It's long been known that what customers have to say about your business carries more weight than what you have to say about your business, no matter how great your services or how genuine your messaging may be. And knowing how much value consumers place into customer reviews, Google has factored them into its local ranking algorithm—not just the quantity, but the quality of those reviews.
So Google reviews impact your ability to acquire new customers not only through your reputation but also through your rank. And that's why we're going to cover 16 effective strategies you can put into place to get a steady stream of positive Google reviews coming in about your business. We'll cover:
So if you're looking to boost your reputation, rank, and ultimately your revenue, keep reading for these Google review pro tips.
A Google review may be a quick and simple process, but the benefits are ongoing. The more people you can get to leave a Google review for your business, the more you’ll be able to accomplish in the way of business objectives. If you’re not yet placing emphasis on Google business reviews, now’s the time to change that and prioritize it in your local marketing strategy. Here are some facts and online review stats to back this up:
A very important thing to note here is that in order to get Google reviews, a few things need to be in place:
The steps to create a Google Maps listing and verify it through Google My Business are here.
These steps are crucial because not only are they prerequisites to the strategies below, but they also allow you to respond to and manage the reviews you'll be getting once you've implemented the tactics in this post!
Alright, now that you know the impact of Google reviews on your reputation and ranking, and have the verified Business Profile through which to manage them, it's time to get more of 'em. These 17 strategies below will help you to do just that.
It takes about a minute for a customer to write a Google review. Easy enough, right? Well, there's a process to get there. The customer has to:
Customer: You have been amazing. How can I leave you a review?
Would you rather have to say:
A Google review would be great! Just search for us on Google Maps and when you pull up our listing, scroll down to the review section and there will be a button there to write a review.
A Google review would be great! Just go to our website and there's a link right there to do it.
Your customer has to go online to write the review, regardless, so create a review shortcut link and put it on your website.
Go to your Google My Business account, click the Home tab, and find the "Get your first review" (or "Get more reviews") card. Click "Share review form" and copy the link to your clipboard.
You'll see this:
Now you can use that link to have a review call to action on your website that takes customers right to the review form in one step.
For your website and other online methods of asking for reviews, this Google review shortcut link is perfect. But what about offline methods? Customize the link so that you can put it on business cards, flyers, brochures, and the like. With bitly.com, you can shorten and customize your review link.
Okay, now that you've got a nice and clean review shortcut link, it's time to look at various ways to present this link to customers to get more Google reviews for your local business.
If a customer wants to leave a review for your business, the first place they're probably going to look is your website. Provide a clear and clutter-free call to action that is intuitively easy to find, as with the example below:
In this example, clicking on "here" takes the user directly to the review section of the home inspector's Google Business Profile which lives in the SERP.
While the above method works, an even better one is to dedicate a full website page to Google reviews (or reviews in general), accessible from your main navigation menu. The page should contain both a CTA to write a review but also include existing reviews. These not only encourage prospects to become a customer, but also give that added inspiration for an existing customer to leave a review.
You can populate your reviews page via screenshots, but ideally, you want them to be in text form. The reason for this is that reviews are often keyword-rich, so including them on your website in a way that Google's crawlers can "read" makes for a great small business SEO strategy.
That being said, you may want to come up with a template where you can copy and paste the text in. There are also platforms and plug-ins that allow you to aggregate your Google reviews onto your website automatically.
In addition to a designated reviews page on your website, you may also want to include it in your website footer. The below example uses icons, but anchor text will do just fine.
This is an offline method of getting more Google reviews, for which your shortcut link from #3 comes in handy. Have physical cards made up that says something to the effect of:
"Review Us on Google! Your Google review helps others who need our services to find our business. Plus, your feedback equips us to continue serving you best. Take a minute to rate and review us at bit.ly/WordStreamreview. Thank you!"
Having a good conversation with a customer in your store? Just finished a solid support call in which the customer felt eternally grateful? In your interactions with clients, there are many opportunities to ask for Google reviews. Here are some scenarios and examples of asking for reviews:
And then you have that compact little card that has the link on it, or a link to your review page on your website that makes it easy peasy for them.
So by now, you know how easy it is to leave a Google review, but your customers may not. Plus, review writer's block is a thing. An exuberant or long-time customer may have a hard time distilling everything they love about your business into one review. And then there are those who have a hard time articulating what's on their mind. So when you're encouraging a review, it might be helpful to:
Whether via personalized messages or a larger blanket campaign, email marketing is another effective way to get more Google business reviews. Just be clear in your ask—don’t try to sugar coat it, beat around the bush, or coerce customers into leaving a review. There’s nothing wrong with asking them to do something that will help other future customers make informed decisions. Plus, when you have happy customers, you’d be surprised at how willing they are to write a review. As long as the process is clear and you make it fast and easy to do, you're likely to get warm responses to your request.
Fact: 86% of consumers are willing to write a review.
Asking your customers for their feedback lets them know that you value what they have to say and have their best interests in mind. If you've gotten someone to fill out a poll or survey, they're already in the proper mindset. See if you can take advantage of their momentum by asking them to review your business on Google while they're at it.
Social media platforms are great for conversational marketing and transparency. Post a screenshot of your best review and ask your customers to leave their own feedback (including your clean and simple Google review shortcut link). Remind your followers that this is an opportunity for them to introduce someone else just like them to the benefits they experience from working with your business.
Platforms like Facebook have their own review system, so keep this in mind when reaching out in this regard.
Vendors and partners may not be customers, but they can attest to what it's like to work with you on a regular basis. They also might be more willing to leave a Google business review if you write one for their business first.
When you respond to your customers’ Google reviews, you are letting new potential reviewers know that you listen to customer feedback and that it’s worth their time to write their own review. There are two ways in which responding to reviews can get you more reviews.
Among consumers that read reviews, 97% read businesses’ responses to reviews.
Even with a shortcut link, some customers might still be more likely to write a review if they see what the process looks like. In this case, creating a quick video on how to leave a Google review for your business may be just what you need. And with today's tools and technology, DIY at-home marketing videos are easier than ever. Here's an example from a home security supplier:
Adding a link to review your business on Google in your email signature is a great way to ask for more Google reviews without actually asking! Something like:
This can be particularly effective if you communicate on a daily basis with clients via email.
Coming up with the words to actually ask for a Google review can sometimes be hard, so here are some basic phrases you can use for starting points or inspiration:
While your shortcut link turns writing Google reviews into a one-step process, it's still good to know the steps just to have all of your bases covered. Plus, you may want to leave reviews for other local businesses in your community that may not have the shortcut link. So here's how to do it:
Alternatively, you can click on the star rating directly below the business’s listing title. This will take you directly to the review pane, which has an option to write a review.
For either of these methods, you will be asked to rate the business from one to five stars. You can add comments or even images of the location and offerings (provided they abide by Google's review posting guidelines). Then, to publish, you'll simply need to click “Post.”
The fact is, consumers trust what other consumers have to say. In fact, many people feel that reviews posted by strangers are just as reliable as personal recommendations. Use that to your advantage. Make a habit of asking your customers to review your business on Google. As long as you make it as easy as possible to do, you are likely to get more Google business reviews showing up on your listing and therefore reaping all of the ranking, reputation, and revenue benefits it has to offer. To sum it all up, here are the 16 strategies: