Many strong local businesses struggle to reach the top three Google search results. Birdeye has helped over 150,000 local businesses and several agencies achieve this. Our experts find that Google reviews often impact search rankings more than commonly perceived.

Birdeye research discovered that “search engine” and “customer review sites” are two of the most influential research channels for customers. Google is the largest search engine and enjoys the biggest piece of this attention. In fact, according to a Birdeye report, 71% of all customer reviews are written on Google

The sooner your business invests in a strategy to get more Google reviews, the faster you will see results. But, more often than not, we see businesses struggling to establish a presence on Google and generate regular reviews. 
If that sounds familiar to you, this blog is your essential guide. From acquiring Google reviews, understanding their mechanics, to leveraging them through response strategies and handling negative feedback, we have it all for you.

Chapter 1: Google reviews explained

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Here’s why Google reviews matter for your business.

What are Google reviews?

Google reviews are online reviews that customers leave on your Google Business Profile about their experiences with you. When someone looks up your business on Google or Google Maps, they can see the reviews and ratings your existing customers have left for your business. 

How do Google reviews work?

Here is a simple breakdown of how Google review works: 

  • Customers want to share their experience with a business on Google. They either use the customized Google reviews link the business sent them or manually look up the business on Search or Maps. 
  • They write a review on the business’s Google Business Profile. 
  • The review goes live on Search and Maps, enabling other potential customers to identify the best service provider for their needs. 
  • Businesses can also leverage Google reviews to boost their online reputation.

Where to read Google reviews?

The reviews your business receives show up in three places on Google:

1. Google knowledge panel

When a user looks up your business, Google offers a digital card-like presentation via Google knowledge panel from the information in your Google Business Profile. This is unique to each business location and displays customer reviews as well. 

An example of Birdeye's Google knowledge panel

If Google users search for something like “plumber near me,” they’ll see something like this.

An example of a Google 3-Pack results for local search

This is called the Google 3-Pack or Local Map Pack. The Map Pack includes top three local businesses based on relevancy, prominence, and proximity to the user. The view also displays Google reviews and average rating for each of these businesses. 

Google reviews are also available to view on Google Maps. When a customer searches for a nearby business, they can scroll down on the listing to view the ratings and reviews the business has received so far. 

google reviews guide

Why Google reviews are important

At Birdeye’s user conference, Ben Fisher, a Google Diamond expert, emphasized the importance of Google’s platform, where 91% of searches occur. He advised local businesses to focus on building a stronger Google presence to spur growth, starting with garnering Google reviews. 

A recent survey by Birdeye showed that 92% of respondents read two or more reviews before forming an opinion about a business. Moreover, 50% of respondents mention reading 5 or more reviews. 

According to the same survey, 67% of customers research a business’s reputation before purchasing.

Here are a few ways Google reviews play an instrument role in building a strong online reputation: 

Google reviews help improve your search ranking

Google considers reviews to determine the relevancy of your local business for search results. The more reviews your business has, the higher your chances of featuring higher in local search results. Reviews also tell the search engine what your business does and how it differs from your competitors. 

For example, if your reviews constantly mention “easy payment options”, “great customer experience”, Google is more likely to choose your business over others that don’t.

Read more about Google reviews and SEO with our detailed guide here.

For instance, a business can have an overall rating of 5 stars but only 3 reviews. That’s not a very big sample size, so it’s hard to tell if this business is actually providing great services or if those 3 reviewers are just outliers.

Google reviews help increase trust and credibility

Many people trust Google, so when they see your business has good reviews on Google, that transfer of trust allows them to believe in your credibility more easily. The more reviews you have, the easier it is for potential customers to understand that others support and trust your business.

Google reviews helps businesses gain customer insights

Honest customer feedback in the form of reviews can be a great source of actionable business insights. Insights like what customers liked or didn’t like about your business, obtained from Google reviews, can help inform business decisions and fuel growth.

Google reviews influence purchase decision

Local search and product search are two of Google’s most searched categories. If you are a retail business and have optimized your Google Business Profile for a particular product and location, you can show up for both types of searches.

