How many Google reviews do I need?
How do I get more reviews from customers?
How many Google reviews per day are allowed?
When Google first introduced its Google My Business (GMB) profile feature, it used to be only available to businesses with a physical location. But in the years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, Google realized that there are lots of viable businesses being operated out of people’s homes. So, now there’s absolutely no reason for a business or brand of any size not to include a Google business profile and strategy —whether you are marketing for a one-person small business or a 1,000-person large corporation.
So, let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of customer reviews, how they benefit your business and drive your reputation, and how you can take a few small steps to get more Google reviews and impact your business in a big way.
Why Getting More Google Reviews Matters
It’s important to understand why you need Google reviews in the first place. Yes, you can publish user customer testimonials galore on your website—but everyone knows that those are controlled by you. No business owner in their right mind would place a negative review on their own website.
Before Google created Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and LinkedIn were all popular web platforms to collect customer reviews and testimonials. However, LinkedIn allows a member to review and accept any review before posting it to their profile. So, LinkedIn may not be the best platform to look for reviews that show both sides of the story. That leaves us with Facebook and Yelp, which are still highly valid platforms for reviews — both negative and positive — therefore, allowing consumers to see a full story of a company.
Today, Google My Business has risen to the top of web platforms to post and read unabashed business reviews. After all, when someone searches for your business name online, your GMB profile is what they will see first — before they even get to your website page. Savvy consumers and B2B decision-makers look to Google as their first resource about a company’s professionalism and reliability. That’s why it’s essential that you set up your GMB profile and be proactive in marketing your company there and seeking Google reviews for your business for the greatest impact.
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10 Reasons to Make Optimizing Your Reputation Management with More Google Reviews a Priority
- The more positive Google business reviews you have, the better you compare to your competitors.
- Consumers and B2B decision-makers look at your Google reviews before contacting you.
- Google reviews are seen as a reliable, unfiltered guide to determine poor, good, better, and best businesses.
- Your potential customers know that Google reviews are from actual people (their peers) providing real, first-hand information about you and your company.
- Google reviews influence purchase decisions, allowing your customers to make more informed choices about how and where they spend their money.
- Your company’s marketing and online reputation matter now, more than ever before.
- Google reviews help improve your local search engine ranking, SEO, and online visibility.
- Google reviews increase your company’s trust, credibility, and online exposure.
- Google online reviews help improve click through rates (CTRs), thus converting more customers.
- Your business benefits from perpetual feedback (a.k.a. customer intelligence), providing the opportunity to respond to issues—and show your prospective customers how you respond when something does happen. Reviews are a great indicator of what you are doing right and wrong in your business.
82% of Customers Read Reviews Before Making a Purchase
Do Better and More Google Business Reviews Help SEO?
The fast answer is Yes. Your GMB reviews will help your local Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google is the most prominent search engine, so your customers will be finding you here. Google’s never-ending pursuit is to deliver the most relevant and beneficial search results for a person’s search query and location. But like anything with SEO, a single strategy won’t get you there. Solid, positive online reviews lead to better search engine ranking for your website and any other online content.
We equate SEO ranking to baking a cake. No one ingredient will get you a cake; you need flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, etc. Local SEO works much the same way. You’ll need many ingredients — such as a highly optimized and well-designed website, ongoing added content using keyword research, regular social media posting, Google reviews, and more — to build your SEO. This combination of efforts, including Google reviews, will help you climb toward the top ranking on local Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
BONUS: Google will often pull snippets from your customer reviews into search results when they match the searcher’s query. And if you have enough reviews, Google will summarize frequently used words from your reviews under ‘People Often Mention.’ You can also add the Google Reviews widget, QR code, or embed Google reviews to your website content and showcase your star rating there or on print ads and Google ads.
Google’s Review Algorithm Is Based on Four Cumulative Factors
- Quantity – Google gives preference to those profiles with 40+ reviews, and at least more than your competitors.
- Velocity – Has it been a while since your last customer review? Google pays attention to the frequency at which you receive reviews. So, don’t let too much time lapse between reviews.
- Diversity – Be sure you ask for reviews in different places and not just Google: LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, Yahoo!, TrustRadius, TrustPilot, industry-specific sites, and more.
