We all know the significance of Google in our lives. Over the last two decades, the search engine has become the go-to site for anything and everything information. Google reviews are extremely important for the functioning of a business, irrespective of how successful it is at the moment and how genuine your brand’s messaging seems to be. If you haven’t started focusing on Google Business Reviews, now is the time to change that narrative.
Knowing how much value your potential customers place in Google reviews, the search engine factors in both the quality as well as quantity of the reviews your business receives into its local ranking algorithm. A survey reported that 88% of people placed their trust in online reviews as much as a personal recommendations. An average customer reads a minimum of 10 reviews before making a decision.
Additionally, Google rewards businesses that are reviewed often and reviewed positively. The company has confirmed that this aspect is a definite local SEO ranking factor on the search engine. Google also charges nothing for customers to leave reviews and for businesses to respond. Positive reviews for your business serve as free Google advertising, and receiving positive endorsement on the world’s most trusted platform can contribute enormously to growing your business.
Therefore, it is imperative to have positive Google reviews and a continuous inflow of them since dated reviews don’t always work out in your favor.
Now that you’re aware of how crucial positive customer reviews are for your business let’s understand the basics first. Listed below are a few steps that you must complete before you can start receiving Google reviews.
1. Get Well Versed With Google’s Policies
Since you’re seeking reviews on Google’s platform, it is important to follow the company’s Terms of Service before requesting reviews on your business. One of the terms is that your business should refrain from offering any rewards and asking your customers whether they had a positive or a negative experience while using your product/service.
2. Your Business Needs to Appear As a “Place” On Google Maps
Once your business is listed as a place on Google Maps, it will give you a business profile and visibility on Google’s public forum for customers to spot your business.
3. Get Your Business Profile Verified By Google
This is the last step before customers can provide feedback on your business via reviews. Once your business is listed as a Business Profile, you’d be required to create a Google My Business account and proceed to verify ownership of your Business Profile through that account.
These are significant steps that need to be addressed because they not only act as the prerequisites to getting more Google reviews but also pave a path for you to manage and respond to the reviews, whether positive or negative, given by your customers.
Now that you’ve understood the primary requirements, here are 15 strategies to increase Google reviews for your business –
1. Add a Google Reviews Link on All Your Business Channels
Adding a link on all channels makes it much easier for your customer to leave a Google review. Add it to your brand’s business website on a dedicated reviews page and in the website’s footer. You could fill your reviews page up with screenshots, but the best alternative is putting them in text form. Reviews are key-rich words; therefore, involving them on your reviews screen ensures that Google’s algorithm can pick up on them, making it a great small business SEO strategy.
You could also include it on your social media channels, email signatures, newsletters sent to your customers, and survey forms.
This saves the customer’s time and makes them appreciate your efforts because you, as a business, are making things easier for them. They’d be more than happy to oblige if your product/service satisfied them.
2. Create a Short Link to Add It to All Your Business Channels
The link produced is a string of characters that are usually an eyesore. Use free link shorteners on the web that aid in shortening and even personalizing the review link to add to the readability quotient for the customer.
3. Use QR Codes to Link Review Pages
In today’s world, almost every individual has access to a mobile phone, making it incredibly prevalent. This translates to every consumer being able to scan a QR code and jump to the site it links to. As a business, printing your QR code on receipts, promotional materials, or any other place where the customer is likely to see it is a sure-shot way to urge your customer to leave reviews.
4. Encourage Satisfied Customers to Leave a Review
One of the critical steps to achieving positive Google reviews is encouraging your satisfied customers to leave a review. You can provide them with a direct link to your Google business listing. This makes it easy for them to leave a review without searching for your listing.
You can also include a call to action on your website and in-store materials, asking customers to leave a review. It could be as simple as including a link to your Google listing on your website or as complex as creating a dedicated landing page for reviews.
5. Follow Up With Customers
Follow up with your customers after they have completed their purchase. There are various ways to do this – send an email or give them a call enquiring if their experience with your brand was satisfactory and if they’d be willing to write a review.
This is another recommended way to increase positive Google reviews and goes a long way in building rapport with your customer.
6. Make the Process Easy
You’re asking for your customer’s time in return for a review. This means it has to be a seamless process. This includes providing clear instructions and a link to your listing.
Ensure your business information is exact and up-to-date on your Google listing to make it easy for customers to find and review your business. This can include your business name, address, phone number, and website.
7. Respond to Negative Reviews
You will always receive negative reviews no matter how good of a business you run. However, note that these reviews allow your business to showcase its customer service skills.
You also need to be mindful to respond professionally and politely, which in turn, shows your potential customers that you care and are willing to go that extra mile to make things right.
When responding to negative reviews, be sure to address the specific concerns raised by the customer and offer a solution. Be empathetic, and apologize if necessary. This can turn a negative review into a positive one and show potential customers you value customer service.
