How To Get Google Reviews
Content is king and your business’ online reviews matter. Now more than ever, it’s important for businesses to get Google reviews. That’s because customers want detailed first-hand information from their online peers, whom they trust, to help them make decisions and become informed about the customer experience.
Let’s talk a little more about Google reviews! We’ll cover:
- Why Google reviews are important (the benefits of getting reviewed)
- How Google reviews help with rankings
- How to get more Google reviews for your business
- A few simple how-tos on leaving and deleting Google reviews
- All about Google Business Profile
How Does a Google Review Work?
Google reviews are pretty self explanatory—they allow customers to publicly post a review on Google about their experience with a business. Google reviews are an integrated feature within Google My Business and Google Maps.
Think of Google reviews as the modern-day word-of-mouth. They provide social proof and influence purchase decisions.
Why Are Google Reviews Important?
Google reviews can be a game changer for your business. Why? Here are three reasons why Google reviews are so important.
1. Google Reviews Improve Local Search Ranking
One of the biggest benefits online reviews bring to your business is a boost in local search ranking. Knowing how to improve local SEO is important because if customers can’t even find your business when they’re actively searching, how can they possibly make a purchase from you?
Having Google reviews helps with rankings and revenue. Online reviews on your Google Maps listing help your business stand out from the crowd. That’s how you make an impact. More importantly, it means your business is highlighting the fact that you offer a great service or product, and that customers love you.
2. Google Reviews Increase Trust and Credibility
This might sound strange, but a vast majority of 18-34 year olds (91% to be exact) trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends. That is, they do as long as the reviews meet certain criteria like (1) authenticity, (2) being in the right industry, and (3) having multiple reviews on the same site.
Because Google is one of the most used and trusted search engines, people are willing to give that same trust and credibility to Google reviews that they give to reviews from trusted peers.
3. Google Reviews Influence Purchase Decisions
Online Google reviews can be just what a consumer needs to push them from consideration to purchase. A lot of times when consumers are reading Google reviews, they are looking for confirmation that they are making the right decision.
Positive online reviews can give just the validation consumers are looking for when making a choice. However, the opposite can also be true. If your business has a low star rating or a lot of recent negative Google reviews, customers could be pushed toward the competition instead. In fact, Podium found that “3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would consider engaging with.”
Do Google Reviews Help with Rankings?
Yes! Google reviews can really help with rankings because they give businesses a big credibility boost by:
- Influencing brand trust
- Increasing online exposure
- Driving local SEO
- Providing essential feedback
- Improving click-through rates
- Converting more customers
The bottom line is, utilizing Google reviews is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business.
The Advantages of Google Reviews
As you can tell, Google reviews are important and can really help you rank. Here are another five advantages of Google reviews:
- They increase brand trust. Consumers crave transparency and read fellow customer reviews in order to get it.
- They expand your online exposure and local SEO. Since Google’s algorithm is driven by successful marketing tactics, businesses with multiple reviews show up first in local searches.
- They help you gain a successful feedback loop and pertinent customer intelligence. Each Google review will tell you what you’re doing wrong, how you can improve, and what your customers expect.
- They improve click-through rates. It’s vital to get customers to click on your link and a good collection of positive reviews entices people to do just that.
- They convert more customers. Obviously, a customer is more likely to make a purchase if they find themselves on your site. So, advertising your Google rating on your site will often seal the deal.
How Do You Get More Google Reviews?
Hopefully by now you realize the importance of collecting more Google reviews, but you might be wondering how to get started. Below is a step-by-step process for setting up your Google Business Profile and optimizing it to collect online reviews.
Step 1: Claim Ownership of a Business
The first thing you need to do is claim your Google business listing, which will allow you to update it with correct information and make it stand out from the competition. This is done by using Google Business Profile as explained in detail below.
Step 2: Make Your Listing Look Good and Stand Out
Once you have the ability to update your listing, you should put in the effort to make sure it’s attractive and filled with relevant information that will entice searchers to click on your listing. Since Google reviews help to make your listing stand out and bring real customer feelings to the forefront, at the very minimum you should do the following:
- Add relevant information about your business. When you fill out your business description, it should include all the information about your business that customers might find relevant. You can include keywords, but make sure you don’t use this field as an opportunity to stuff keywords. Oftentimes, Google views this as spam and your local search ranking could suffer as a result.
