[Updated December 2020]
Why are Google reviews important?
People who search for businesses and places close to where they’re located are shown local results on Google Search and Maps. An example of this is a “near me” search on a mobile device by someone who’s out shopping and looking for somewhere nearby to get a great cup of coffee. They search for “great coffee near me”, and are shown a list of coffee places close by, with business profile snapshots for each one, including customer reviews, and an overall rating.
For the purposes of this quick guide to getting more Google reviews, the first question is – is this important? The answer is yes! They contribute to your trustworthiness and authority in the marketplace. Google says:
Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.
You business profile information is operated through your Google My Business account. Creating and optimising your Google My Business listing plays a key role in improving your local rankings. See Google’s page of general information about this.
When prospects search for your business, they are attracted to what others have said about you – both positive and negative. You definitely should get into the habit of responding to all reviews. When you react to a customer complaint in a review with a prompt, sensible reply, this can go down with your audience as well as an all-star review. Google also sends your reviewer a notification that you have replied to their review, which helps boost your reputation.
Ideally, you want customers who’ve had a good experience with you to leave a review on Google! There are ways you can make this easier for them by supplying them with a link that takes them directly to your reviews without fuss and bother, so they can make their own contribution.
Provide a link for customers to view my Google reviews and create their own review (desktop)
I recommend the following way of obtaining a custom link you can send to customers for them to leave your business a review on Google. Why? This method may seem a bit long-winded, however, the benefit is it allows your customers to read the other reviews before they add one of their own by clicking on the blue “Write a review” button.
- This assumes that you have created a Google My Business account, and verified your business profile. Especially make sure you enter your business information correctly – take your time!
- Search for your business on Google.
- In the knowledge panel (the box of info that appears on the right of page 1 of search results), click on the number of reviews – it’s a link.
- Copy the url from the top browser address bar. It’ll be very long.
- Paste this link into a free url shortening tool like Bit.ly. As an example, the Sentence Case one is: https://bit.ly/2Yr3EIG
- Send your link to your customers (note that you’re not allowed to solicit reviews by offering favours, discounts etc).
You can also use this method to get a custom link to your reviews for your location on Google Maps. The only difference is to search for your business on Google Maps in point 2, above, instead of ordinary search.
Another option is to use the box “Get more reviews” (on the Home page of your Google My Business profile) to share a review form with customers. This requires you to create a short link for your business. There have been technical issues with this process reported by users in the past. This issue may have been resolved by now. It’s up to you to make a decision.
This is a quick method to send a customer a link to write a review. It works on mobile and desktop, but customers cannot see the other reviews with this method. Still, it’s an easy option!
On my Android phone I searched for my business “Sentence Case NZ” in the Chrome browser, and logged into the account I use to manage my Google My Business profile.
Among other options, this provides me with the ability to share a Google review form (see image).
Clicking on this results in a pop-up box with the following message:
Sentence Case NZ would love your feedback. Post a review to our profile. https://g.page/r/CRqAHOwDNA1SEBE/review
Copy and share your version of this message with your customers – in an email, for example.
If you’re feeling ambitious and want to use the place-ID method instead, here’s how.
Using this method, the link to send someone to read Sentence Case’s reviews and create their review, would look like this:
And as at December 2020, this has the advantage of working on all devices!
Other things you can do in Google My Business to help your local rankings:
- Create Google posts
- Make use of the Insights, especially search queries reports.
- Questions and Answers containing keywords relating to your local business are good for rankings.
- Allow your customers to message you directly through your Google profile. Use the Google My Business app on mobile, log in, go to Customers tab, and turn Messaging on.