When I search for something, social media is not the first place where I go.
It is Google.
And I know I am not the only one that does that.
Because nearly 75% of people start their search for a business on Google, and 40% of people only use Google when looking for listings.
That’s why many people just go to Google because of the many options that are available for its users. It’s optimal.
When we are researching online, and although we look at a lot of things, we also browse both good and bad reviews to see if a company qualifies our expectations.
Read this slowly: 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review.
This article will highlight tips on getting online reviews (the right way) and the easiest way that will help you get excellent Google My Business rating.
Google My Business Listing: The State
Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses to showcase their company on Google. As a replacement for Google+ Local and Google Places, it allows companies to manage business information in one place.
Currently Google My Business listing allows you to manage the following:
- customer rating
- business address
- other business locations – if you own office in other parts of the world
- business category – types of products or services offered
- business email
- COVID update
- business hours / regular hours
- holiday hours
- special hours
- closing hours
- product menu
- …and more.
Providing either of the above information offers a more interesting Google search profile for your business when internet users find your company on Google search and on Google Maps.
With a Google My Business account, you get more than a business listing. Your free Business Profile lets you easily connect with customers across Google Search and Maps.google.com
Currently, Google My Business has more than 1 billion active users.
This number of users will continue to grow as more and more people continue to turn to Google for their searches.
Pro Tip: No matter how complete your profile is, it is Google that “decides” what to show and how to show your Google My Business Profile to a searcher on its results page. But it can’t hurt completing your information. Every bit counts.
You notice above that although the Google My Business Listings are different, Google shows the business reviews that people left on you Google My Business listing.
I have written about the Google My Business and its benefits here if you want to explore more about it.
What is Google My Business Review?
A Google My Business Review helps your users evaluate your product or service. It also helps your potential leads find out if you are the right company that can help them solve their business problems and make their life better. It is beneficial for many companies serving an assortment of clients – local or global.
Google reviews give your business the credibility you need rivaling other industry review sites like Yelp or Trustpilot. Now, what business doesn’t want that?
Even B2B companies that do not have a physical location can still appear on search. See the image example above. Hence, I am an advocate for Google My Business for companies.
And here’s a question often asked by many which underlies the crucial reason I highly recommend B2Bs to be on Google My Business and grow your customer reviews…..
Does Google My Business Online Ratings impact Google Search Ranking?
Yes, it does.
Every Google My Business review can have a direct impact on your ranking on Google. The reviews can lead to getting your company rank higher on Google search, which will get you more traffic – and more business.
That added traffic signals Google your website is authoritative; thus, worthy of a strong search ranking.
In fact, according to Moz, reviews account for 15.44% of how Google ranks a business.
Also, the same survey shows that online reviews from real customers are one of the signals that Google considers as a parameter in search ranking.
One thing worth noting is that in the survey, while other ranking factors are decreasing, online reviews are increasing as a ranking signal.
Here’s a scenario: If your business has a solid 5-star ratings with lots of detailed and quality reviews, searchers [read: your prospective customers] are more likely to trust and click your website.
This means that Google My Business profiles that consistently get positive reviews with many high star ratings are likely to get more consideration from the popular search engine.
And so, working on increasing your current rating in Google My Business is definitely worth it.
Having a good rating and positive review will make it easier to attract new customers because it enhances your online reputation.
Why send review request from your customer?
“Build it and they welcome!” is a famous line in a movie.
The import of which is only true for the movie.
For your Google My Business reviews, just because it is available for anyone, the reviews will not come pouring in.
If you leave it alone and hope that your happy customers will leave you an online review, that will not happen.
Send review requests, proactively.
Apparently, 68% of consumers have left a review for a business after being asked.
And here is another reason you should send review requests.
Businesses that proactively request online reviews enjoy higher positive reviews (average of 4.34 stars) than those that simply wait for unprompted online reviews (3.89 stars).
Moreover, the constant flow of incoming review is not only useful for SEO purposes.
Fresh reviews are also useful for new and potential customers who want to see the latest online reviews and get an idea of what your business looks like now.
5 Ways to get your Google Reviews
Getting a review from your happy customers for Google My Business does not differ from asking for online reviews for your other sites.
Here are 5 ways to grow your customer reviews/rating from your customers:
- Ask. Simply ask your customers for reviews on social media. Customers are typically helpful and eager to leave reviews when asked.
- Personal email. Reach out to your customer, create a personalized message, and include a link to the Google review form.
