Table of Contents
    Subscribe to Our blog
    Stay up-to-date with the latest messaging how-to's, tips, guides and more.

    The Ultimate Guide to Google Reviews (2021)

    Last updated 2021-02-26
    Google Reviews

    How to Get More Google Reviews | The Ultimate Guide

    Over 60% of customers check Google Reviews before they visit a business. They're looking for social proof and reassurance that your business is right for them.

    But it's hard to get customers to leave real-life, positive reviews.

    Frustratingly, 85% of consumers are willing to leave a review, but few will actually do it.

    So ask yourself:

    • When was the last time you checked your business’s Google Reviews?

    • What does Google display when you search for your business? 

    • How easy is it for your customers to leave a Google review right now?

    • What’s the best way to ask your customers for a Google Review?

    Things not looking so good? No worries - there’s a way to “delete” google reviews. We’ve got the answers further down in this guide.

    But…

    You’ll still need to focus on getting more real-life, honest, positive reviews to bury the bad ones.

    The good news is that text messages, emails, and voice calls can all help you get more reviews. Each tool has a place in your business's overall conversational messaging strategy.

    So, to help you navigate, we've put together the Ultimate Guide to Google Reviews. We cover everything you need to know including:

    • What is Google Review?

    • The 5 steps to get more Google Reviews

    • Why Google Reviews matter

    • 7 things to consider for better Google reviews

    • How to claim your Google My Business page

    • How to create a Google Reviews short-link

    • How text messaging can get you more Google Reviews

    • How to respond to Google Reviews

    • How to delete bad Google Reviews

    • How to contact Google about reviews

    Read on for more.


    What is a Google Review?

    What is a Google Review?

    Google Reviews are voluntary, unpaid reviews that consumers write about places they've visited. Google Reviews are tied directly to Search, Google Maps, and your Google My Business listing. Google Reviews make it easy for the public to leave feedback, add pictures, and tell others about their experiences at places they've visited.

    What You’ll Need To Get More Google Reviews

    Before you start, you’ll need to claim your Google My Business page. Once you have your Google My Business page claimed, then you can start spreading the word. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to visit your Google My Business page.

    One of the best ways to do this is with a short link. This gives your customers an easy, direct way to leave a review. You can even share short links in text messages, emails, and on web pages too.

    Bottom line: The more accessible your review link is, the greater chance you have at getting more reviews.

    These are the 5 steps to get more Google Reviews:

    1. Claim your Google My Business page

    2. Verify your business info to appear on maps, search, and other Google services

    3. Create a Google Reviews short-link

    4. Remind your customers to leave reviews

    5. Actively reply to reviews to build your customers' trust

    How to Get More Google Reviews

    Why Google My Business Reviews Matter to Your Business

    Out of all the review aggregators, Google is the biggest. They're also the most relevant for local, small businesses and organizations. This is because Google Reviews are tied heavily to local searches and Google's search algorithm.

    These are the 7 things you need to know about Google Reviews:

    1. Your potential customers want to search and find you on Google

    2. Google reviews improve your local search ranking

    3. Customers look at more recent reviews first

    4. Your business doesn’t need a perfect 5-star rating

    5. The number of reviews your business has will build credibility

    6. Customers want to see honest, truthful reviews

    7. Customers read the tone and sentiment of your existing reviews

    1. Your Potential Customers Want to Search and Find You On Google

    Why does your business need Google Reviews? Well, 86% of consumers read reviews when they need a job done or they require a service. 

    Just Google phrases like, “plumbers near me” or “local flower shops” and you’ll see how other businesses rate on Google. In fact, the average local business has about 39 reviews.

    So long as you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing, Google will display your relevant business information to potential customers.

    2. Google Reviews Improve Your Local Search Ranking

    Reviews are one of the biggest google search engine ranking factors for local businesses. They’re also an incredibly low-cost digital marketing strategy. 

    Looking to improve your visibility and ranking in Google? Then you’re going to need more high-quality, honest reviews.

