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Sep 11, 2022

Google Reviews – Why They Matter and How to Get Them

AUTHOR
author

Nicholas Rubright

EDITOR
author

Nathan Winfrey

Now more than ever, it’s important for businesses to get Google reviews. Local buyers are turning to online reviews for information from their online peers about who they can trust.

In this article, we’ll cover why Google reviews are important and some ways to get ones that drive powerful results for your business online.

Why do Google reviews matter?

Here are a few reasons why Google reviews are so important for local businesses.

1. Reviews increase trust and drive online conversions

A local SEO survey shows that 81% of consumers have used Google to read reviews about a business in the last 12 months.

This same survey also shows that for most consumers reviews are an extremely important part of making a purchasing decision.

Consumers usually trust these reviews, too.

It’s clear that:

  1. Google’s reviews are more visible than those of any other platform, primarily because of their local search dominance.
  2. Consumers use online reviews to make local purchasing decisions.
  3. Consumers consider online reviews important and trustworthy enough to take the next step.

So if you want more website visits, “get direction” requests, or calls from your Google Business Profile, getting more reviews will help.

2. Your business will be found more frequently on Google

If you’re looking to get your business found on Google, reviews are one of the biggest drivers of this.

(Source)

While you’ll usually show up for searches for your specific business name, reviews are especially important when we’re talking about non-branded searches. For example, “pet store near me” or “Tampa eye doctor.”

This is because Google reviews are a local SEO ranking factor, meaning Google uses them as evidence of trust and authority in your local market.

On a high level, there are a few other things related to reviews that may impact search engine rankings, such as:

  • Recency – Are the reviews from recent dates, or are they old and outdated when compared to reviews on other listings?
  • Velocity – How frequently is a business receiving new reviews vs. other listings?
  • Diversity – Does the business have reviews on other platforms relevant to their industry?
  • Authority – Reviews from professional reviewers or members of programs like Google’s Local Guides might carry more weight than a first-time review from a “random” member of the public.
  • Format – Text-based reviews have more impact than textless star ratings. Especially if they contain a keyword related to the user’s search query.

For a more detailed look, here are the review-based ranking factors associated with a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business).

(Source)

In the details below about how to get Google reviews, we’ll help you get reviews that take care of all of these factors naturally.

3. You get real feedback from your customers

When you start getting reviews from customers, it’s likely you’ll get some that you think are harsh or unjustified. It’s unfortunate, but review sites can become a place for angry customers to vent about a bad experience without a filter.

In these cases, make sure you respond politely to the review with an aim to help address the situation. When it’s addressed, examine the situation with that customer to see if you need to make changes to your business so this doesn’t happen again.

Sometimes, you just need to adapt the small things. For example, when we sell our local SEO services we require a consultation before we close with a client because the product is too complicated to let them buy it on their own through our website. This helps us avoid working with clients who might be unhappy with our work anyway.

Before you can get reviews…

In order to get Google reviews for your Google Business Profile, a few things need to be in place:

  • You need to know Google’s policies when soliciting reviews. So don’t offer any rewards in exchange for reviews, for example.
  • You need a Google Business Profile. This will automatically add your business to Google Maps, which is where your customers can leave their reviews.
  • Your Google Business Profile needs to be verified.

These steps aren’t just prerequisites to the strategies below, but you’ll also be able to respond to and manage the influx of reviews you’ll be getting once you implement them!

How do you leave a review on Google reviews?

Before you ask your customers to leave reviews, it’s a good idea to know the process in case they need help.

To help you understand the process your customers would work through, here’s how to leave a review of a business on Google Maps.

First, go to Google Maps and search for the business.

Next, scroll down to the reviews section of the profile and click the “Write a review” button.

Finally, they’ll be able to write a review with the option to add an image.

That’s it! Now that you know the process, be sure to show this to everyone on your team so they can all explain it clearly and briefly to your customers.

If the above seems like too many steps to send your customers through, you can create a link that goes directly to the popup step.

First, go to the “Info” section of your Google Business Profile and look for the “Share review form” button.

You’ll see a popup like this with your review link in it:

Next, use a URL shortener like TinyURL.com to create a shorter version of the URL. This will let you use the shorter version URL in places where there are character limits, like text messages or Twitter posts, so that it takes up less space.

