The Complete Guide to Getting More
Google Reviews in 2020

Everything you need to know about collecting and managing Google reviews.

Google reviews help businesses get chosen and rank higher in search engines. By collecting and managing Google reviews, you can increase your business’s visibility and grow revenue. In this guide, we’ll cover the following topics.

Complete Guide To Getting More Google Reviews
Chapter 1

Google Reviews explained

Here’s why Google reviews matter for
your business.

Google Reviews explained

Why are Google reviews important?

Google reviews are important for one simple reason: your customers trust them. Studies show that 92% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. While all reviews sites are important, Google reviews have the most impact because people turn to Google more than any other search engine or review site.

How Google reviews help with search rankings?

Google reviews help you rank higher in search results in two different ways.

  • 1.Google trusts your customers
    Google trusts reviews for a simple reason: they want to give their users the best search results. Reviews show the authentic opinion of your customers. If there are thousands of people giving you 5-star reviews, chances are that you did something right.
  • 2.More reviews means more information for Google’s algorithm
    Google also aims to give searchers relevant information. When a customer review contains relevant keywords about your business (“Awesome estate planning!”), that will help Google better understand the kinds of services that you provide. According to Moz, review signals make up 15.44% of your local search ranking.
More Reviews Means More Info For Google Algorithm

What reviews factors lead to a better search ranking?

Overall star rating alone doesn’t determine your search ranking. A high overall star rating shows that customers value your business, but they don’t tell the whole story. After all, a business can have an overall rating of 5 stars but only 3 reviews. These 3 customers might be total outliers so it’s hard to tell if this business actually is providing great services.

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

Google Reviews Data Facts

But having lots of reviews isn’t the end of the story. Businesses need to constantly get new reviews, no matter how many they already have. Studies show that 44% of customers consider reviews older than a month irrelevant.

How Google reviews impact your clickthrough rate

If Google users search for something like “dental practice near me”, they’ll see something that looks like this.

Google Reviews Impact Clickthrough Rate

This is the local map pack. We’ve seen that businesses with a higher overall star rating tend to see up to a 35% higher click through rate. That means more traffic from your website and more attention from potential customers.

Chapter 2

How to get more Google reviews

Let's talk about how you can get
more Google reviews for your
business.

How To Get More Google Reviews

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

Before we start giving you tips on leaving Google
reviews, let’s talk about how your customers can leave
reviews for your business on desktop and mobile.

Desktop Icon Desktop

Step 1Find your Google My Business profile. Usually, your customer will need to type in your business’s name and the city that you’re located into the Google search bar.

Step 2Next click the “Write a Review” button on the bottom right side of the screen.

Write A Review Button Is Located At Bottom Of Screen

Step 3A pop-up titled “Rate and Review” will show up on your screen. Leave a star rating, a description, and a photo(the description and photo are optional).

Rate And Review Popup

Step 4Click “Post”.

Mobile Icon Mobile

Step 1Open the Google Maps app.

Location Icon

Step 2Type the business name in your search bar.

Type Business Name In Search Bar

Step 3Click on the business, then click on the tab labeled reviews.

Business Information Tab

Step 4Add a star rating in the section labeled “Rate & Review”, then leave a description (optional).

Rate And Review Section

Step 5Click the “Post” button.

Of course, a software like BirdEye can reduce these steps with deep-linking to make the process easier for your customers. BirdEye takes your customers right to your Google My Business page, ensuring that you get more reviews.

How many Google reviews does your business need?

The more reviews you have, the merrier. As we said earlier, review quantity is a factor in determining your local search ranking. Businesses with 1000 reviews have a much better chance of ranking high in Google search results than a competitor with 3 reviews.

While the average number of Google reviews businesses vary based on the size of the business and industry, you should aim to have more reviews than your competitors. Studies show that when star rating is even, customers tend to go with the business that has more reviews.

Can you write a review without a Google account?

It is no longer possible to write a Google review without a Google account. Before 2018, it was possible to leave an anonymous review through Google+. However, the policy led to understandable frustration among business owners. There was no way they could tell if an anonymous review came from an actual customer or a competitor who was playing dirty.

There is a reason why leaving a review without a Google account is no longer possible. Just a few years ago, it was possible for virtually anybody to leave a review for a business with a fake name. While that meant it was really easy to post a review, it also meant that those reviews weren’t trusted.

