Google Local’s Negative Impact on Small Businesses – What Can You Do as a Business Owner?

Local listings are extremely important for most small businesses who are trying to get noticed and to attract more local customers. The problem, however, is that Google+ Local, one of the world’s leading services that allow people to post reviews of businesses in their area, has often fallen short of the quality that most people attribute to Google products and services.

As a result, numerous companies are at a loss about what to do in order to deal with the damage caused by the lingering negative reviews, confusing listing data, the bugs in the online program and various other difficulties that tend to come up.

Google Local – Not a Good Solution for Listing Management

Many small business owners who tried to use Google Local for business listing management have been extremely disappointed with the results. The non-functioning dashboard, the lack of support regarding listing data management and the limited rules that apply to business listings all point to the fact that Google Local is simply unreliable when it comes to helping businesses with their marketing strategies.

The future is extremely uncertain regarding Google’s plans. It is yet unclear as to whether the local management environment or the dashboard will be the interface preferred in future updates. This often leaves business owners guessing, and the odds at stake are not to be ignored. According to a Harvard study, a single bad review can cost up to 9 % of a business’ revenue in some cases, and, with all the issues Google has been having, you can never be sure about how many of your negative reviews will stick and how many positive reviews will remain visible.

Whether it is merely a problem of execution, underfunding or the fact that the project is simply too big and complicated for regular maintenance to be supported properly is unclear. However, what is clear is that, as the major part of many businesses’ marketing plan, Google Local has disappointed, and as a consequence to this, a lot of companies find themselves in a position where new strategies are called for.

Adopting a New Strategy

Perhaps the best decision to take when you find yourself in a situation like this would be to adopt a new strategy that would counteract the negative feedback and improve your business’ online reputation. Here are a few important steps you could consider:

  • The first one would be to build up positive reviews on various other review sites. It doesn’t necessarily matter if they’re new or old, but they should generally be sites that rank as high as possible in Google.
  • Every business should monitor both the positive and negative feedback coming from customers and be ready to do some damage control when bad reviews arise.
  • Articles, quality blog posts, press releases, videos and other types of content are very important if you want to rank higher in search results and gain more popularity. Positive content will help you push down some of the bad reviews that may have previously been associated with your business.
  • Lastly, business owners should consider hiring the services of a reputation management company, such as Spotless Rep. The job of such companies is to monitor your online reputation on search engines, review sites and other important places, helping you gain all the insight you need about what the bigger picture looks like for you and your online rivals.

It may not be a simple task to adopt another strategy, but all in all, as a business owner, you may have no other choice. Online reputation is more and more of an influencing factor for local companies’ profits each day, and if you don’t want to lose a lot of customers just because of a few bad reviews, this is without a doubt the best course of action.