio Classic. And I’ve done that right now. I’ve gone to Creator Studio Classic. Once I’ve done that, when I click on my icon up here in the top right, notice how it switches to Creator Studio, and next to creator studio is this little gear called YouTube Settings, and I’m going to click on that.

You can get to settings from YouTube Studio Beta, but it doesn’t offer you the same choices. Once I’m in settings, I’m going to drop down here and I’m going to look at advanced settings and click on that. Now it’ll say at the top, “Set up YouTube exactly how you want it,” and then notice down here as I go under account information. Do you see where it says move channel to brand account? All right. This is the way I identify that, with my under my login, Ross barefoot, I don’t have my channel associated with a brand account. And so I’m not going to be able to add a separate manager to my YouTube channel.

Screen capture of YouTube Creator Studio Classic advanced settings
If YouTube offers to move your channel to a Brand Account, you don’t have a brand channel.

This is also the beginning of the process if you want to associate your YouTube account, your YouTube channel, with a brand account. And again as I mentioned before, that’s a different process so we’re not going to get sidetracked with that. I’m going to jump over here to another browser window, and here again at the YouTube log in screen. Now in this case I’ve logged in, and I’ve logged in under a brand account, Horizon Web Marketing. Now I’ve got the same choice, YouTube Studio beta. I’m going to do the same process. Click on that.

And then I’ll drop down the lower left and click on Creator Studio Classic. And now I’m going to go back up to the top right, go to Creator Studio and click on the gear icon. I’m back at the same screen here, which is my general account settings. I’m going to drop down again to advanced settings. Now here it’s going to look a little different. Notice what it tells me. You’re a manager of this channel and the connected brand account. If this is what you’re seeing, then you do have your YouTube channel associated with a brand account and you can add a manager.

So let’s go ahead and add a manager to this account. Somebody who can help out, managing posting videos and so forth. So I’ll click back up here on account. And because I’ve got a brand account, I have an additional choice here called managers. Let me go back to the personal account just to contrast that. I’ll click on account and notice how it does not have anything about managers here. It just gives me a choice to fool with my account settings.

To Add Other Managers to Your Brand (YouTube) Account, You Need to be the Owner

So at this point I’m going to click on add, remove managers, and now it will come up with this brand account details page. Once I’m at this page, you’ll see this choice up here that says users and it says change roles, invite, and remove users. Now I’m about to show you another gotcha that YouTube has built into their platform which makes it so much fun. And I’m saying that sarcastically. And that is you go over here and click on manage permissions, and I’m supposed to invite, add users, so forth. And I look and I have a list of users and I can’t do anything with any of these users.

Sorry managers, you only get to mess with permissions if you are the primary owner on the account.

What’s going on here? Google told me I could add or remove users. It turns out the only user I can do anything with is myself. I’m logged in as Horizon Web Marketing. I can remove myself as a manager. Well, why is it that it’s not giving me those choices? Here’s where YouTube is really cryptic. They don’t tell you the reason you don’t have the choices they promised you is because I’m not logged in as the primary owner, Carolyn Renaud of Horizon Web Marketing is the primary owner.

Let’s, if you reach this point, you’re going to have to then talk to the primary owner of the brand channel in order to get it done. Let’s go and take a look at what this looks like if I’m logged in as the primary owner. Here, I’m logged into one of the many accounts that I maintain in order to do my job. In this case, it’s my account, but I’m also in a channel called Rocky Mountain S.E.A. That’s a channel I don’t use any more. Rocky Mountain Search Engine Academy. Notice in this case, I am listed as the primary owner. Now what I see up here at the top right is a little button to invite new users. I can click on that and I add an email address and I select a role.

So for example, if I add test@gmail.com, then I can say, okay, what’s the role? Is it going to be owner, manager, communications manager? Now each of these has a different set of privileges from the most privileged, owner can do just about anything, manager can do almost anything, communications manager has a very limited set of options of what they can do. Things like post new videos and so forth. And you can invite more than one person at one time.

And once you’ve assigned a role, we’re going to say communications manager for the purpose of this illustration, I’m going to go ahead and click invite. That invitation is going to go out to whoever has that Gmail account. I’d hate to have that Gmail account, I bed I’d get a lot of this type of stuff. Now if you’ve invited somebody and you choose, and you have second thoughts, or you don’t need them on the account anymore, you can click remove. And here I’m going to go ahead and revoke the invitation. So those are two different situations. Someone who’s already on the account and just an invitation that’s gone out there. And once I’ve done that, then I’m done adding somebody as a user.

So that’s basically the process. As you can see from the demo, the primary thing here is it’s not that hard to add somebody as a manager user to your account. The primary challenge is just navigating your way through the options. You’ve got to make sure, one, that you have a brand account that you’re working with that is associated with your YouTube channel. So if your YouTube channel is associated with a brand account, you can manage, you can invite users, and so forth. And if it’s just your own personal YouTube channel, you’re not going to be able to do that.

Second thing is you have to be the primary owner on that brand account in order to be able to invite users. So as long as you got those two ducks in a row, you should be good with this and I hope it’s been helpful to you. I’m Ross Barefoot, thanks for watching, and please give us a subscribe if you found this useful.

Again, if you liked this video and found it useful, give it a thumbs up and subscribe. That lets YouTube know that it’s valuable content for other users as well. If you’re looking for some tips on using YouTube to promote your business, check out our video optimization course on YouTube. Now we discuss everything from keyword research for YouTube all the way through to special tools like cards and the end screens. We’ll tell you about YouTube ranking factors and how to figure out whether your videos are hitting the mark with your audience. I’ll drop a link to that course in the description below. That’s it, so bye for now.