- Responses – Be sure to respond to every review with a personal, non-generic comment. You should also respond to negative reviews and feedback to show your customers how you handle potential missteps in your business as well as how you treat others.
Online reputation management is the bread and butter of marketing your company. Better and more consistent Google reviews from your customers will drive you toward the coveted top of Google’s map pack. The map pack consists of the top three businesses in a category with the option to click ‘More Places’ to see all of the local competitors in an industry. Each local map pack listing displays both the business name and website link, and the company’s address and phone number, plus the total number of Google reviews and average Google star rating.
10% of Google’s search algorithm is driven by review signals like Google reviews.
How to Increase Reviews
So, how do you increase Google reviews from your customers and improve your reputation? First, let’s make one thing clear: you must ask for customer reviews and feedback. As humans, if we’re happy about something we’re more likely to go on our merry way with the rest of our day. We don’t typically think about providing a review for good service. However, if we have a bad experience with a business, we’re often quick to go online and leave a poor review. That’s why it’s important to ASK your happy customers for a Google review, otherwise they may not think about it.
6 Top Ways to Get a Google Review
Here are six ways to ask for a Google review and boost your rating.
- Make it personal and make it easy. When it comes to asking for customer reviews for your company, a personal ask is always the best route. Making it personal will also get you the best results. Consider the right timing (see below) and send a direct, personal email to your individual consumer or to the point(s) of contact at the business or organization. Address the person by name. Remind them of their product and/or services purchase. Then ask them to reflect upon how their purchase decision has made a difference in their life or their business. Ask them directly to leave a review; you can even ask them for a 5-star rating. Then provide the direct Google review link to your Google review page. (You can get this link from your GMB profile.) See below for an example of what your ask can look like, and feel free to tweak this as you see fit for your own personal review ask.
BONUS: At the same time, you can also ask them for a review on your business Facebook page as well as your personal LinkedIn profile — and provide the direct links for those too. To make it even easier, you can encourage them to copy and paste the same review on all three platforms. Once they’ve posted their review, you can link to these reviews or copy them to a testimonials page on your website.
- Ask through another form of contact. You can also remind your customers to leave a review you through a social media post or an e-newsletter. Although, this approach can be like shouting in a crowd for someone to call for help; everyone assumes that someone else will do it. Ultimately, this type of ask is less personal so busy people feel less obligated and scroll past it.
- Ask in person. There’s no time like the present and nothing like a tiny bit of pressure to do it right now. So, don’t shy away from a direct, in-person ask.
- Utilize SMS messaging. When you have many purchasers, a direct SMS messaging text, individualized for the person, is a great way to ask. Your customer can easily click the link you provide and leave you a review in under a minute. That was easy!
- Include calls to action on your website and/or blog. Again, as with general asks, this may have less of payoff. But you can still catch some of your customers for a review when they are in the midst of using your site and perusing your content.
- Add a QR code to your sales collateral. Printed materials are a great opportunity to find and drive more customer reviews. Simply add a trackable QR code to your printed materials and display your code at events.
BONUS: Make it a regular habit to ask your customers to leave online and Google reviews. Pick a day at the beginning, middle, or end of each month ad to review your customer list and ask for a review from recent purchasers. Build it into your regular calendar schedule, and you’ll be building your reviews and increasing your rating in no time — and, hopefully, surpassing your competition! At the same time, plan to pay it forward and lead by example: leave a Google review for other businesses too.
Example: Personal Google My Business Review Email Ask Template
Thank you for purchasing PRODUCT NAME. We hope you’re thrilled with your purchase, and we’d like to hear from you. Please tell us how you are enjoying our new PRODUCT NAME and how it’s made a difference in your life.
We’re always looking for ways to provide a better product/service. Please take two minutes and let us know about your experience working with NAME OF COMPANY/BRAND.
We have truly enjoyed working with you over the past NUMBER OF WEEKS/MONTHS to provide LIST THE PURCHASED SERVICES HERE. We value our clients, and that includes you!
Please take a few minutes to provide us a review in one or more of the following places regarding our services and how we have helped you with your _____________. (You can even copy and paste to all 3!)
Google page: Provide Google review link.
Facebook page: Provide Facebook review link.
