Obtaining Google reviews is an easy and free way to get ahead of your competitors by building customer trust and increasing search engine visibility.

Continually gaining new reviews can help boost your reputation and increase your ROI. To get the most out of Google reviews, you only need to follow a few simple steps.

Customer trust

Google reviews help your business to build trust and credibility – vital factors in the customer decision-making process. Nowadays, consumers regularly consult online reviews before making a purchase or using a service. According to Brightlocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2023:

  • 76% of consumers “regularly” read online reviews when browsing for local businesses.
  • 87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses in 2022, up from 81% in 2021.
  • 95% of consumers left an online review in 2022, or would at least consider leaving one.

What matters to consumers about online reviews?

Google reviews ensure that transparency and social proof are at the forefront of your online presence. Google is where a lot of your potential customers see your business first, so having a set of reviews improves your chances of progressing users to the next stage of the sales funnel.

SEO benefits

Another advantage of Google reviews is that they help you rank higher in search results pages. Even though Google doesn’t share their algorithm, it’s generally accepted that reviews play an important role in determining your website’s position, especially in local search.

Positive reviews will trigger clicks through to your site. A high click-through rate, coupled with good reviews, will act as trust signals to the algorithm, so your website will be featured towards the top of the results page. This will in turn increase traffic to your website and, depending on your content and calls to action, can lead to a higher conversion rate.

Your Google reviews will also influence your presence in the Local Pack (a list of businesses near the location of the search). As you can see in the image below, the star rating shows up in the Local Pack, showing just how important of a factor it is.

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According to this Moz article, it’s strongly believed that Google pays attention to three types of reviews: Google-based reviews, third-party review sites, and first-party reviews on your website.

The following review signals are thought to influence your position:

  • Recency
  • Velocity
  • Diversity
  • Authority
  • Format

Potential for increased ROI

As mentioned above, positive reviews can lead to click-throughs, which in turn can result in conversions and sales. In addition, the higher you rank, the more potential for sales.

A Harvard Business School research project conducted in 2011 demonstrated that a one-star increase in a restaurant review can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue. Given that the cost of obtaining a review on Google is zero (if you don’t take into consideration the wages of the staff overseeing the process), your ROI could see an increase in the long term.

How to make the most of Google Reviews

Have a strategy in place

A clear step-by-step plan will improve your chances of success and minimise the risk of something going wrong. Here are some simple steps to follow:

  • Ask for reviews at different brand touchpoints (email, at the till, in your restaurant menu etc.).
  • Monitor your Google My Business account for new ratings.
  • Reviews on Google are public, so it’s beneficial to respond positively: say thanks for the review and express your happiness that they had a positive experience, and for negative reviews you should apologise, offer to solve the issue and take the conversation to a private space.
  • Decide if further actions need to be taken e.g. using the testimonials in your marketing collateral, or improving your customer experience.

How to ask for a Google Review

Follow the principle “you don’t ask, you don’t get”. In general, people are willing to leave online reviews with 7 out of 10 doing so if they have been asked. Therefore, that’s all you need to do.

Be proactive. Ask your customers for feedback using a variety of channels such as email, phone, or face to face. The sooner you ask for a review after engagement with consumers, the more likely they are to give you feedback.

Give them a step-by-step guide, such as the one below to make it easy for them to find you and follow the correct procedure. They’ll really appreciate you saving them time and will be more likely to leave a testimonial.

Another way to obtain Google reviews is to include a call to action in your regular newsletter that goes out to your customers.

How to leave a review on Google

There are two ways businesses can receive a review that shows up on Google. Users can either leave a review in the search engine results page, or in Google Maps.

Users are required to create a Google account to be able to leave a review on Google. The account can be Gmail or non-Gmail based.

Search engine results page

  1. Search for the name of the company you want to review in Google.
  2. On the right-hand side you will see the Knowledge Panel containing information about the business.

 Knowledge Panel

3. In the Knowledge Panel there’s a reviews section. Click on the “Write a review” button and leave your feedback.

“Write a review”

Google Maps

  1. Access Google Maps and search for the business you want to review.
  2. On the left-hand side you’ll see the Knowledge Panel with information about the business.

Google Maps

3. Again, in the Knowledge Panel there’s a reviews section. Click on the “Write a review” button and leave your feedback.

Respond to reviews

The reviewing process doesn’t end when you’ve received feedback from a customer. It’s vital that you respond to at least some of the comments in order to show that your brand cares about individual experiences. Engaging with past and current customers will encourage more feedback, conversation, and a positive brand image. Rewarding customers after the sale has ended will demonstrate dedication and will trigger loyalty.

Go beyond Google

It’s good practice to expand to other review platforms such as Facebook, TrustPilot and Reviews.co.uk. There are a few reasons why you should do so:

  • Not everybody has a Google account, so a third-party website would make them more likely to leave a review.
  • The Google algorithm considers reviews left on other platforms.
  • Third-party reviews show up in the Google search results page when someone searches your brand name – another chance for users to see how good you are at what you do.

Hallam Reviews

  • Review websites such as TrustPilot and Reviews.co.uk allow you to install widgets on your website that show your overall score, acting as a trust signal for potential customers.

Consumers see reviews almost every time they search. Getting Google reviews is a simple, effective and cost-efficient method to build brand trust and rank high in the Google search results page.

If you need more advice, or any help putting together a strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch.