Google reviews are important to your SEO strategy, your brand’s reputation, and towards the goal of increasing your conversions or leads.
The online reputation of your business is everything in today’s world.
Having worked in the reputation management industry helping enterprise clients such as AXA, Allianz and ADT to collect and market their reviews, I’d like to throw my experience into the ring on how you can collect both more reviews and higher-quality reviews.
Getting more reviews for your Google My Business doesn’t need to be complicated.
If you have customers and a great product or service, you can start collecting reviews today.
Let’s dive on in.
Imagine you run a search in Google and find a local listing on Google Map’s 3 pack that shows three different businessess:
All things considered equal, which result are you going to click?
You’re picking up the phone, getting directions or heading straight over to Business A’s website.
Reviews can simply help your business to stand out in the results as well.
Here’s a great example of some law firms ranking in the Google’s Local 3 Pack, without any reviews:
Just collecting a few 5-star reviews could easily make any of these three businesses stand out, as 90%+ of the queries for this result have no reviews.
Outside of your online reputation, building trust, and driving conversions, why do Google reviews matter so much?
Google reviews can have a direct impact on:
The keywords that user’s naturally leave in their reviews will help to increase keyword relevancy of terms related to your business, which will in turn help you to rank for additional keywords.
According to Moz, Google Reviews act as a ranking signal and account for 15% of the total Google Local Pack ranking factor.
If you collect reviews either via Google My Business or a third-party platform, you can mark-up those reviews with schema markup and display them in Google’s organic search results to help increase click-through-rates.
Collecting more 5-star Google reviews is only a win-win for your business.
Those who don’t ask, don’t receive.
This saying even applies to online reviews.
The easiest way to start collecting reviews is by asking your customers.
Sure, sometimes customers will naturally come to your Google My Business profile and drop you a review – especially if they had a negative experience.
But you’re missing out on a ton of opportunity if you’re not surveying your customers and asking them for a review of your product or service.
If you’re just getting started, you can easily copy the review link to your Google My Business profile and send it out to users manually via email.
The great thing about using this link is it instantly pops up the review dialogue box after the user clicks the link (assuming that they’re signed into Google already):
There’s a ton of manual ways to actually get the review link for your Google My Business profile.
Those all work, but if you’re running on Chrome simply down the GatherUp Google Review Link Generator extension and all the heavy lifting will be done for you.
Navigate to your Google My Business profile, click the GatherUp plugin from your top Chrome menu bar and that’s it:
You can drop this link into a URL shortner if you want to make it look pretty, or even better, to send out requests via SMS.
Take these links, craft hand-written emails to your customer’s that had a great experience and ask for their feedback.
It’s that easy.
Looking for an automated solution, there’s a ton of third-party review platforms that will help you to handle this entire process.
Third-party review platforms will allow you not only to collect reviews for Google My Business, but also on other platforms as well such as Yelp, Facebook, and so forth.
GatherUp does a great job of this.
These solutions can be great if you want to collect reviews on multiple platforms, and split your reviews between two or three sources:
Once you sign-up for a platform, it’s normally as easy as exporting your customer data (or integrating via API), dropping it into the application, customize your email sequence.
Press send, and start collecting.
It’s not just about asking once, but it’s all about the follow-up.
We’re all busy in our day-to-day lives, and not everyone’s going to reply from your initial request.
It’s important to follow-up at least two times with your past customers asking them for their feedback:
You don’t want to be annoying with the requests, but it normally can take a few tries to get a response.
If you’re planning to collect reviews via email outreach and have a handful of customers, you can probably manage this process manually via a spreadsheet or a tool like Boomerang for Gmail.
Manual review outreach can be a bit tedious for higher volumes, so the easiest way to automate an email sequence is by using a third-party review collection software that will automate the entire campaign process.
One big benefit to using third-party review collection software is that you can easily automate the process also via SMS:
Sending review requests via text message generally yields better results as normally people are getting bombarded with emails on a daily basis.
Believe it or not, asking for reviews via text is still not a (super) common practice.
If you’re selling a product or service online, collecting reviews through your website itself can be very effective.
Additionally, you should consider the timing of when you send the review request to your customers.
This use case can be super effective when the customer goes through a process such as filing an insurance claim, or submitting a real estate inquiry such as listing their property on your platform.
If you want to learn how customer’s buying experience was, their interaction with your website, and the support they’ve received prior to receiving their product or service, you can serve them a review right after the transaction or sign-up has occurred.
You’ll definitely see a lower survey completion rate when using this method, as some customers will wait until they’ve tried the product or service, but it can be effective for collecting some quality reviews quickly – especially if there’s a lag time between receiving your product.
The process here is the same as outlined above – grab your review link from the GatherUp chrome extension, and drop it behind a button or as you see fit.
On the other hand, if you want to collect a review after the customer has already had the chance to use your product or service, you’ll want to serve them the review request at the right-time during the feedback loop.
If you’re selling a product and customers generally don’t have a reason to come back on to your website post-purchase, and you want feedback on the product itself, you’re better off going with review collection via email or SMS.
You can also take the Google My Business review link and embed it behind a widget and display it on site:
Using the Rich Plugins Google Reviews Widget for WordPress users, you can easily embed a widget on-site.
Not only does this build trust and rapport for your brand, but allows users to easily click on your Google rating (or Facebook and Yelp) to easily leave a review.
Using the power of QR codes on print advertising is a very effective way to bolster your Google reviews.
There are so many ways that you can implement QR codes into your already existing processes.
If you send printed receipts with your products, you can include the code on the receipt and incentivize the review with a coupon code or discount on a next purchase.
Restaurants can print QR codes on their receipts.
Customers serving B2B clients can add a QR code to their invoice they send, asking for a review.
The possibilities here are endless, and QR codes are another great touchpoint in the feedback collection process.
To get a QR code setup for your Google My Business account, the process looks as such:
That’s it – pretty easy to implement!
Another great use case for those that have an in-store experience – collecting Google reviews via a mobile device.
Assume that you’re dining at a local restaurant, where you’ve just had a great meal, and at the end of your dining experience the waiter asks if you’d kindly leave a review.
This is not going to be super effective if the waiter simply asks.
But if they present you with a restaurant-sponsored tablet or mobile device on the spot, you’re much more likely to leave a review right there on the spot.
There’s plenty of SaaS solutions out there on the market that achieve just this.
Normally, you’ll first leave a review using the third-party’s review software on the tablet device, as with Google Reviews you’d need to actually log in to your account first before leaving the review – which most people won’t be too keen on doing for security and privacy concerns.
But during the review process, the survey will ask for an email where you’ll later receive an email asking you to leave a review on Yelp, GMB, etc.
This doesn’t just apply to the food and beverage industry.
There’s tons of ways any business with in-store customer contact can utilize tablets and mobile devices to collect reviews.
Collecting reviews in-store and in-person can be a super-effective method to bolstering your Google reviews.
When potential customers are browsing your Google My Business profile, it will certainly stand out if you’re responding to the reviews that customers have left.
You should always respond to all reviews and engage with your customer’s reviews, whether it’s a positive or a negative review.
By responding to reviews, you’re actually encouraging other customers to leave reviews as they see that you’re engaging with your customers and their feedback.
This is especially true for negative reviews.
Customers want to see that you’re taking recourse to resolve issues that have came up with your product or service.
If you’re not familiar with Google My Business and responding to reviews already, check out this quick guide on how to respond to Google reviews.
Justin is the Founder of Rock The Rankings and has over 13 years of experience in the realm of SEO across multiple business ventures and agencies.
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