According to a recent survey by Birdeye, 73% of respondents say that they searched for local restaurants in the last 12 months, while 47% of consumers searched for local retailers or healthcare providers. Also, 65% of respondents chose search engines like Google to be the place for local business recommendations. This makes Google reviews an important lead-generation tool for businesses.

Google reviews improve click-through rates on local search results

Businesses with a higher overall star rating tend to see up to a 35% higher click-through rate when featured in the Local Map 3-Pack results. A higher star rating also helps customers choose the best service possible, resulting in more traffic to your website and more attention from potential customers.

How to add business on Google Map | Google Business Listing
ultimate guide to online reviews guide

Google reviews improve click-through rate of Google Ads

Google allows businesses to display star ratings with their Google Ads via a program called Google Seller Ratings. This helps businesses display their star rating with the number of reviews they have, thus, improving the click-through rate (CRO) of their Google Ads. According to a study by Google, displaying star ratings of your business on Google Ads increases click-through rates by 17% on paid ads.

Example of an ad with Google Seller Ratings

That’s why it is so important to continuously add more reviews. Remember, Google uses reviews to understand the quality of your services. The more reviews you have, the higher the likelihood that your overall rating is an accurate depiction of your customer experience.

“We have seen an uptick in SERP placement for clients who increase their review solicitation by more than 25%, and Birdeye gives our clients a simpler way to manage their online reputation, empowering them to shape and enhance it.”

Sean Collier, COO, Etna Interactive

Chapter 2: How to get more Google reviews

How to get more Google reviews for your business 

Google is the largest search engine and handles the majority of local business searches. Hence, getting more Google reviews is critical for your online reputation management. Here are a few ways to significantly increase your review volume on Google: 

  • Set up and optimize your Google Business Profile 
  • Use customized Google reviews link 
  • Send review requests at the right time 
  • Keep it simple 
  • Empower your employees to collect Google reviews
  • Educate customers on how to write a Google reviews
  • Use a review management tool 

Sounds simple enough, right? Let us explore these steps in detail to know more. 

Set up and optimize your Google Business Profile 

A complete and verified Google Business Profile paves the way for getting consistent Google reviews for your business. So, if you don’t have one or haven’t claimed your listing yet, start there. 

If a customer is running a Google search for your business and an incomplete or unverified profile shows up, it might deter them from leaving a Google review. Verifying your Google Business Profile also allows you to respond to customer reviews and report fake reviews. 

By creating and verifying your business on Google, you’ll be able to control how customers see your business by deciding which information is displayed. You can read more about how you can verify your Google Business Profile in our in-depth article.

Google allows businesses to create a short and easy-to-send Google review request link from their Google Business Profile. Having a custom, short URL simplifies the review generation process and improves the chance of customers leaving a Google review. It also makes it easier to share your review requests in person and in marketing materials. 

How to create and share your a Google review link

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get a custom short link from your Google Business Profile.

Step 1: Sign in to your Google Business Profile account. You will start seeing the Profile you manage right within Google search.

Step 2: If you have a multi-location business, select the location you wish to create a review request link.

Step 3: Next, click on the tab labeled ‘Promote.’.

Step 4: Select ‘Ask for reviews’ from the available options.

Step 5: The URL that shows up next is the one that can be copied and sent to customers to write a review.

Step 6: (Optional) The link you get from the above process will look something like this – As you can see, it looks complicated. You may want to use a link shortener to make it look tidy before you send it to a customer. For example, see this shortened link – for the above URL.

You can now send this review link via any channel you and your customers prefer – email, SMS, or through direct messages (DMs) on any social media platform. 

Birdeye can reduce these steps for your customers by using deep-linking, which will take your customers right to your Google Business Profile, so you get more reviews automatically.

To know more about how to get a Google reviews link, check out our detailed guide. 

Send review requests at the right time 

Make sure you send review requests to all your customers on the same day as their purchase. The longer you wait, the more the memory fades, and your customers will be less likely to write a Google review for your business.

