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The Number One Way To Stand Out in Search Results

John JantschJohn Jantsch

There’s no doubt you need your small business to stand out in online searches. Customers are turning online to find and compare local businesses, and many will make a decision just from the search results page. High ranking is important, but high quality reviews can differentiate your business even if you aren’t able to achieve the top rank.

While you may already have all your content marketing elements covered, the power of positive customer reviews cannot be underestimated. You simply must get proactive in the customer review game.

The Google Snack Pack

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Since the 2012 update of Google’s Venice, organic search results have become simplified to give users information on nearby businesses, places and services.

One of the main objectives of the update was to remove the over reliance of location based modifiers as part of a search query. Google now uses geo-tagging on your mobile device to find your location and give you nearby results.

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For each of those nearby results, Google tries to give users all of the information it can: phone number, hours, location and, of course, review scores. They have combined these results into a small box called the snack pack. It lists the top 3 (more or less depending on the search and competition) local results.

Here is an example of the Google Snack Pack for my business – Which of these listings stands out to you?

GoogleMaps

Customer reviews are the best way to stand out in the Google Snack Pack – and actively seeking quality reviews is a great way to quickly improve your search position.

Where Should Customers Leave Reviews?

Promoting customers to leave reviews about your small business on your Google+ Local page should be a number one priority. These reviews are the first counted for your Google Snack Pack.

Aim to make it easy for customers to leave reviews. If you already have a database of email addresses, seek out customers with Gmail accounts and point them in the direction of your Google+ page. Reviews that are left by people with active user accounts and Google+ profiles appear more authoritative.

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It’s also beneficial to your business for people to leave reviews on various online business listings and even social hubs. Sites like Foursquare, Yelp and Trip Advisor that have a varied and active community are the forefront of searches, but they won’t get counted on the Snack Pack. Don’t worry, though, if your review page on Yelp is very popular, it will show up highly for customers wanting to do a little more research.

When asking for reviews, be sure to give your customers as much autonomy as possible. You don’t want to force them to use a site that they aren’t comfortable using. Let them choose the site and their own words, and they’ll give you a better review.

Earn Those Reviews

Marketing is all about making your business stand out from your competitors. Gathering positive Google Plus reviews is the #1 way to stand out in a market that relies heavily on local search.

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and best selling author Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine. His blog was chosen as a Forbes favorite for marketing and small business and his podcast, a top ten marketing show on iTunes was called a “must listen” by Fast Company magazine.

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