We tell you all the time how important reviews are for your business, but what happens when your business falls into an industry that doesn’t allow reviews on Google? It may be hard to wrap your head around, but it’s not the end of the world.
It can be challenging, but not impossible to gain reviews on other platforms.
In early November 2019, this became a reality for academic schools, including preschools and kindergarten programs. Google announced these types of business listings were not eligible to receive or display Google reviews moving forward.
Let’s talk more about this change and what you can do if this happens to your business.
Understanding Google’s New Review Policy for Schools
With this recent review policy change from Google, it’s not affecting all businesses in the education industry. The change mostly impacts academic schools, while tutoring centers, daycares and businesses that offer skill-based classes (think a painting class) haven’t been affected.
It is important that you don't try to change your business category as a way to avoid this change! That will likely just cause you to not show up at all.
As of mid-November, this policy change hasn’t been completely rolled out and there isn’t a set timeline for completion. If you own a business that this review policy change impacts and you aren’t seeing reviews, it’s most likely the change has gone into effect for your business listing.
Keep in mind that policy changes happen because we want to keep a business’s best interest top of mind.
Can I Still Gain Reviews for My Business?
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to obtain reviews for your education business, don’t fear! There are still plenty of other platforms people can use to leave reviews.
Facebook is a great place for consumers to leave and read reviews. With over 2.41 billion users on Facebook, it’s just as easy for someone to open their Facebook app and visit your page as it is to view your business listing on Google (it may actually be easier).
Facebook is also one of the first things that appear in a Google search, so your reviews still have great visibility.
Word of mouth reviews are important, too! Think outside of the box when it comes to your business. How can you spread the word of your business without using the internet? Perhaps a referral program, traditional marketing, etc. Nothing is off the table!
At RevLocal, we utilize Renown, a review management platform to help you build and maintain your online reputation.
With 97 percent of consumers reading online reviews before making a purchase, you can’t afford to ignore your reviews or any policy changes that may affect your online presence.
Renown will help you generate more reviews and effectively manage any bad reviews.
Policy changes can be challenging, but this is why it’s so important to have a digital marketing strategy in place. If you have a solid online presence by utilizing local search, paid advertising and social media, a bump in the road for review marketing won’t have as big of an impact.
After a policy change goes into effect, it’s vital that you adjust your digital marketing strategy to fit your business’s new needs.
When you work with the team at RevLocal, we have your digital marketing handled. Our industry experts stay on top of the latest changes and will make suggestions to your strategy based on best practices.
If you’re a current RevLocal client and have questions about the review policy change for the education industry, please reach out to your marketing strategist. If you need help with your marketing strategy, click here to request time with a marketing expert.
Learn more about the importance of reviews by checking out some of our other resources:
This post was created in collaboration with Zac Herr, RevLocal's Local Search and Renown Manager.