Keep it simple

Just like you, your customers are busy people who lead busy lives. If leaving a review requires too many steps, they probably won’t do it. That’s why businesses that ask for reviews in-person typically don’t see results. Most customers happily agree, then forget about it as soon as they walk out the door. Luckily, there’s an easier way: sending review requests through email and SMS. All your customers have to do is click the Google review link and leave a review.

In 2023, Avondale Toyota improved their review volume with Birdeye’s QR code. Giving customers a quick and efficient way to leave reviews turned out to be a huge success. On an average, the QR code saw 180 scans a month and tremendously increased the business’s review volume. 

Empower your employees to collect Google reviews

If your employees are spending face-to-face time with customers, allow them to send review requests via text and email. If customers have a personal relationship with the employee, they may be more inclined to leave a Google review.

Educate customers on how to write a Google review 

Not all customers are tech-savvy or aware of the process of writing a Google review. Businesses can generate a higher volume of Google reviews by bridging this knowledge gap. 

Include a simple video, instruction guide, or blog that simplifies the process and enables them to know the exact steps to follow with your review request. If you are using SMS to send the review request, use a link shortener to the GIF or video. 

Wondering what the actual process is? Jump to our sections on “How to write a Google review” and share it with your customers. 

Use a review management tool

There are several review management tools that can help you manage reviews. These tools can help you track reviews, respond to reviews, and promote your reviews. Birdeye is one of the most popular reputation management review tools to help you collect reviews seamlessly. 

Adding more reviews continuously is a great way to improve your business’s online reputation. By following these tips, you can make it easy for customers to leave reviews and increase your business’s click-through rates (CTRs).

How to automate getting Google reviews

Sending review requests to all your customers manually at the end of every business day can be a time-consuming and error-prone process.

That’s why we recommend that you automate the process of getting more reviews. Make review generation an essential part of your business practices, just like sending invoices.

An all-in-one reputation management software like Birdeye can handle that for you. Birdeye review requests make the process of writing a review even easier than not writing one with one-click review forms.

Birdeye is fully integrated with Google and helps you automate every step of the review collection process. In fact, Birdeye is one of the few companies integrated directly with Google’s private API, which vastly improves the collection process and review load times.

Birdeye customers on average, see an increase of 195% Google reviews in their very first year itself. This helps our customers get 2x higher conversion from review requests.

3 things to avoid when requesting reviews

Some businesses resort to the following tactics to collect reviews. We strongly recommend that you avoid them at all costs. Doing any of the following will lead to a penalty in your search rankings and may even cause your business to be de-indexed from Google entirely.

1. Don’t provide incentives

Providing incentives to customers for reviews is against Google’s policies. Google believes that incentives bias your reviewers and prevent them from giving honest feedback on their experiences. If you’re discovered doing this, you will be penalized in your search rankings.

2. Don’t gate your reviews

Avoid review gating — the practice of selectively soliciting reviews from customers who you’re absolutely sure will leave a positive review. Not only is this against Google’s policy, but this strategy might also just end up hurting your online reputation. When you’re being this selective, you might miss out on asking customers who would be happy to leave a good review.

3. Don’t ask employees to write reviews

Don’t ask for reviews from current or former employees. According to Google, these reviews are likely to be biased and do not represent the true customer experience.

5 tips on how to ask for reviews respectfully and effectively

  1. Address the customer by name and thank them for their business.
  2. Tell the customer what you would like them to review. For example, you could ask them to review the product they purchased, the service they received, or their overall experience with your business.
  3. Keep your request for a review short and to the point.
  4. Don’t pressure or bribe the customer to leave a review.
  5. It may take some time for the customer to leave a review. Do regularly follow up but make sure it isn’t annoying.

Effective Google review request templates

Wondering how to request reviews from your customers? Here’s an email review request template that you can use.

Subject Line: How Was Your Experience?

Thank you for choosing us! Please take a moment to leave us a review. Your response will help us better serve customers like you in the future.

If you are planning to send your review request via SMS, here’s a template that you can use. We’ve found that keeping it short and sweet usually gets the best results.

Hi [Customer Name], please provide your feedback by clicking the link. Thanks!

Of course, you want to make sure that both of these review requests include the Google review link that takes them to your Google Business Profile. Remember, the easier the process is for customers, the more reviews you’ll get.