    Google even uses all of your reviews and business information on Google My Business to figure out what your business does. They also judge the quality of your products and services.

    3. Customers Look at More Recent Reviews First

    Just because you have a host of reviews tied to your account, doesn’t mean they’re relevant. 

    Many customers will look at your most recent reviews first. This is because they recognize that services are variable or sometimes seasonal. 

    Google also weights how recent your reviews are as a ranking factor in their local search algorithm. Recent reviews are also an indicator of general business activity. More recent reviews can reassure customers that others are actively using your product or service and finding success.

    4. Your Business Doesn’t Need a Perfect 5-star Rating

    Having a few less than perfect reviews won’t tank your online reputation. Things happen and sometimes people are entitled to leave reviews that are critical of your business or service. 

    Think of this as an opportunity to demonstrate how empathetic, responsive, and human your business is. When someone leaves a less-than-perfect review, be sure to follow up with them and comment as soon as possible.

    It’s a good move to use Google reviews for customer service. You stand to gain a lot just by appearing empathetic and responsive. Moments like that can go farther than a bunch of perfect 5-start reviews that really don’t say much.

    5. The Number of Reviews Your Business Has Will Build Credibility

    Quality is certainly important. But your quantity of Google Reviews is also a ranking factor. It’s something potential customers will consider when evaluating your business.

    But keep in mind that the number of Google Reviews you need could vary depending on your business and the context. 

    If your competitors have a bunch of reviews, then you’ll want to at least get close to matching them. You can offset this sometimes if your reviews are honest, truthful, and comprehensive.

    6. Customers Want to See Honest, Truthful, Comprehensive Reviews

    Have a lot of long, honest, high-quality reviews? That’s great because the average consumer reads around 10 reviews before trusting a business. Customers can also spot fake Google reviews from a mile off.

    So when you ask for reviews, be sure to tap people who are willing to take the time to be honest. Short, impersonal reviews don’t really say much to potential customers who are evaluating your business. Sometimes they can even seem fake.

    As a best practice, try to give your customers guidance or offer a template. This makes it easier for a customer to leave a review and ensures quality (more on this below).

    7. Customers Read the Tone and Sentiment of Your Existing Reviews

    The star-rating, number of reviews, review length, and recency all matter. But tone and sentiment are important too.

    Google doesn’t necessarily use sentiment to rank you in Local Search and Maps, but customers sure do. This ties back to getting more honest, high-quality reviews. Potential customers want to see that the people reviewing your business are human. They want to understand how others feel about your business.

    Google My Business Reviews

    What’s Google My Business?

    Google My Business (GMB) helps businesses and organizations manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. It especially helps customers who are searching locally to find your business.

    Before you start asking customers for Google Reviews, make sure you claim your Google My Business listing.

    If you’ve already verified your account, then you can skip this part.

    But if you haven’t...

    Then do it right now. Seriously - it’s THAT important for your business.

    Why Does Your Google My Business Listing Matter? 

    Google My Business allows you to control exactly how your business appears on Google search and maps. It also allows you to manage the search appearances for multiple business locations.

    You can also add hours of operation, a list of products and services, menus, photos, contact information, and more.

    All of these listing features make it easier for potential customers to find you and make a buying decision. But if you don’t claim your listing, then you’ve got no control over how these features get displayed.

    How to Claim Your Google My Business

    Google gives you a step-by-step way to verify your business, but there are also some best practices to be aware of.

    1. Add relevant business information 

    • Include everything (phone number, address, email, services, etc.) a potential customer would need to find you or get in contact.

    • Make things as easy as possible for someone to get in touch and buy your product or service.

    2. Include relevant keywords, but don’t get crazy and stuff them everywhere

    • Including relevant keywords in your Google My Business listing is a local SEO best practice. It makes it easier for Google to associate your business with that keyword.

    • But don’t overstuff your listing with too many non-relevant keywords. Google will know and they will frequently penalize your listing for it.

    3. Keep your hours of operation up-to-date

    • Your customers need hours of operation (this may depend on your business though).

