You’ve created your free Google business listing, now the next question pops up: how do you get people to review your business? The quick answer, you can send people a direct link to review it. But let’s investigate the step by step process and learn all the little secret tricks.
How to Get Reviews on Your Listing
We all know the power of the internet, over 90% of consumers do an internet search before deciding which company they will become loyal to. Creating a Google listing should be a part of your reputation management strategy.
The easiest way to get people to review your business, is to make it as straightforward as possible. After you’ve completed a project or delivered your goods, contact the customer directly, thanking them for the business and request a review.
By including a direct link to the review, you ensure that the customer doesn’t lose interest or become frustrated because it is too complicated to figure out the reviewing process. Although there are various search engines out there, Google is by far the most popular and powerful.
Did you know? More than 80% of online queries are performed on Google
Reviews on your Google My Business listing is completely transparent to the public. Potential customers can form an independent opinion of your business, not through what you want to tell them about your product or service on your website, but through real customer reviews.
How Important Are the Reviews?
These reviews should not be taken lightly, studies show that 84% of people give the Google reviews as much authority as a personal referral from a friend or family member. The reviews also serve the purpose of adding oomph to your Google ranking on search page results.
After your first five reviews, you will start seeing organic search engine traffic results for your business. This means your listing will appear more frequently on the first page of search results. It might be tempting to try and create your own reviews, but this tactic will backfire in the long run. Google’s main aim is to provide relevant and useful information for its users.
Create A Prefilled 5-Star Review for Your Customers
Although you don’t want to tamper with the review results, you can use a technique of creating a link with the 5-stars automatically filled in for customers to use. The aim of a review is to get both a star ranking as well as personal feedback from your satisfied customers.
To create this link, you will need a mobile phone. Once created, it will be functional for reviewing from any device. It will take a bit of effort to set this up, but it’s highly recommended to invest the time to prepare it.
To start the process, verify your address once you’ve created a Google My Business page. Next, open an incognito page on Google Chrome from your phone. Go to your company’s listing on Google My Business. You will see a Knowledge Graph with your company’s details.
Find the section called “Review and Rate”. On the right you can tap the 5 stars. Click on the “Leave a Review” page. You can now copy the address from the URL bar with the automated 5-star review into an email. Use a URL shortener to create a sleeker URL to send to your customers. Before sending it to a customer, first test it out on your own phone and computer.
You can also consider adding the review option onto your website, with a specific page dedicated to reviews. Use the automated review link and change it in your website backend to something more relevant, such as https://www.companyname.com/review. This can be done through a 301 redirect link.
Next, you can create a message to request a review from a customer. Remember, the point of the reviews is to receive honest feedback. Once you’ve sent the link to the review, the response is out of your hands. If you believe the review violates the Google listing policies, you can flag it for removal.
Create a message thanking the customer/client for their business. Request a short, honest review for your Google My Business listing, including the link you’ve created. Remember that the customer is under no obligation to leave you a review, so you need to choose your words carefully to not make the request seem forced.
If you were using other communication methods such as SMS or WhatsApp, you can consider using this. But it will depend on your level of relationship with the customer. Emails are generally seen as a less intrusive method.
Your customer needs to have a Google account to create a review. Add a note in the review request email to explain this to the customer, to avoid frustration when the link doesn’t work. Many people have Gmail accounts, but you most likely were communicating with a client via their official work email.
Google Accounts are also linked to YouTube, Android phones, Blogger and more. It is also linked to other Google services such as Google+, Drive, Analytics, AdWords, Search Console, Calendar and more.
The reason Google decided to add this security method, is to prevent anonymous reviews, that can promote dishonesty and malicious attacks. If your customer doesn’t have a Google account, you can alternatively request a review on your Facebook page.
Alternative Method to Create A Review Link
If you feel uncomfortable with the above suggestion of preselecting 5-stars for the review, you can create a link from a Google Search. Use your computer to create a more accurate link. Firstly, search for your business on Google. Locate the listing on the right, scroll down and click “write a review”. Next, copy the URL in the address bar. Use the URL shortener to create a more professional link. You can use a link building service such as bitly.com to track and optimise your links.
Three Key Changes to Google Review Guidelines
These changes affect the Google algorithm’s filtering process. The guidelines aim to specifically deal with review spamming. Another big change is that the criteria is now part of the Google Maps content policy.
Mostly the guidelines are straightforward no-go’s that make logical sense. It deals with major issues such as no adult content, no hate speech, no confidential info, no copyrighted or illegal content, and more.
#1 Former/Current Employees Cannot Leave Reviews
Previously this was a grey area and sometimes Google did not want to comply with deleting a horrible review. Now the system is on your side and you can rest assured that a disgruntled employee can’t publicly badmouth you on your business listing.
#2 Do Not Request Reviews in Bulk
This change is a bit tricky, as the criteria for “bulk” is very ambiguous. An easy rule of thumb to use, is to not get trigger happy with sending out hundreds of emails to customers every day and getting more than 10 reviews in a day.
As always, the Google algorithm is a mystery. Does a link used too frequently trigger the system? If this is the case, is it the click on the link or the actual review that sets off the bulk sensor? Google tracks links in emails, so the system alert could possibly pop up after the same link has been sent out multiple times in a day.
The volume of reviews linked to the historical trends could also potentially be a trigger. This sometimes happens after a listing had been dormant for a while and suddenly the owner decides to start requesting reviews from customers.
Rather start slowly and build up your reviews in a more organic way. As you finish a project, send out the review request, as mentioned above. And spread out the review invitations to older customers across a few weeks.
#3 Missing: Mention of Kiosks
In the previous set of guidelines, it was clearly stated that you should not set up a review kiosk or station at your business. Although the new guidelines do not explicitly mention the use of review stations, you should read between the lines with this one.
It’s mentioned on Google’s Get Reviews page that you should inform your customers that it’s very easy to leave a review from a phone or computer. It’s been proven that Google tracks the devices from where the reviews are generated. So, if numerous reviews appear from the same device, Google will most likely filter them out.
Please Note: it’s against the Google Review Guidelines to incentivise people to leave a review.
Local guides are encouraged and incentivised to create longer reviews with photos. Keep an eye on the frequency of reviews on your listing. If you notice a suspicious increase in reviews, check the source of the review. There is a photo spam on the rise from fake LG profiles.
Let Storyteller Design Assist You with Your Google Business Listing
Creating a professional business listing can boost your online presence in many ways. Potential customers can get a better idea of your business identity. Also, with a well-written “about us” section and good choice of photos, your business listing can be effectively turned into a virtual brand ambassador. The choice of words in the description can also be used to boost your SEO ranking on the search result pages.
Contact us now for a free evaluation. Let us help you harness the power of the Google Business listing!