LinkedIn page: Provide LinkedIn review link.
Thank you very much for your time, and we look forward to a long and continued business relationship!
52% of 18-54-Year-Olds Always Read Reviews.
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When to Ask for a Brand Review
Asking for a review is a key form of marketing and another customer touch point. Plus, it just makes good marketing sense. The timing of your ask for an online Google review is important. You want to plan your ask for each customer during the sweet spot… when they are at their high point of being thrilled with your brand, product, or services and when there’s a lull or downtime in the sales process. So, you probably won’t want to reach out immediately after a sale or right after you’ve sent an invoice or had another interaction. This sweet spot may vary for different companies and industries, but a great time to get a Google review may be about one week after service completion or product delivery. At this time, the purchase process and initial receipt of the product or service is still fresh in their minds, and they are still in the honeymoon phase of doing business with your company.
Your best option is to map out your sales process from beginning/pre-sale to the full sales process and post-sale interactions. Once you have fleshed out the entire process, otherwise known as your customer journey, you’ll be able to determine the right time to request a review.
3 Things to Avoid When Getting Google Reviews
- No fake reviews. This is just bad marketing. As with any business practices, truth, and transparency reign. Just as you wouldn’t want to amass fake social media followers (that don’t engage and buy from you anyway), you also don’t want to waste your money in buying and collecting fake reviews. The good, old-fashioned, ethical approach always works best. (Plus, Google is smart and will detect these fake reviews and penalize you SEO-wise for it.)
- Don’t ask everyone at once. Whether you have a new or existing GMB profile, avoid asking too many people at once to leave a review. Google will also notice an influx of reviews and see that as a red flag for your business. The key is to simply spread out your asks to a few each week and you’ll be in good shape.
- Avoid incentivizing reviews. This is another bad idea. Just like you shouldn’t buy fake reviews, you also wouldn’t want to pay your existing customers for reviews either. True and honest reviews that you’ve earned fair and square — and received from the goodness of your customers’ hearts — is always the best way to go. (Plus, paid and incentivized reviews are in violation of Google’s terms of service agreement. And if they find out, it will greatly harm your search engine ranking and hurt your reputation.)
What If My Work Is Sensitive or My Industry Won’t Allow Me to Ask for Reviews at All?
Some industries may be sensitive, such as an attorney or the health industry. Other businesses may preclude you from asking for a review at all, such as financial consultants and counselors or therapists. Don’t despair. You can still take advantage of review marketing, customer feedback, local SEO, and reputation management.
If you work in a sensitive industry, it’s still acceptable to ask them to leave a review without your client divulging the specifics of their case. And if you are outright precluded from asking for reviews, your office staff may instead ask for a review of your customer’s experience with your office (and not specific services or employees, such as a therapist).
Yelp vs. Google Reviews: Find Out Which Matters Most
Research shows that both Google and Yelp rank as essential places to receive reviews and feedback. They have both been around a long time. And they both provide social proof and honest reviews that help consumers make decisions about the brands and businesses they want to support. But there are a few differences between the two that you’ll want to consider.
Difference #1: Google can collect reviews from anyone as long as they have a Gmail account (which most people do); however, Yelp can only collect reviews and feedback from app or website account holders.
Difference #2: Google allows you to directly ask a customer for a review, and you can use a direct link to your GMB page. But you can’t ask for reviews with Yelp. In fact, Yelp’s policy states that you cannot send your clients a direct link to leave reviews.
Difference #3: It’s easier to raise a complaint over a false or fake negative review on Yelp than it is on Google. In fact, in the past it’s been easy to remove a negative review on Yelp, so users may take view a business with a grain of salt if they have all positive reviews. With Google, it can be a lengthy and time-consuming process to get a negative review removed.
Difference #4: Yelp randomly sorts your reviews, so a negative review can get stuck at the top even though you’ve had more recent positive reviews. Its algorithm also suppresses what it deems to be overly positive reviews. Google generally shows reviews in chronological order, allowing the user to also sort reviews by star ratings.
At the end of the day, the power of Google reviews still outweighs Yelp in terms of clicks and purchases. However, Yelp remains popular in many circles so you shouldn’t choose one marketing platform in favor of the other; instead, use them in conjunction with one another.