In an ideal world, you would receive a personal recommendation from a trusted friend every time you wished to purchase a product or schedule a service. In reality, you likely rely on the opinions of strangers who enjoy commending and criticizing businesses online. According to a new survey, 97 percent of consumers consult product reviews before making a purchase. They want some assurance of a company’s reputability before they spend their hard-earned dollars.
And while many consumers rely on particular websites for reviews (Yelp, Amazon, TripAdvisor, Facebook, etc.), just about everyone sees Google reviews because, well, just about everyone uses Google to search online. Try searching for “dry cleaner” on Google. You’ll be presented with a map that shows a few different dry cleaners near you as well as each business’s contact information, hours, and website. And right beneath each company’s name, accentuated with orange stars, you’ll see their rating and how many reviews they have. When I do this, three businesses pop up: one with 2 stars, one with 3 stars, and one with 5 stars. Can you guess where I’m taking my laundry later?
This emphasis on online reviews can be incredibly beneficial for businesses, but only if you work hard to both provide your customers with an excellent experience and encourage them to share that experience online. If you’re wondering how to get more Google reviews, scroll down for some helpful tips.
How to Get More Google Reviews
Create a Google My Business page.
First and foremost, create a Google My Business page for your company if you have not done so already. Not only is this service free and easy to use, but also it will help you fine-tune how your company is presented on Google. You can control the contact information displayed for your business, the operating hours, and the photos. Plus, only verified businesses can respond to reviews and questions that potential customers post.
P.S. If you haven’t yet created a Google My Business account but you see a listing that matches your company, don’t freak out! You simply need to claim the listing and verify that you are the business owner.
Ask for reviews.
There’s no way around it: If you want reviews, you need to ask for them. Although it may feel awkward, satisfied customers are often happy to provide some positive feedback. And if they decide not to leave a review . . . well, at least you tried!
Carefully communicate your request, making sure that it’s polite, professional, and gracious. For example, beware of demanding a review: “We ask that you leave us a review to share your feedback.” And don’t put the customer on the spot by asking for a yes or no response: “Are you going to write a review for us?” Instead, show that you are thankful and considerate of your customers’ busy schedules. Here are some options you might consider as you word your request:
- If you have the time, we would really appreciate it if you could leave us a review on Google.
- We hope that you enjoyed working with us. When you have a moment to spare, we’d really appreciate if you shared your experience on Google.
- (After receiving a compliment) That is so great to hear! Thank you for the feedback. If you have a chance, it would be awesome if you could share those thoughts in an online review. It really helps potential customers feel more comfortable trusting us.
- Positive reviews from amazing customers like you help others understand what’s so great about (your company). If you have 60 seconds to spare, please go to (link to Google reviews) and share your experience.
- Online reviews are very helpful for our team. When you have a chance, could you leave a quick review on Google?
There are several different ways you can go about asking for a review, so you’ll need to decide which option works best for your specific situation. You might wish to try one of the following methods, typically asking shortly after the initial transaction is complete:
- Face to face
- Over the phone
- With an e-mail blast, contacting all your past customers at once
- With a personal e-mail, conveying that you appreciate that unique customer and their experience
- With an e-mail receipt
- With a “Thank You” page that appears after an e-commerce transaction
- With a sign hanging on a door/wall or sitting on the front desk
- With a post on your social media accounts
- With a link on your website
You may wish to combine these options. For example, you could verbally ask for a review after talking to a customer on the phone and then follow up with an e-mail. Or, you could hang a sign requesting reviews on the back of your front door and then also send an e-mail blast a few times a year.
Make it easy for your customers to provide a review.
If someone wants to leave a review, they shouldn’t have to struggle to do it. Any time you request reviews online, be sure to include a link to your Google business listing so that customers know where to go. You could also provide directions for adding a rating/review:
- Make sure you’re signed into Google.
- Open Google Maps.
- Search for the business.
- On the left, scroll down and click “Write a review.”
- Click the stars to rate the business. Write a review.
- After posting, you are free to edit the review or remove it.
Respond to reviews.
If you reply to people who review your business – thanking them, answering questions, addressing critical remarks, or inviting them back – you will show your customers that you value their input. This might compel more of your customers to leave reviews, because they know that you’re “listening” and that there’s a good chance you’ll reply to their review as well.
How Google Reviews Affect SEO
Learning how to get more Google reviews takes some effort, and you might be reluctant to risk bothering your customers by asking for reviews. However, we can assure you that it’s worth you’re time if you’re interested in boosting your SEO (and frankly, who isn’t?). Google reviews are important for SEO for several reasons:
- A Ranking Factor: Online reviews are one of the 200+ ranking factors that Google’s algorithm takes into account. According to Moz.com, review signals account for 15.44 percent of Local Pack/Finder Ranking Factors and 6.47 percent of Localized Organic Ranking Factors. They’ve appeared to grow in importance over the past few years as well (source).
- Prominence in Search Results: Reviews appear next to your business’s listing in Maps and Search, where they’re likely to catch potential customers’ attention. They can help your business stand out against your competitors.
- Google Trusts Your Customers: Not entirely, of course, but they’re more likely to trust your customers than you, the business owner. Just like Google sees a link to your site as an endorsement of your site’s trustworthiness, the search algorithm may view positive reviews as endorsements of your website.
- Additional Content: Your business’s reviews increase the amount of content associated with your website, and Google uses that content to understand your business. So when they crawl your website’s listing, Google’s spiders may notice that customers are using certain keywords to describe your products or services.
- More Clicks: If searchers notice that your website has positive reviews, they may decide to click the link and visit your website. According to a study by BrightLocal, star ratings displayed in Local Pack results generate higher click-through rates than organic search results (source).
Like it or not, many people rely on reviews when trying to make a decision between businesses and products online. Instead of waiting impatiently to hear your customers’ feedback, why not be proactive? If you learn how to get more Google reviews, you’ll better understand your customers and you may boost your SEO while you’re at it.
Online reviews are just one part of the SEO puzzle. If you want to help your website climb to the top of Google’s search results pages, check out 417 Marketing, an online marketing company based in Springfield, Missouri, that specializes in SEO and web design. Click here to contact us and learn more about what we can do for your company.