Google has taken strides in the past few years to ensure that the reviews posted on its platform are representative of actual customer experiences. Judging by how much Google reviews are valued by customers, the efforts have paid off.

‘Google My Business’ explained

In order to get Google reviews, you’ll need to claim your Google My Business (GMB) profile. Your GMB profile is a Google profile that shows up when someone searches for your business’s name on search engines. It looks something like this:

Google My Business Knowledge Panel

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that helps you manage how your business appears in Google Search and Google Maps. Once you’ve claimed your profile, you’ll be able to send review requests, respond to reviews, and update your business information like address and hours of operation.

But there’s one big reason why Google My Business matters: SEO. Google My Business is crucial for getting your business discovered by new customers. According to Moz, Google is the single largest factor determining your business’s local search ranking.

Optimizing your Google My Business profile for more reviews

The more you optimize your Google My Business profile, the better your chances of ranking high in search results. This in turn, helps you get more reviews from customers. So let’s talk about how you can optimize your Google My Business.

Step 1: Claiming Your Business Profile
If your business has been around long enough, you can find your listing with a simple company name search. Once you find it, all you need to do is claim the profile. Check out our guide on setting up/claiming your Google My Business profile for more details.

Step 2: Updating Your Business Information
Now that your Google My Business account has been claimed, you can start adding information to your profile that will help more customers discover your business. Now, it’s time to optimize your profile to make it more appealing to prospects and customers and get more reviews. For more information on this, check out our complete guide to Google My Business.

How can I get Google reviews for my business?

Once you claim your business profile, you are ready for more customers to discover your business through Google. However, before we jump into the process of getting more Google reviews, here are a few things that you should keep in mind:

Timing is everything.

Like most things in life, asking for reviews is all about timing. Make sure that you send review requests to your customers on the same day as their purchase. The longer you wait, the more the customer’s memory fades and the less likely they are to leave a review.

Ask all your customers for reviews.

Make sure you ask all your customers for reviews - every one of them. Selectively sending review requests is considered review gating and is banned by Google. If you’re discovered doing this, you’ll face a penalty in search rankings.

Keep it simple.

Asking customers to leave a review in-person often doesn’t get great results. Your customers are busy people and it’s more likely than not they’ll agree and then forget about it when 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 a link and leave a review.

Sample review request templates

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

Subject Line: How Was Your Experience?

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

Here’s a template that you can use for sending review requests via text. 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 a short link to your Google My Business profile. Remember, the easier the process is for customers, the more reviews you’ll end up getting. Let’s talk about how you can get a Google My Business short link quickly and easily.

How to shorten your Google My Business URL

Google introduced a new feature that allows businesses to create their own custom short URLs to their Google My Business profile. Having a custom short URL makes it easier to share your business profile on review requests, in-person, and on marketing materials. Here's a step-by-step guide of how you can get a custom short link to your Google My Business page.

Step 1 – Sign in to Google My Business.

Step 2 – If you have a multi-location business, open the location you wish to create a short name for.

Google My Business Multi Location Tab

Step 3 – From the menu on the left, click Info > Add profile short name. If this feature is available, you should see this in the box under “phone number”.

Add Profile Short Name

Step 4 – Enter your short name. Your short name can be anywhere between 5-32 characters.

Google My Business Short URL

Step 5 – Click Apply. Your short name will show as pending. It will show on your business profile when it’s approved.

How to get new Google reviews manually

If you’re someone who prefers to do everything yourself, that’s great. All you need to do is find a custom short link to your business’s review page on Google and send that to your customers via email or SMS. This makes it convenient for your customers to write a review by simply clicking on the link.

How to automate getting Google reviews

At the end of the day, you have a business to run. Sending review requests to all your customers manually every day can be a time-consuming process. With all the work you have to do, there’s just not enough time to send a text and email to each one of your customers on a daily basis.

This is why we recommend that you automate the process of getting reviews. Let review generation be part of your business just like sending invoices.

Review management software can take care of the whole process for you. BirdEye, for example, uses deep-linking to route customers directly to the Google review form in one click. This makes the process of writing a review even easier than not writing one - especially when the customer is happy with their experience and likes your business. BirdEye takes care of this process for Google and over 150 other review sites.

BirdEye is fully integrated with Google, so every step of the review collection process is automatic. In fact, BirdEye is one of the few companies integrated directly with Google's private API, which makes the collection process easier and review load times faster.