This claims that, “Up to 80% of reviews originate from follow-up emails urging shoppers to review their purchases.”
- Messenger. Send a DM to your customers with the link to the Google My business review form once they completed purchase.
- Reminders. Customers forget, so send them a review request via text alert or an email alert just to remind them about it. But do not spam them. You can automate it using texts or email notifications through a third-party tool.
- After purchase landing page. Add review request with the Google My Business URL on your invoice or the thank you page.
Is there a simple way to get a Google review?
Yes, there is!
Your company has a review link that you can share on social media or email to a select customer. Every company has that form – B2B or B2B2C.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
You don’t have to give them vague instructions to find you on Google to leave a review!
And here’s good news! Survey says, businesses can expect their average star rating to increase after emailing a direct link for customers to submit their reviews.
Here is a guide to find the Google My Business review URL
As of this time of writing, here is where to find your Google My Business Review form to share with your customers:
- Sign in to your Google My Business account.
- The default should be Home but if it is not make sure it is the one selected.
- Scroll down to your GMB dashboard and look for “Get More Reviews” block. (Note: the review block used to be on the left of the dashboard. Google moved this to this place now. So just search for “Get More Reviews” if should be there.
- Click the “share review form” button.
- You can share the link right directly to Facebook, Twitter, Email and another tool.
What are better ways to gather Google My Business Review?
GOOD: Tell them to leave you a review on Google My Business (GMB).
BETTER: Email your customer the direct URL to GMB review.
Do not let your client find Google review link when you email it to them. Give the review link to them.
And as a fail-safe, develop a process or an easy-to-follow guide that makes it super convenient for them to leave the review.
Remember, you are asking them a favor. Make it easy for them to help you.
It is also good to note that in creating this process, not everyone is using desktop. There are mobile users too. Creating an easy-to-follow guide for both users can be an advantage as well.
GOOD: Send the Google My Business Review with other review links.
RIGHT: One link at a time only, pretty please.
Giving them all other review links is asking for too much unless you are trying to gather reviews from friends instead of customers.
Don’t overwhelm your client. Keep it simple.
I know we might get too excited gathering a large quantity of reviews for all our sites; but remember, the key factor here is quality, not quantity.
GOOD: Assume that they use Gmail (so they can leave you a review).
RIGHT: Ask them and send them the link.
Yes, not everyone use Gmail.
Funny right, but this is actually true. I had friends that could only send me message via Facebook messenger.
WRONG: Gather review and do not engage.
RIGHT: Never responding to a review.
It’s unfortunate that people take the time to write a review and then never hear back from companies. Always reply to reviews and aim for customer conversations that reflect your credibility as a real business on Google My Business. Responding to Google reviews should be part of your social media marketing process. And there are marketing agencies that can do this for you.
3 Things you shouldn’t do to rig your Google My Business reviews
Here are some tactics that you should not do to manipulate your list of reviews
- Incentivized reviews. Google encourages honest and unbiased reviews. It discourages businesses from offering coupon or discount in exchange for reviews. Also, incentivized reviews are “magnets” for low-quality reviews. It is hard getting relevant reviews that way, too.
- Buying Reviews. You don’t want your Google review reeking with fake reviews you bought. For one thing, it may be devoid of key points and experiences (trigger words) from a true user because the fake reviewer doesn’t know how your product/service exactly works. It is a fake content that is against Google’s content rules. Avoid “marketing agencies” that offer this kind of service.
Google clearly says this, “Don’t offer or accept money in exchange for reviews.”
- Review Gating. This is the process of filtering good reviews from bad reviews. Some companies do this through a third-party provider that offers online review management platform.
This practice is against Google’s content policy. What the search engine wants is for companies to not “discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.”
When a customer leaves you negative review, make it a point to address their concern – politely. Current and potential customers will see that you are not just ignoring them – even the bad reviews – and that you are engaged to make things work. If the review is iappropriate, you can request to remove a review.
Review gating is against Google My Business’ review guidelines and a company caught practicing such will face serious consequences.
It’s a Wrap!
Google recognizes and trusts negative, and positive reviews from customers so it appears on the listing.
If you are looking to grow your business and increase revenue, it’s important to increase your online presence. And one of the most important and often overlooked ways to do this is by improving your Google My Business Review.
By all means, develop an online review management process aiming to increase your current rating.
But it should be done with integrity.
More than focusing on getting incoming reviews that gives your company a positive image online, providing quality services and products to your customers is still the root of it.
That should always remain uncompromised and unsullied.