    • Be sure to update your hours of operation frequently to account for holidays, closures, and adjusted hours.

    4. Upload photos and other high-quality visuals

    • Google found that listings with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions from Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to a business’ website.

    • Uploading high-quality photos will help you stand out from your competitors and give your customers a better sense of your business.

    • Your customers want proof that you’re legitimate. They can’t do this without photos, video, or other high-quality media.

    Have your Google My Business up and running? The next step is to create a link to Google Reviews using the Google Place ID tool.

    Text Messaging Reviews

    How to Create a Direct Link to Google Reviews Using the Google Place ID Tool

    What’s a Google Place ID? It’s a unique code for identifying your business in Google Maps. In Google’s mind, this is where your business lives on the web. Your Google Place ID is also tied directly to your Google My Business account.

    Option 1: Find Your Google Place ID and Create a Review Link:

    Google Maps Developer Page

    1. You can find the Google Place ID tool on the Google Maps Developer Page

    2. Type your business name in the “Enter a location” field to find your business’s Google Place ID. 

    3. Then, click on the correct match from the drop-down list.

    4. Next, you’ll see a 25 character string of numbers and characters under your company name. This is your Google Place ID.

    5. Now that you have your Place ID, copy and paste it at end of this link: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=

    6. Once you insert your Place ID in the URL, it should look similar to this, but contain your own Place ID: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJiaAayYBAmYARZvM1YKGhVsc

    7. Finally, to make the link shorter and more visually appealing, use a link shortener. Short URL services like bit.ly will make you a short link that’s perfect for texting to your customers. 

    Option 2: Google Search

    Google Reviews Write Review

    1. In this method, all you need to do for your Google review link is a quick Google search for your business. When your business’s Google My Business listing pops up, hit the “Write a review” button. 

    2. Copy the long URL from the address bar at the top of your screen when the review window pops up. 

    3. To help make the link shorter and more visually appealing, use a link shortener. A program like bit.ly can give you a simplified link perfect for text messaging. 

    Option 3: Google My Business Account

    Log in to Google My Business

    1. Log into your Google My Business account

    2. While you are on the “Home” page, scroll down and you will see a “Get More Reviews” section.

    3. Copy the provided link and start sharing it with your customers. The link will automatically redirect to your location on Google Maps and will pop up the reviews box.

    How to Use Your Google Review Link to Get More Customer Reviews

    There are a bunch of ways to generate more reviews. Some of the most common include:

    • Sending a Google review link in mass-emails 

    • Adding links to your review page on web pages

    • Copying a review link or call to action into brochures

    • Texting links to Google Reviews with an SMS text message 

    But what is the most effective way to improve review generation and get better Google Reviews?

    Top 6 Ways to Ask for a Google Review:

    1. In-person during the sales process over the phone

    2. Send an email to your customers asking them to review their experience

    3. Add a Google Review link to an invoice or sales receipt

    4. Add a Google review link to your website

    5. Use a custom QR code printed on branded materials

    6. In an SMS text message

    6 Best Practices When Asking for Customer Reviews

    Having a Google review link will help you get more reviews. But thinking of your customer first helps even more.

    Putting your customers first proves that they matter to you.

    So remember these best practices:

    1. Don’t just ask for a Google review, encourage your customers to give honest and specific feedback.

    2. Explain to customers that their reviews help you improve your service, products, and customer experiences.

    3. Determine the right timing of the invitation. 

    4. Ask customers to leave a review once you know you’ve provided them with value.

    5. Make submitting a review easy - the harder it is for customers to leave reviews, the less likely they will leave one.

    6. Personalize your message as much as possible. The more personalized and thoughtful your message is, the more likely your customer will leave a review. Check out the example below.

    Example: How to Ask Customers For A Google Review via Email

    Hi {{ FirstName }},

    Jim told us that you were pleased with your last cleaning so I just want to follow up.

    We know you have a choice when it comes to carpet cleaning, so we really appreciate your business, support, and feedback. Please know that you’re always free to leave a Google Review. It would really mean a lot to hear your honest feedback regarding your last carpet cleaning.