- Include up-to-date hours of operations. One piece of information customers are looking for when they Google your business is whether or not you are currently open. Because of this, you should take the time to update your hours of operation whenever a change occurs. It is also important to include any variations, for example, if you have special holiday hours.
- Upload high-resolution photos. One thing many businesses neglect to do is upload enough photos to make their listing stand out among the competition. Pictures on your Google Business Profile help tell a visual story about what it’s like to do business with you and will help you garner more interactions with online searchers as well. Google has found that listings that feature photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions from Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to a business’ website.
Step 3: Use a Good Online Review Management Platform
Once your business listing is claimed and you’ve taken the time to optimize it, now it’s time to start collecting Google reviews, which you don’t have to just wait around for. You should make a proactive effort to ask all of your customers to write a Google review of your business.
Do you know that 77% of consumers say they are willing to leave a business review, but only 10% actually do nearly all the time? One of the main reasons for this is that customers want to leave a review, but the process can be difficult and cumbersome. They don’t know where to leave a review or there are too many steps to take, and they ultimately bail. On the other hand, as many as 76% of consumers will leave a review after being asked to do so.
To make it easier for your customers, you need to make the process as frictionless as possible. This can be accomplished by implementing an online review management platform that streamlines the invitation process and makes it ridiculously easy for your employees to invite customers and for your customers to leave reviews.
A good online review management platform utilizes text messages as the primary channel for invitations. Doing this results in a significantly higher response rate and enables you to collect more Google reviews than traditional email-based platforms.
Step 4: Get More Google Reviews
Implementing an online review management platform is a good place to start, but if you really want to see the online reviews roll in you should consider doing the following:
- Determine the right timing of the invitation. In our experience, the best time to ask for a review is when there’s some downtime in the sales process. For example, in the auto industry, a good time might be after the sale is completed and the customer is waiting in finance. Your customer is just sitting there anyway, so why not ask them to leave a review and walk them through the process?
- Set the expectation for the review. After you’ve determined the right time to invite the customer, now you can start setting expectations for what you want them to do. When setting expectations, you should let the customer know:
- Why online reviews are important for your business
- How they will be receiving the invite (text or email)
- When they will be receiving the invite
- Eliminate barriers. The harder it is for customers to leave reviews, the less likely they will leave one. That’s why you need to make it as easy as possible, and if you’ve implemented an online review management platform as mentioned previously, you’re headed in the right direction.
Google Business Profile
Google’s business directory tool, Google Business Profile, is a free platform that you definitely need for getting your business to show up in searches for local customers who are trying to find you.
To get started, there are seven simple steps to complete:
- Log in to your business’ Google account.
- Visit Google Business Profile and click Manage Now.
- Enter your business name.
- Enter your business address and service area.
- Select the appropriate category for your business.
- Enter your business’s contact info.
- Verify your business.
Google Business Profile Benefits and Reviews
Why does Google Business Profile still matter? By optimizing your Google Business Profile, you’ll gain the following benefits and many more positive reviews:
- Allow your business to appear on Google Search and Google Maps
- Feature your business name, location, and hours
- Provide a way to manage how your business appears, including by adding photos and videos
- Allow for monitoring and replying to your customer questions and reviews
- Get insights on how and where people are searching for and interacting with your business
- Share updates about your business
- Schedule and manage customer appointments with a simple click
- Disseminate consistent and accurate information about your business, even with third-party sites
- And much more
Google Merchant Centers Benefits and Reviews
Google Merchant Center (GMC) is a retail solution for uploading your store, brand, and product data to Google Shopping. To offer a seamless process for both businesses and shoppers, GMC integrates with:
- Google Business Profile
- Google Express
- Google Adwords
- Google Analytics
Google Merchant Centers benefits include:
- Having more opportunities for capturing helpful customer reviews
- Being able to keep your feed accurate, complete, and updated with detailed data
- Using high-quality, impressive product images to build your brand
- Matching your ad’s product info to your landing pages
- Seeing your customers’ journey to identify ways you can make the process more seamless
Google Local Services Ads Benefits and Reviews
When it comes to Google Local Services Ads benefits and reviews, they are quite a few. This pay-per-lead ad unit is designed for licensed and insured service providers, such as plumbers and general contractors. Google gives priority to the businesses who can pass background checks and are trusted by local customers (via Google reviews).
