How To Use Google Reviews To Maximise Results

For local businesses, it’s no longer enough to just rank in the results. Your businesses presence in the SERPs has to stand out in order to attract possible new customers. Reviews play a critical part in a business’s ability to differentiate from the competition and can impact their rankings. So lets take a closer look at how to use Google Reviews to maximise your local business.

The Impact from Reviews:

  • Listings with reviews instantly stand out as they have the golden stars left from reviews.
  • Google showcases your reviews in the branded Knowledge Panel and also adds review highlights.
  • Google also features a section of reviews around the web giving your total reviews and average rating, which means if you have reviews from other third-party sites (or even on your website) then your Knowledge Panel will expand further.
  • Reviews can bring in more business and provide valuable feedback for your business.

What You Need to Know

While other review sites discourage businesses from growing their reviews, Google wants you to grow yours as much as possible. However, they do want you to be ethical in the methods/ways you use to acquire more reviews.

Content Policies from Google

  • You cannot pay for review or bribe a customer to leave a review.
  • You cannot review gate – if you are using a any review platform or review software to encourage customer feedback, you have to provide all users the option to leave online reviews. No moving the negative/unhappy experiences to a different landing page.
  • You cannot review your own business.
  • You cannot post a negative review about an ex-employer.
  • You cannot post a harmful review about a competitor.
  • Read all of the guidelines here.

How to Ask for Google Reviews

If you aren’t already asking your clients for reviews, here are a few suggestions to help you grow your Google Maps and Google My Business reviews.

Ask via an Email:

Create your own email template asking for your customers/clients to leave you a review and link to your GMB listing. Things to consider

  • Consider including a question within your subject – “Hey Joe, could you please leave us a review?”
  • Make sure you take the time to personalise the email and incorporate the customer/clients name.
  • Make how you ask for a review even better, by encouraging customers to leave specifics and keywords in their reviews. This may help with your rankings as Google is trying to learn everything it can about your business and associate those topics/keywords with your business.

Here’s an example of a template you could use as a starting point:

Hello [Customer Name]

It was a pleasure to work on this project with you. Thank you for your business!

Online reviews from great customers like you help others to feel more confident about choosing {business name) and will really help us to grow. Could you possibly take 60 seconds to leave us a review on [review site]? Here’s a [direct link].

Are you wondering what to write about?

The best reviews offer a lot of detail and a helpful tip or two, for others considering our businesses services. Here are some questions that might give you some ideas about what to write about:

      • What service did we complete for you?
      • What location did you have this service at? (That might help you get your city into the review.)
      • How did we do?
      • What did/do you like about working with us?
      • Have you tried any other products or services?
      • Did you work with any specific people you’d like to mention?
      • How do we compare to other services you have tried?
      • Are there any tips you would offer others about our business?

I would really appreciate your review. The more detail you can provide the better, but we’d love a shortened punch review just as well if you’re short on time or inspiration. Thank you in advance for helping us out.

[Your Name]

Email Signature

How To Use Google Reviews To Maximise Results

Ideas for where you might place your review link:

  • You could add it to your email signature.
  • Send it in your review email.
  • Have it on your website.
  • Text it to customers who opt-in to receive texts from your business.
  • Add it to receipts.
Use a Review Platform

There are lots of software options on the market to help you grow and manage your reputation. Depending on your business model, asking directly may be the best option. However, for businesses that need to scale their review asks, want a benchmark and to increase general feedback while automating the ask process, then a review platform may be the best option.

Encourage Reviews by Showcasing Other Customers Experiences

Google also offers another free tool, Marketing Kit with Google, to create marketing materials from elements of your Business Profile. Share your customer reviews on your listing, create posters, stickers (follow us, review us, book with us on Google), social media posts, and more. Showcasing your reviews encourages others to review your business, offers social proof and it’s really easy to use.

Respond to Your Reviews

Respond to reviews that are both negative and positive in GMB. Check out this post for ideas if you’re not sure how to respond or need a little inspiration. Companies who respond to reviews enjoy better ratings, see their SEO’s positive impacts, and their responses help set the tone for future clients. Google wants you to reply and respond to reviews which is why business owners have expanded the options available to respond quickly, and from many different apps and locations.

Where You Can Reply to Google Reviews:
  • Go to the Google My Business Desktop Dashboard – sign in to your google account and click on the reviews section and select reply to any review.
  • If you manage multiple locations, the sidebar of your dashboard also has a centralised manage reviews section that allows you to manage all the reviews for all your locations.
  • From your branded Knowledge Panel (Business Profile) in search results so long as you are logged in to the Google account that manages your business listing, you can click on Reviews in the Knowledge Panel and select reply to any of the reviews showing there.
  • The Google My Business App on mobile devices also allows you to respond under the Customers tab. Again, simply select the review and then type in your reply on behalf of the business.
  • Google Maps on Desktop as of February 13, 2019 you can respond to any review directly in Google Maps. Just search in the maps for your business name, click Reviews, and click Reply next to the review that you would like to answer.

Google strongly encourages both business owners and users to increase their participation in reviews. For businesses that are heavily pushing review responses and review requests. We have even recently found suggested responses for when a user leaves a rating and suspects that it will most likely be extended to full reviews also. For users, Google is pushing adding photos to reviews, giving prompts and asking “what do you like about this place” when leaving a review, and even sharing stats to Maps users on their contributions. These features further reinforce that Google places importance on Google reviews.

Additional Tips for Review Management
  • There are issues relating to spam regulation and fake reviews in Google My Business knowing this is important, but not every negative review is a fake or spam review. If you’re proactive about managing your online reputation then increasing your online reviews will be simpler, and getting more positive, real customer feedback that will outnumber any fake reviews.
  • Be consistent with your request for reviews and feedback.
  • People don’t want your business to be perfect, we don’t live in a 5-star world. Between 3 and 5 stars is fantastic. Try to remember this in your quest for the best rating for your Business.
See more How To's on Google My Business

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