    [Insert Google Review Link]

    Looking forward to your next clean!

    ~Business Owner

    Example: How to Ask Customers For a Google Review via SMS Text Message

    Hey {{ FirstName }}, thanks for your business. We pride ourselves on service and your feedback is what lets us know if we’re hitting the mark. Please take a minute to let us know what you think here: https://bit.ly/5UhJ9Ve

    How Text Messages Can Get You More Google Reviews

    Texting your customers makes it easier and more convenient for them to leave a review. 

    Customers love to text. They open 98% of their texts within one minute and embedded links get clicked about 14% of the time. Texting even works great for making sales too.

    Compare text message open and response rates to emails. Emails typically have between a 20-30% open rate and a 4% click-through rate.

    With a text, all you need is to include your Google Review short link. Your customers click on the link and visit your Google My Business page and then they leave a review.

    Suggested Article: Guide to SMS Customer Service & Conversational Messaging

    How a Business Text Messaging App Makes Getting Reviews Easy

    A business text messaging app like MessageDesk gives you the power to collect more reviews at scale. Texting apps in this category have features like text message templates, tags, and text message scheduling.

    All of these features combine to make it easy to send more personalized follow-up messages at scale.

    With templates, you can send a saved text message that already contains your Google Review link. You can even add personalization tags like {{ FirstName }} and {{ LastName }} to the message.

    Scheduling then allows you to text a template to any customer at any time.

    You can even take this to the next level. Create groups of customers based on their actions and send them all a message. You could even set up an automated text message that asks for a review once your customer pays their bill.

    Suggested Article: How to Choose the Best Texting App for Small Business

    How to Respond to a Google Review

    Not every online review will be positive. Having a few bad reviews mixed in with all the good reviews isn’t the end of the world. It shows you’re a real business with real customers.

    The best fix for negative Google Reviews is to actively respond to all reviews that are negative.

    When you respond, you’re proving that you care. It shows you’re focused on finding solutions and solving problems.

    How to Respond to Google Reviews

    Google Review Response Best Practices

    1. Respond with empathy and kindness

    2. Don’t get defensive, or make things personal

    3. Apologize if necessary

    4. Offer to make things right

    5. Keep your response brief and to the point

    6. If necessary, move the conversation to a private channel like text or email

    How to Delete a Google Review

    You can take action if someone leaves your business a particularly nasty or fake review. Be aware that you don’t want to just delete all negative reviews. Doing so makes it look like you have something to hide.

    First, consider flagging reviews that are fake, inappropriate, or that promote a competitor. Google has a whole system for this.

    How to Flag a Google Review

    1. Log into Google My Business.

    2. Select the location (if you have multiple)

    3. In the menu, select “Reviews”

    4. Find the review in question. Click the three-dot menu, then select “Flag as inappropriate.”

    It will take some time for Google to process your request. You may also want others to flag the review as inappropriate as well.

    If all that doesn’t work, then you’ll want to contact Google Small Business for support

    How to Contact Google Small Business for Support

    Contact Google My Business Support

    1. Visit support.google.com/business

    2. Scroll down and select “contact us”

    3. Select “customer reviews and photos,” and then “manage customer reviews”

    4. Choose to receive help via phone, web chat, or email

    Someone on the support team will get in touch typically within 24 hours. Then you’ll have to explain why you want the review removed.

    There are no guarantees that Google will remove the review for you. This is again why it’s better to bury bad reviews with good ones.


    Final Thoughts and Next Steps

    Ready to integrate texting into your Google Review collection process? MessageDesk is here to help with smarter, simpler ways to send text messages.

    Visit our learning center for information on how to get started with MessageDesk. You’ll find a quick start guide to texting, a features overview, and an explanation of what MessageDesk is.

    You’ll also want to check out our list of free SMS text message templates. Just copy and paste to start texting.

    Finally, feel free to start a 7-day free MessageDesk trial with 50 free text messages.