Google reviews matter to your business. Perhaps more than you realise.
Did you know, for example, that Google factors reviews into its local ranking algorithm? So while good reviews on Google improve your reputation, they also help you get an edge over your competitors in local search rankings.
The Google My Business website says: ”More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices apply.”
It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are no fees to leave reviews or respond to them.
Using Google reviews in your local marketing strategy
According to a local consumer review survey conducted in the US, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020. This is an increase of 6% compared to 2019.
“Star ratings” and “legitimacy” were the most important review factors, followed by “recency”, “sentiment” and “quantity”.
The survey also showed that in 2020 vs 2019:
- positive reviews made people more likely to use a business
- negative reviews made them less likely to use a business
- consumers were more likely to trust reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family
The survey also highlighted what actions consumers took after reading a positive review for a local business. They:
- Visited the business’s website
- Searched for more reviews
- Visited the business’s location
- Continued searching for other businesses
- Contacted the business
When you consider that Google has so much influence in our lives – from search to advertising and navigation to news – it’s not surprising that Google reviews can affect your business’s performance in the broader Google ecosystem.
The other part comes from the reviews you get on Google. These reviews cancel the noise of the marketing and present a transparent kind of social proof of how your business is perceived by those who have interacted with it in some way. Whether they’ve had a new website designed, stayed in a hotel room or had a meal at a local restaurant.
Google reviews matter for SEO
It’s important to remember that those who find your website probably reach it via a Google search, having typed in keywords related to the type of service or product you provide. And whether you have reviews or not will have an impact on the way these search results are delivered. Especially with regards to local SEO.
Remember, Google’s aim is to deliver the most relevant results for local searches. So the way a business is perceived by others helps it to deliver this information.
The more positive reviews you get from your Google business listing, the higher you will rank on the search engine results pages.
In a nutshell, good reviews can boost your search engine optimisation.
Local results for Google searches and Google Maps show a star rating and may even include a snippet of the review. More than just the rankings benefits, online reviews are important because they:
- increase the visibility of your business by building your brand
- provide a good source of testimonials
- build trust with your prospects (even if you respond appropriately to a negative review it shows your integrity)
Asking your customers for reviews is easier than you think
Before being able to get reviewed on Google, your business must have a verified Google My Business listing.
Before verifying your business listing familiarise yourself with Google’s Terms of Service and ensure your business has a “place” on Google Maps.
Just follow the steps in the video below to set up your free listing:
Once your account has been set up with all your correct business information and your listing has been verified, you’re all set to start asking your customers for reviews.
The easiest ways to get Google reviews
You can let your customers know that it’s quick to post a review using their mobile device or computer. Here are five of the easiest ways to generate Google reviews for your business.
1. Create a Google review shortcut link from your Google My Business profile
From within your Google My Business profile, click on the “Share review form” button to get the shortcut link. Share it via email, WhatsApp or SMS.
2. Create a link from your website
Your website is likely the go-to place a customer will use to post a review of your business. So make it easy for them by adding a call to action. You can use a text link or a button that links directly to the review section on your Google My Business profile.
3. Create a Google reviews page on your website
You can create a new page on your website dedicated to testimonials and reviews. The page can include a selection of your best reviews and a call to action to write a review.
Reviews are likely to contain keywords relevant to your business, so include these in text form (not screenshots) to ensure that Google crawlers can “read”. It’s great for SEO.
4. Add a button to your website
The button (such as the one below) can be added to the footer section of your website. It’s eye-catching and easy to implement.
5. Include a Google review link in your email signature
If you’re in regular email contact with a customer, adding a link to review your business on Google in your email signature is a great way to reach out and “ask” for a review. A text link such as “Let others know about [company name]” is one such example.
How we ask customers to review us on Google
One of the ways we ask new customers for a review is via our feedback form. Our form is designed with Google Forms.
From the form, we invite customers to post a review on Google using the link to our Google My Business listing. Once they click on the link, the form opens up, making it so easy for them to review us.
If you don’t ask for reviews, you won’t get any!
It’s a good practice to build asking for reviews into your customer satisfaction surveys. Remember, customers trust what other customers have to say.
There are many other ways to start generating Google reviews. But start by using the five methods above.
You will be more likely to get more reviews on your listing and benefit from the ranking and reputation spin-offs.
Finally, always reply to reviews to build your customers’ trust. Doing this will show your customers that your business values their input – and they may leave more reviews in the future. And if you have some negative reviews to deal with, use these best practices.
• This post was updated on 16 April 2021 with fresh survey data, new links and images0