8. Create An Explainer Video
Sometimes, a shortcut link does not suffice and does not necessarily lead to your customers writing a Google Review. You could change this by creating a simple explainer video on How to Leave a Google Review for your business. There are ample tools available on the web that enable small companies to create quick DIY at-home marketing videos and go that extra mile to persuade their customers to leave a review.
Here’s an example of how efficiently you can make your explainer videos –
9. Diversify Platforms On Which You Can Get Reviewed On
As the saying goes, Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, the same can be applied to your brand’s reviews. It is good that your business is getting reviews from customers on Google, but plenty of customers use other outlets for studies, such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, etc. Therefore, the reviews on your business will look purchased and superficial if users see a ton of it on Google and none on other portals.
It is essential to allow the user to choose the site per their wishes. Chances are you will find users going the extra distance and posting reviews of your business on multiple websites.
10. Keep Your Google Reviews As Organic As Possible
The primary goal of Google reviews is you’re trying to promote the truth. And the truth will only be reflected if the reviews on your Google Business Profile look legitimate. Long-time internet users know how to spot a fake review from a real one. Factors such as writing reviews of your business from your account or buying reviews from the accounts that leave purchased reviews are clear signs you’re hiding something from your customers.
For your business to thrive, you need to ensure complete transparency, which will only be achieved if your product/service satisfies your customer’s needs, which would translate to a positive review.
11. Create “Leave Us A Review” Cards to Encourage Customer Reviews
Only some strategies to encourage positive reviews require them to take shape online. This idea of creating leave-behind cards is an offline method of garnering more Google reviews. This is where the shortcut links from point #2 come into play.
Your choice of words on these physical cards carries a lot of value in rendering a response from your customer. Use words that are simple and concise in delivering the desired message. Here’s an example of how you could design your card –
“Hello there! Please review us on Google! Your valuable review helps others like you to find our business. Your feedback also equips us with a better understanding of how we could serve you better or continue serving you best. So please leave a review and give us a rating at bit.ly/buzzproof. Thank you!”
12. Promote Public Testimonials
Every business will inevitably receive ill-conceived reviews. These reviews, as mentioned before, give you an opportunity to display your customer service skills. But, conversely, what do you do when they’re positive? You cannot post that private feedback on a public forum without the reviewer’s permission. Instead, encourage them to post their reviews on public platforms such as Google Business Profile or other sites.
This brings the positive feedback spoken in a private setting into the view of public eyes, where it has got the potential to contribute to your business’ growth.
13. Leave Reviews for Other Businesses
More often than not, reviews work both ways. Your business doesn’t need to get all its reviews from its customers. What most companies do is leverage their partners in the industry to widen their visibility.
What you can do is leave reviews on their business pages. While this doesn’t guarantee a 100% success rate, you will occasionally see those same businesses leaving a review on your business page. This is an excellent method to increase your visibility on public platforms and develop professional relationships with other firms.
14. Promote Your Positive Reviews
Promote the positive reviews your business receives on all your channels, especially on your social media accounts. Living in an age where our content consumption is at an all-time high on digital platforms, users are more likely to be browsing the different social media websites out there for this reason. Sharing the positive feed your business receives offers potential customers a glimpse into what others are saying about your brand.
This goes a long way in helping build credibility and trust in the minds of your potential customers.
15. Prioritize Google Reviews
Google reviews are critical to your brand’s growth and can pay higher dividends for your company, such as higher rankings on Google search results and strengthened leads. Therefore, it becomes important for you to assign personnel exclusively to the reviews your company receives, be it online or offline, and handles it from end to end. This includes but is not necessarily limited to the following –
- Creating and managing the review process across the company
- Monitoring the influx of new reviews
- Timely response to negative and positive reviews received across multiple review platforms
- Escalating poor customer experiences and negative reviews to the appropriate team for immediate resolution
- Following up with customers following the resolution of a dispute
What could also attract additional eyes and valuable weightage to your business on a public platform such as Google is by converting a negative review into a positive one. Your company will inevitably receive criticism, but if you can address it quickly and turn it around into a positive one, there is nothing like it in the eyes of your prospective customer.
These are just some tips and strategies that will help your business attract a higher volume of positive Google reviews, which in turn will help improve the business’s visibility to potential customers. Having said that, positive reviews will only arrive if your business focuses on providing products/services of exceptional quality to its customers. Another important thing you must remember is to follow the guidelines of the platform you use for review collection and promotion.
So, keep your foot on the pedal and don’t take your eyes off the goal until you’ve tried every available method to shine on Google with as many 5-star ratings as possible.
While Google reviews are one of the best methods to attract new customers, another tried and tested method of maximizing your brand’s reach is through video testimonial platforms. So first, collect video testimonials from your clients the easy way. Then, reach out to our experts, and we’d be happy to aid you in extending the reach of your business in more ways than one!