How to leave a Google review (step-by-step process)

Leaving a Google review is a simple process and takes a few clicks for customers to share their feedback about their favorite businesses. 

Getting Google reviews is more than just asking for one and hoping your customers will respond to your request. Businesses must ensure that customers know how to write a review and get a smooth review writing experience as well. 

In this section, we detail how customers can leave a Google review for a business across multiple devices. 

How to write a Google review

Share the following steps to help your customers write a Google review for your business from a website browser: 

Step 1: Login to your Google account.  

Step 2: Search and locate the business on Google.  

Step 3: Next, click on the ‘Reviews’ tab and scroll down to ‘Write a review.’ 

Step 4: A pop-up with the star rating will open up. Click on the number of stars you want to give the business.

Step 5: Add a comment to share your experience with others.

Step 6: Click ‘Post’ to submit the review.

How to leave a Google review on the Google Maps app

Your customers can leave a Google review for your business via Google Maps with these steps: 

Step 1: Open the Google Maps app.

Step 2: Type the business name in the search bar.

Step 3: Click on the business, then click on the tab labeled ‘Reviews.’

Step 4: In the pop-up that opens, add a star rating and leave a description (optional).

Step 5:  Click the ‘Post’ button to submit the review.

How to leave a Google review from mobile? 

Customers can leave a Google review from mobile with the following methods: 

  1. Use a web browser to access the business listing and leave a review 
  2. Use the Google Maps application to find the business and leave a review 
  3. Go to the Google reviews page directly using the link sent via SMS or email 
  4. Scan a QR code to access the Google reviews page 

Curious to know more? Understand the different methods to leave a google review with our detailed blog post. 

How to write a Google review that is helpful?  

  1. State the facts as much as possible. 
  2. Describe the complete customer experience from start to finish. 
  3. Use employee names to show personalized appreciation
  4. Avoid using profanity 
  5. Add images of the products if possible 

Why is my google review not showing? 

Missing Google reviews can result from policy violations, as Google regularly removes spam, fake, and inappropriate content. If your review isn’t showing, it could also be because the related Google Business Profile is suspended. 

For businesses, missing reviews might be due to customers deleting them or Google’s removal for  content violations. 

Google reviews not showing up? Know how to fix it with our detailed guide. 

Chapter 3: Manage Google reviews

The story isn’t over when you get new Google reviews. Let’s talk about how you can manage your reviews and make a great first impression on potential customers.

Why do you need to manage Google reviews?

There are many reasons to invest in managing Google reviews, and it goes well beyond a basic business sense. Managed Google reviews:

Keeps your Google Business profile active

When you manage a single-location large corporation or a multi-location business, it is easy to get lost in the details. 

Google reviews are a good reflection of the state of your business, your employees, and customer sentiment. The best insights are here. 

Establishes a connection with your customers and leads

Digital marketing can be faceless, but responding to your customer reviews humanizes your business, convincing customers to reach out to you. 

Helps you handle any negative publicity 

When you constantly monitor and respond to reviews, you will not be blindsided by any misunderstanding that may be building up in the review section.

How to respond to Google reviews

Customers are investing time when they leave a Google review for your business. It’s only fair that you acknowledge that effort by responding to these reviews in a timely manner.

Plus, Google reviews with responses from the business tend to rank higher, and customers see it as a sign of trust. Proactive and professional responses to negative reviews can be a great way to understand issues in customer experience and take immediate action. 

Here’s a step-by-step process of how to respond to Google reviews:

Step 1: Sign in to your Google Business Profile account. You will start seeing the Profile you manage right within Google search.

Step 2: Click on the tab labeled ‘Customers.’

Step 3: Select ‘Reviews’ from the available options and scroll to the review you want to reply to.

Step 4: Click on the blue button on the bottom left of the review, and a reply box will open up.

Step 5:  Now type your reply and submit.

How to respond to positive Google reviews

Here are a few tips for responding to Google reviews from happy customers.

Thank the customer for leaving feedback

A simple “Thanks for the kind words!” can go a long way. It’s an easy way to show your appreciation to loyal customers.