Chapter 3

Manage Google reviews

The story isn’t over when you get new
Google reviews. Here’s how you can
manage your Google reviews.

Manage Google Reviews

What you need to know about managing Google reviews

Let’s answer some questions on how you can manage Google reviews while staying compliant with Google’s review policy.

Where can I check my Google reviews?

You can check your Google reviews on your Google My Business profile. You can also see them by looking at Google Maps.

How do I know if I get a new Google Review?

When you get a new review, Google will send an alert to your email address. The email notification shows you the name of the reviewer, the star rating, and a short snippet from the review. It also includes a link directly to the review so you can leave a response.

I have a 4.0 overall star rating. Is that good or bad?

While a 4.0 overall star rating is definitely not bad, there’s a little bit of room for improvement. Studies show that customers are more likely to trust businesses that are in the 4.2-4.9 range.

However, an overall star rating that’s too high is not great for your business either. If customers see a perfect 5.0 star rating, they’re going to have some doubts whether all of your reviews are legitimate.

Why did my Google reviews disappear?

There are a few different reasons why your Google reviews might disappear. The first thing that you should consider doing is refreshing your Google My Business account.

  • Step 1Log in to your Google My Business account.
  • Step 2Open the Menu tab, then click “Info”.
  • Step 3Go to the address field and go to the Map icon.
  • Step 4Wiggle the map icon a bit, but make sure that it settles on the correct location.
  • Step 5Click “Apply”.

Check out our blog to find out other reasons on why your Google reviews might be disappearing.

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

If a customer posts a Google review, it should show up in search results. While previously it was said that you need at least 5 reviews to show up on search, we’ve seen businesses with just 1 -2 reviews show up on search.

How can I promote my Google reviews in-person?

If 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 customers.

Can I buy Google reviews?

No. 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” and is against Google policy. Remember, a few negative reviews can help your business, as it proves that all of your reviews are authentic.

Can I ask employees for reviews?

No. Because your employees are not an unbiased source, you are not allowed to ask them for reviews.

Can I share Google reviews on my website?

Yes! You are encouraged to 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 I delete Google reviews?

No. There is no way that a business owner can delete Google reviews. We’ll go into more detail about this later in the article.

How to respond to Google reviews

Customers are investing their time when they sit down to leave a review. It’s only fair that you acknowledge that effort by responding to these reviews in a timely manner. Plus, your responses to these reviews also impact your SEO.

Here’s how you can respond to Google reviews.

1. Sign in to your Google My Business account at business.google.com.
2. Click the three bars on the left-hand corner and select the location
3. Click “Manage reviews”, then find the review you want to respond to.
4. Click “View and reply”, then type out a response.

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

How to disable reviews on Google My Business profile

Unlike Facebook reviews, Google reviews cannot be turned off. There is no way that business owners can hide reviews from the public. Every Google My Business profile displays customer reviews.

If you’re getting hit by negative reviews, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage to your business’s reputation. First off, respond to people who are leaving negative reviews and try to get to the bottom of the issue. Next, send review requests to all of your customers. The customers who are most likely to leave reviews are those who feel that they’ve had strong negative experiences. Sending review requests ensures that you’ll get balanced feedback from your customers.

Can Google reviews be traced?

Got a review that you feel like might be fake and want to trace the IP address? Unfortunately, there is no way that you can trace a Google review. If you feel that you’re dealing with a fake review, consider taking the actions listed in the next section instead.

How to delete Google reviews

While you can’t delete a review written by a customer, you can report it:

  • Step 1Go to your Google My Business listing.
  • Step 2Find the review that you want to dispute.
  • Step 3Click the three vertical buttons on the right side of the review, then flag as inappropriate.
Delete Google Reviews

Still, it’s important to remember that there’s no guarantee that Google will actually delete the review. If you see a review that you believe is fake, we recommend leaving a strong but polite response.

How to delete a Google Review

Start collecting Google reviews today

Whether your business is lacking an online presence or you have so many Google reviews that you don’t know how to manage them - BirdEye is here to help.

As new reviews start pouring in, you need a strategy in place to manage and respond to them in a timely manner. BirdEye gives you the tools you need to manage and respond to reviews, then leverage them to improve your customer experience. Click the button below to schedule a time with a BirdEye customer experience expert and get new reviews today.

Get more reviews with BirdEye

Google Reviews Tips

Google Reviews Tips

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