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The Ultimate Guide to Google Reviews (2020)

June 10, 2020
Google Reviews

How to Get More Google Reviews

When was the last time you checked your business’s Google Reviews? What does Google display when you search for your business? 

These are important questions to consider because over 60% of customers check Google reviews before they even visit a business.

Google reviews not so good? There’s a way to “delete” google reviews (we’ve got the answers further down in this guide). However, you’ll want to focus on getting more real-life, honest, positive reviews to bury the bad ones.

Now, there is some strategy to consider with all of this.

As much as you may want and need more reviews, you may have already found that it’s hard to get customers to actually leave a review. 85% of consumers are willing to leave a review, but few will actually do it.

Text messages, emails and voice can all work, but before you continue, ask yourself:

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

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

To get more reviews you’ll need to:

  1. Claim your Google My Business page

  2. Create a Google Reviews short-link

With a short link, you’re giving your customers the easiest, most direct way to leave a review. This improves the number of reviews you get. It also allows you to focus on other things that lead to better reviews.

5 Things to Consider for Better Google Reviews

  1. Customers look at recent reviews first

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

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

  4. Customers want to see honest, truthful reviews

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

How to Get More Google Reviews

Why Google My Business Reviews Matter to Your Business

1. Your Potential Customers Will 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 (including the latest Google Reviews) 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. 

If you’re looking to improve your visibility and ranking in Google, then you’re going to need more good quality, honest reviews.

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

3. Google Reviews Give You Credibility and Build Trust

Have a lot of honest, good quality reviews? That’s good because the average consumer reads around 10 reviews before trusting a business. Plus, more positive reviews build trust with customers.

For this to work though, the reviews need to be honest. As a best practice, try to encourage happy customers to leave a fresh, authentic, honest review on Google.

Google My Business

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

If you’ve already done this, you can skip this part. If not, go! Right now! 

Seriously! It’s THAT important for your business.

Why does a 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 locations.

You can add location, hours of operation, products, 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, you’ve got no control over any of these features.

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.

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.

Include Keywords, But Don’t Stuff Them In:

  • 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.

  • Try not to overstuff your Google My Business listing with non-relevant or too many keywords, Google will know, and they will frequently penalize your listing for it.

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.

Upload Photos and Other Visuals

  • 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.

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

  • Your customers want to see and get proof that you’re legit and they can’t do this without photos, video, or other high-quality media.

Once you 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.

Google My Business 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.

3 Ways to Find Your Google Place ID and Create a Review Link:

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

  2. To find your business’s Google Place ID, type your business name In the “Enter a location” field and click on the correct match from the drop-down list.

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

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

  5. 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

  6. 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. 

Google Search

  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. When the review window pops up, copy the long URL that shows up in the address bar at the top of your screen. 

  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. 

Google My Business Account

  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 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 google reviews. Some of the most common include sending a google review link in mass-emails, attaching it to webpages, or copying it into brochures.

But what is the most effective way to improve not only review generation but to 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.

5 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 the customer 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, or customer experiences.

  3. Determine the right timing of the invitation. Ask customers to leave a review once you know you’ve provided them with value.

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

  5. 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

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

Why Text Messages 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 sales and text message marketing 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 and your customers can visit your Google My Business page to leave a review.

Text Messaging Reviews

How a Business Text Messaging App Makes Getting Reviews Easy

A business text messaging app like SnapDesk 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 {First Name} and {Last Name} 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. If a customer pays a bill, you’ve got a good time to send an automated message that asks for a review.

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 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.

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

Suggested Article: 7 Ways to Manage Customer Service with Text Messaging

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

  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

Once someone on the support team gets in touch (typically within 24 hours) 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.