Local Services Ads are beneficial because you only pay when a customer contacts you as a result of the ad, and you have the option to get the Google Guarantee indicator.
Setting Up Google Click-to-Message
Google Click-to-Message is the option to give customers the ability to message your business directly from your Google business listing. This is a great feature, but you should remember the basic rules for text messaging customers:
- Put an emphasis on quick response times
- Never ask for credit card numbers, banking info, social security numbers, or any other sensitive information
- After a matter is resolved, ask for your customer’s feedback
- Send your contact information and encourage customers to add you to their contacts
To set up Google Click-to-Message, simply log in, select Messaging, add your phone number, and verify it. That’s all!
The Importance of Google Reviews in AdWord Campaigns
Google AdWords is a very effective marketing strategy that, unfortunately, isn’t often used to its full potential. Consider the importance of Google reviews in AdWord campaigns, which is that the ads that have a lot of great reviews get the leads above the ads that don’t. The more reviews you get, the more conversions you have, which turn into more reviews and more sales. It’s a beautiful cycle that works.
Google Knowledge Panel
Google Knowledge Panel is a way to enhance Google results with info that is gathered from all over the web. That info is then presented to searchers in an infobox on the side of the results page. This feature gives your business greater visibility and a better chance of capturing your audience.
To get Google Knowledge Panel to work for you, you must claim your business, build your online presence, and optimize your listings.
Google Maps Marketing and Reviews
No business listing is complete without an associated Google Maps result. Since customers typically search for a nearby business on the same day that they want to contact or visit, conversions are quick. However, to make the most of this huge opportunity, you must have the reviews to back up your ad.
Also, make sure to use these Google Maps marketing tips:
- Fully fill out the info on your Google business page by adding:
- Specific cities you service
- Business categories
- Business hours
- Add attractive photos with metadata
- Use keywords in any customer-facing descriptions
- Create local search ads
- Verify your business
How to Leave a Google Review
Customers leave Google reviews because they want to express the emotional experience they had with a business. Other reasons are to express appreciation, to help the business improve itself, and to help other customers make informed decisions.
Knowing how to leave a Google review is as simple as it is important. After you search and find a local business, scroll down and click Write a Review. Select a certain number of stars and write out the details of your experience with the business. Click Post.
How to Delete a Google Review
There may be a time or two when someone leaves your business a particularly nasty (or even a fake) review and it’s worth it to know what you can do in that circumstance. Typically, you don’t want to delete negative reviews because that makes it look like you have something to cover up. However, there are a few things you can do to properly delete a Google review.
First, you can respond to the negative review. Second, you can flag the review as fake, inappropriate, or promoting a competitor. It will then be reviewed by Google for removal. Third, you can report the negative review to Google Small Business Support who will make a decision about removing it.
Ultimately, having a few bad reviews mixed in with all the good reviews isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it shows that you are a real business with real customers.
How to Respond to Google Reviews
When it comes to whether or not you should respond to Google reviews, the answer is almost always yes. Responding to reviews—both the negative and the positive ones—shows potential customers that you care about the people you do business with.
But we get it. Responding can be intimidating. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
Some Dos and Don’ts of Responding to Reviews
→Do respond in a timely manner.
→Do make your responses personal and meaningful.
→Do show your gratitude in the response.
→Don’t be defensive—a resolution is more important than being right.
→Don’t let negative reviews discourage you.
→Don’t respond only to negative reviews.
Google reviews should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. They help increase your visibility, build trust and credibility with consumers, and push consumers through every stage of the buyer’s journey. If your business is taking proactive steps to secure reviews, it should see an increase in traffic both to its website as well as to its physical location.
Need help collecting reviews? Local businesses who use Podium see over double the monthly review volume in less than 60 days.