If you want a branded URL, just sign up for their plan. This might be worth considering if you’re automating your review requests as potential customers might be put off by odd-looking URLs.

5 ways to get more Google reviews

1. Get reviews from vendors and business partners

Vendors and business partners are the easiest source of Google reviews. They may not be customers, but they do have an idea of what it’s like to do business with you and they can write to that.

I’d suggest sending them an email like this:

You can also customize the last sentence with a specific offer that you know is worth something to them. For example, if they have a Google Business Profile as well, offer to write a review for them!

This doesn’t scale very much, but it’s great for getting some initial reviews if you have a new profile.

2. Ask for reviews on social media

Social media is great for transparent communication. Rather than letting awesome reviews go unnoticed, some businesses share them on social media as a way to encourage others to leave reviews. This is a great way to leverage the power of social proof to encourage more of your followers to leave reviews for your business.

Plus, they’ll like knowing that you actually see the reviews they’re leaving for you. After all, if you’re going to leave a review full of praise for a business, wouldn’t you want the entrepreneur or owner to see it?

For this strategy, you can use the Google Business Profile Marketing Kit. Just search for your business and you’ll find auto-generated social media images that use your existing Google Business Profile reviews, like these:

Just share one of these with a simple call to action and your review link. A simple, one-sentence request like “How was your experience? Let us know on Google!” with a link is enough.

Depending on your relationship with your customers, you can also ask directly, like this:

The way you ask and what you say depends on the type of business you have, who your customers are, and the type of platform you’re posting on. So be sure to take all of these things into consideration when creating your post.

3. Ask customers for reviews in person

Asking for reviews in person can be intimidating, but it’s the most effective way to get reviews. So if you see a chance, take it!

The best time to do this is when a customer is praising you with positive feedback. The conversation might go something like this:

  • Customer: *Praise*
  • You: Oh thanks so much! It’s so great to hear this kind of feedback. You know, if you could write what you just said in a review on Google, that would be awesome. They really help our customers understand what we do. Would you be willing to do that?
  • Customer: Sure!
  • You: Cool! Mind if I send you a link?

If you want, you can also close the discussion with “Want me to show you how?” if you want to be more proactive in your approach.

If you want to expand on this, you can create opportunities to ask for reviews within your conversation by asking your customers for feedback about their experience. This opens up the opportunity to receive feedback and ask for reviews with the conversation flow above.

Whatever your approach, make sure you get a good read on the customer. Don’t push customers into leaving a bad review by being too pushy. If you’re going to ask a second time, do so once.

4. Ask customers for reviews via email

Many businesses send automated emails that look like they were blasted out to their customers, but I like to take a personal approach.

Here’s an email template you can use to ask for reviews from your customers via email:

You may need to adapt this template depending on your type of business, but hopefully this gives you a good starting point!

When writing review outreach emails, I like to close with an ask that they include lots of details about things related to what we did with the customer. This results in informative reviews that are filled with keywords, which helps your Google Business Profile rank higher in Google’s search results.

In cases where you don’t have the time to write emails to all of your customers, you can automate this with trigger emails based on purchase activity, booking activity, or even website behavior signals.

For example, when restaurants set up Reserve with Google, a feature Google released that allows their users to book reservations, trigger emails are automatically sent after the visit to request reviews.

Platforms like OpenTable use trigger emails to encourage their users to leave reviews, too:

There are lots of approaches you can take to leveraging email for review requests. Generally, if you have a high number of customers, automation is fine. But if you have very few customers, you’ll have more success reaching out individually with more personalized emails.

This is because of the potential for social feedback to influence their decision. Since you’re likely to know about the review, they’re more likely to leave the review.

5. Ask customers for reviews via text

If you communicate with your customers via text messages, asking them for a review this way can work.

Automated SMS requests can work at scale if you have a large number of customers, similar to email, but personalized requests or in-conversation requests make the most sense when texting.

Don’t complicate the request. Just communicate what you want and why you want it. Most customers, especially if they’re happy, are happy to help.

Conclusion

After reading all of this, you should have a solid list of ideas to get reviews from your customers for your business.

If you’re looking for ways to get reviews outside of your customer base, or even buy reviews, this isn’t something we can ethically cover because it’s illegal. And the FTC is cracking down on it.

If you need help getting more reviews and want the above all managed for you, check out our local SEO services!

Otherwise, if we missed anything, let us know in the comments below. 👇


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