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In a world where customers are just a click or swipe away, all business owners must face the reality that these days online reviews matter—greatly. Research shows that 97% of consumers say reviews factor into their buying decisions. Even when shopping in a store, 82% of smartphone users consult their phones first and 45% read reviews before making a purchase. Reviews hold tremendous power to increase trust, establish credibility, and create popularity (or social proof).
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So online reviews matter a lot, especially Google My Business reviews.
Google My Business, formerly known as Google Places, is a free tool for businesses. According to Google: Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.
Google My Business helps customers find your physical location, gives you a place to display useful information like hours of operation or busy periods and provides customer insights and analytics. All these are extremely beneficial features for your organization, but Google My Business reviews might be even more so.
While there are many places online where reviews can be found, Google My Business reviews pack an extra punch. They can be a highly valuable tool for your business. Here’s why:
There’s a reason people talk about “Googling” something when referring to searching online. As of September 2019, Google dominated all other search engines, with almost 93% of the global search engine market share. Therefore, Google is one of the top go-to destinations when consumers lookup business, products, or, really, anything.
Search engines are in business to bring the most value to their users, so Google is constantly trying to better understand and predict what their users want and then adjusting its algorithm to provide that. Google sees that users value online recommendations and reviews, and tends to show search results that feature reviews and ratings. Google My Business reviews are becoming a significant factor for SEO; they not only affect your customers, but they also affect your organic search ranking. And every business knows that ranking well in organic search results is a significant asset.
Google often shows star ratings (based on reviews) in search results. A 2017 study found that these review stars improved click-through rates up to 35%. Google My Business reviews are often more trusted, simply because Google has more power to verify the credibility of the reviews. If someone tries to work the system and post fake reviews, Google has ways to discover that. But if someone tries to do it on a site like Yelp, for example, Google can only hope that Yelp manages the situation.
When a search is performed for local search terms, at the top of the search results is a map with a list of local businesses. This is called the “local pack” and is a valuable online real estate for local businesses. Google My Business reviews are closely tied to positioning in this local pack as one of Google’s key factors in determining who ranks and who doesn’t.
When users conduct a Google search, paid advertising results often show up at the top and bottom of the page. That’s not surprising since Google owns the world’s largest display advertising network. If your company wants to run Google Ad campaigns, Google reviews help with your seller ratings, which give an extra boost to campaigns. In addition, adding your star ratings can help you see an increase of 20-30% in clicks.
As you can see, collecting Google My Business reviews is well worth your time and effort. But are you wondering how to get a review on Google (or several reviews)? Here are 10 ways:
The first step in tapping into the power of Google My Business reviews is to claim or add your listing. Many companies still haven’t done this.
The number one way to get more reviews is more simple than many companies think: just ask. If you give your customers a good experience, they are often willing to share it. Too many businesses neglect to take advantage of this valuable resource. (NOTE: Customers will need a Google account to leave a review.)
There are several ways to ask for reviews. Brick and mortar businesses can ask on-site with a tablet already set up. You can use email campaigns, via SMS, or on social media. Don’t shun traditional methods, like phone calls or face to face requests. Using a variety of communication channels will allow you to reach and gather reviews from more of your customers.
Many customers are open to writing a review, but not if it’s a pain. No one wants to jump through multiple hoops or screens just to leave their opinion. Make the process as simple as possible, and you’re more likely to get more reviews. For example, share a link to your Google My Business page in emails, on your social profiles, and on your website.
Consumers expect more of a dialogue with businesses than in the past. If people know that your company is paying attention to reviews (even the negative ones), they will be more likely to leave them. Many customers not only read your Google My Business reviews, but they also read your responses to those reviews. Responding to positive reviews can be as simple as a thank you. Negative reviews may be a little trickier, but ignoring them may hurt you. A recent study showed that 51.7% of customers who leave a negative online review expect a response in seven days or less.
You have to be careful how you ask for reviews with certain review sites, but Google wants you to ask and get more reviews. After all, it makes their searches more valuable to users. You can offer a coupon or discount for those who leave a review. For example, an appliance repair business could offer 10% off the price of service if a customer leaves an honest Google review.
Adding a simple call to action in your default email signature can garner several reviews on its own. Add a link to something like: Have feedback for us? Leave a review on Google. This is a great tactic because it takes little effort on your part.
To make it as easy as possible to leave a Google My Business review, educate your customers on how to do it. Don’t assume that they know. Instructions could be in the form of a printout next to the register that outlines the different steps to take, a PDF you link to in an email, or a blog post or separate page on your website. Step-by-step instructions make leaving a review much less daunting, especially for those who may not be as tech savvy.
Don’t underestimate the power of timing in getting more Google reviews. Pick the right moments, when customers are more likely to be in a frame of mind to leave you positive feedback. Some good times to ask for reviews include:
There are several third-party tools that can make gathering Google My Business reviews simpler for both you and your customers. They are widely used and can offer several convenient benefits, including:
Shopper Approved is one of the most robust review and distribution tools out there. Their simple, cloud-based application curates ratings, reviews, and video testimonials from verified customers, then distributes the collected reviews across a wide network that includes Google and many more sites.
Gather more Google My Business reviews with these 10 tactics, and start enjoying the many benefits. But if it feels like a lot to do on your own, Shopper Approved can help you get started right away. When it comes to how to get Google reviews, there is no easier solution. Start your 30-day risk-free trial today—no credit card, no obligations, no contracts. If you’re not satisfied, you can cancel at any time.