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 build trust and credibility, which are vital factors in the customer decision-making process. Nowadays, consumers regularly consult online reviews before making a purchase or using a service. According to a BrightLocal survey in 2016:

  • 91% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews
  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
BrightLocal survey
Source: BrightLocal

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 getting 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 is 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, indicating that it is an important factor.

Local search pack

According to this Moz article, reviews count toward 13% of the factors that determine your rank in the Local Pack. The following review signals are thought to influence your position:

  • Quantity of native Google reviews
  • Product/service keywords in reviews
  • Positive sentiment in reviews
  • Overall velocity of reviews (native and third party)
Review signals for local search pack
Local Pack ranking factors (source: Moz)

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 I advise you to respond to both positive (say thanks for the review and express your happiness that they had a positive experience) and negative reviews (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 to. Therefore, all you need to do is ask.

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 easier for them to find you and follow the correct procedure. They will really appreciate you saving them time and they 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

Google knowledge panel

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

Review button

Google Maps

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

Google map reviews

3. In the Knowledge Panel there is 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 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 – one more chance for users to see how good you are at what you do

Third-party reviews

  • Review websites such as TrustPilot and Reviews.co.uk allow you to install widgets on your website showing your overall score, which acts as a trust signal for potential customers
  • Research has found that buyers consult 2-3 review sources and read 6-10 reviews before making a decision

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.

If you need help with your Local SEO don't hesitate to contact us.

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