Encourage the customer to return

Let the customer know that you’d be happy to serve them again. This can motivate them to make repeat purchases.

Keep your response short

There’s no need to leave an essay here. Remember that customers don’t want to read long paragraphs anymore than you do.

How to respond to negative reviews on Google

Responding to customers who are angry and frustrated is slightly trickier than thanking someone for leaving positive feedback. Still, a genuine, well-crafted, considerate response can motivate these customers to edit or delete their original reviews.

Take a deep breath

It’s important to remain objective and not get emotional in your review response. Even if all you do is ask them to contact you directly, it’s better than getting drawn into a public-facing argument.

Respond quickly

Try to respond within the first 24 hours. If you wait too long to respond to a negative review, it might be too late to change the customer’s opinion.

Leave contact details

If you are dealing with a negative review, take the conversation offline whenever possible. Not only does it speed up the resolution process, but it also leaves potential customers with the impression that the problem was handled. Be sure to provide a phone number or an email id where the customer can contact you.

For even more tips on responding to positive and negative reviews, check out our blog on responding to Google reviews.

The do’s and don’ts of responding to Google reviews

  • Do: Respond to reviews quickly.
  • Do: Stay professional at all times. Google reviews is not the platform to display emotions. Stay neutral at all times and be respectful of everyone. 
  • Do: Develop templates and guidelines to ensure branding consistency, especially if a team is handling review responses.
  • Don’t: Avoid stuffing your review response with keywords. While keywords in your reviews will help you, stuffing them in your response makes it sound spammy or artificial.

Can you delete google reviews?

Customers can delete google reviews by accessing their Google account activity dashboard. However, businesses can’t directly Google reviews from their Google Business Profile. If they feel that review is spam, fake, or incorrect, they can flag and report it to Google for removal. 

You can check the Google review guidelines for more information or contact the Google customer service for help.

How to delete Google reviews

To delete Google reviews,

  • Customers can go to their Google activity dashboard, select the review, and click “Delete”.
  • Businesses can select the review on their Google Business Profile, report it with an appropriate reason.

Follow the step-by-step process of removing a Google review by flagging it in our in-depth article. 

It’s important to remember that there’s no guarantee that Google will actually delete the review. Regardless, if you see a review that you believe is fake, we recommend leaving a strong but polite response so that your prospects who read the review can understand both sides of the story.

For example, here’s a polite way of calling out a fake review

Hey “John Smith,” did you leave your review for the right business? None of our team members remember doing business with you. Please reach out to me at “phone number,” I’d be happy to clear up any confusion.

Where should I be promoting my Google reviews?

You should promote your Google reviews everywhere – across all available marketing channels, stores, offices, and events. Displaying customer reviews is a foolproof marketing strategy that helps businesses build a stellar reputation across channels.

A few avenues where you can promote your Google reviews include: 

  • Social media platforms
  • Newsletters
  • Website
  • Marketing materials
  • On-site displays 
Check out our detailed blog on review marketing to know more. 

Google reviews on the website

Benefits of displaying Google reviews on your website

Your website is one of the most important digital marketing assets. It is your digital storefront and, in many cases, the first customer touchpoint. So it becomes a vital part of the customer journey. 

Start the journey off right by displaying Google reviews on your website.

How to embed Google reviews on your website

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t provide a widget for displaying reviews on your website. However, they do allow you to display your Google reviews on your website via their application programming interface (API).  

Apart from this, there are developers who have created plugins or codes that handle this for you. To learn more, check out our article on the three ways to add Google reviews to your website.

Manage Google reviews with Birdeye’s AI-driven review management platform

Managing your Google reviews is easier with Birdeye’s enhanced AI-driven review management platform. For multi-location businesses and businesses scaling rapidly, dealing with reviews at a massive scale can be daunting. But it is one of the most important steps to maintain your position as a strong brand on Google. 

Here are Birdeye’s new features that leverage the power of generative AI to help you manage your reviews and build a stronger online reputation:

  • AI-generated review response
  • AI-generated review summaries
  • AI-generated review translations 

Let us explore these features in detail. 

1. AI-generated review response

According to Birdeye research, over 60% of businesses opt for manual review responses to deliver a personalized message. However, they face challenges in maintaining a consistent brand voice and professionalism in every response.

To combat this challenge, Birdeye allows businesses to use BirdAI to improve their review responses by:

  • Rephrasing them into a shorter or longer response
  • Changing the response into something friendlier or more polite 
  • Fixing any grammar or spelling errors 
Image shows how Birdeye helps businesses to rephrase review responses with AI

Birdeye review management tool offers an easy-to-use solution for businesses looking to leverage AI features, without having to leave the platform.

2. AI-generated review summaries

Valuable information about your business processes, products, and customer service is hidden in reviews. You must check reviews regularly to monitor customer sentiment and improve your business as per the feedback. 

However, when you get hundreds of reviews across multiple review channels, it can be hard to see the bigger picture. 

Birdeye has just the solution for this with AI-powered review summaries. This sentiment analysis tool helps businesses:

  • Identify the most popular attributes of the business mentioned in the reviews
  • Recurring problems in the organization
  • Overall customer mood reflected in a particular review site
  • Create custom reports for each location and share them with the team 
Image shows how Birdeye helps businesses to get review summaries to gauge customer sentiment

3. AI-generated review translation 

Do you serve international customers and struggle with translating their non-English language Google reviews? With Birdeye Reviews, you can now auto-translate Google reviews into English. Moreover, you can respond to them in English and translate it back to the native language. 

Image shows how Birdeye helps businesses to get AI-driven translations for non-English reviews

Frequently asked questions about Google reviews

When I receive a Google review, will it show up on search?

It is said that businesses need at least 5 reviews to show up on search; however, we’ve seen businesses with just 1-2 reviews show up on search too.

How can I promote my Google reviews in person?

Yes, when you get a great Google review, you can promote it through Google’s Marketing Kit. This is a service that Google offers that allows you to print great reviews into stickers and posters.

Can I ask customers for reviews?

Yes. Google encourages businesses to solicit reviews from all customers to help businesses get honest and reliable feedback from their customers.

Can I buy Google reviews?

No. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Review Fairness Act, it is illegal to buy reviews for your business. Paying for Google reviews or giving incentives for writing reviews is against Google’s policy.

Can I stop customers from writing negative reviews?

No. Trying to stop your customers from writing reviews is considered “review gating.” Remember, a few negative reviews can not hurt your business, as they prove that all your reviews are authentic.

Can I share Google reviews on my website?

Yes. You can share your Google reviews on your website and social media. Since these reviews are already publicly-posted, you don’t need to ask the reviewer for permission.

Can Google reviews be traced?

No. There’s no way that you can trace a Google review. If you feel that you’re dealing with a fake review, consider flagging the review for Google to address.

Can I write a review without a Google account?

No. It’s no longer possible to write a Google review without a Google account.
Google has made it mandatory for the reviewer to have a Google account to ensure that the reviews posted on its platform represent actual customer experiences.

Are Google reviews reliable?

Yes. Google reviews are automatically processed so that they can remove inappropriate content like fake reviews or spam.

For more information, check out our article, “Are Google reviews reliable?

How many Google reviews do I need?

There is no rule on how many Google reviews a business needs. But, the more reviews you have, the better it is for your online reputation and local SEO efforts. 

How to get more Google reviews?

You can improve your Google reviews volume by actively requesting all your customers to leave reviews for your business. Treat every customer touchpoint, such as email, text, and website, as an opportunity to request reviews.

Can Google reviews be removed?

Yes, Google reviews can be removed if they violate any Google community guidelines. Businesses can flag objectionable reviews and justify their case to Google if they want to remove any review from their profile.

Manage your Google reviews with Birdeye

To achieve business growth with Google reviews, you need an efficient system for sending requests, responding to reviews, and managing them across multiple channels. Birdeye automates these processes, allowing you to send review requests, handle responses, and drive growth through a single dashboard.

With Birdeye, you can go beyond Google reviews to manage your online presence across various review sites, turning reviews into valuable marketing assets.