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How to Get Google Reviews for Your Business: The Beginner’s Guide (2018 Edition)

Google Review Check Marks
Google reviews are a powerful tool for building trust and marketing your business

Looking to get more Google reviews for your business?

That’s a fantastic idea!

As a smart business owner, you know that positive customer reviews can be a game-changer for your company’s success.

And for reasons we’ll get into below, focusing on getting good Google reviews is a great first step in using online reviews to grow your business.

But where do you start?

Right here with our Beginner’s Guide to Getting Google reviews for Your Business!

We’re covering everything you need to know to get more Google reviews – from explaining why they’re so important and how to set up your Google My Business listing, to specific steps you can take to make getting reviews easy.

We’ve packed in a lot of information, so if you already know some of the basics, see our Table of Contents below to jump straight to what you’re looking for.

Or if you’re just getting started, read it all to learn everything you need to know to generate more Google reviews for your business!

Table of Contents

  1. What is Google My Business?
  2. Why are Google My Business Reviews Important?
  3. How Do I Get My Business on Google?
  4. How Do I Get More Google Reviews for My Business?
  5. How Do I Get The Link to My Google My Business Review Form?
  6. How Can I Make Getting Google Reviews Easier?

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is Google’s answer to managing your business information and reviews online. It’s a free, easy-to-use tool that lets you connect with customers through Google Search and Maps to help them easily find your business, learn more about it, and interact with you. This can be a huge boost to your online marketing efforts!

Show Your Business Information In Local Search Results Google My Business
Google My Business is a powerful tool for marketing your business online.

When people search for local businesses in Search or Maps, Google will show a series of businesses in the area in something known as the “Local Pack.”

Here, potential customers can find information like your address, phone number, and reviews about your business.

Google Local Pack Example
With a Google My Business listing, you’ll have the chance to appear in the Local Pack above regular search results!

With a Google My Business account, you’ll be able to:

Manage Your Business Information

  • Add, remove, or update the information people see when they search for your business, products, and services
  • Provide access to information like your hours, website, and street address in Google Maps and Search

Respond to Reviews and Interact with Customers

  • Post photos, news, specials, or offers to show off your business and the things you do
  • Respond to messages and reviews from customers

Expand Your Online Presence

  • Get insights into where customers are coming from and how they searched for your business
  • See other useful stats like how many people called your business using the number displayed in your listing
  • Create and track the performance of your AdWords Express campaigns

Some Fun Stats According to Google

  • Customers are twice as likely to consider your business reputable if you verify with Google My Business.
  • Adding photos to your Google My Business listing leads to 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more clicks to your website than businesses without them.

Why are Google My Business Reviews Important?

Google My Business reviews can be a huge help to your business for three key reasons: reviews provide “Social Proof” that your business is trustworthy, which leads to more visits and sales. And Google reviews in particular help with Local SEO and gaining more visibility in search results. Plus, positive Google reviews help with branding!

Google Reviews Example
Google reviews make it easy for potential customers to learn about your business as they search.

There’s no debating that getting genuine online reviews from your customers can be a huge boost to your business and there are a ton of websites that let you collect them.

Some of the most popular include:

And if you have the time, we highly recommend you set up profiles on all of them!

Why?

Because:

Social Proof is a Powerful Persuasion Tool

Social Proof is a psychological phenomenon where people follow the actions of others as a quick way to do the right thing in a certain situation.

It also happens to be one of the 6 principles of persuasion that the most successful businesses use to get customers.

It used to be that we looked to family, friends, and local experts for recommendations on products and services they were considering.

And we still do, but today we’ve also come to trust the reviews and feedback of total strangers to gain confidence in our buying decisions.

If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, you know just what we’re talking about!

This was confirmed by a recent survey from Zendesk which found:

  • Two-thirds of participants recall reading online reviews as part of making a purchase decision
  • 90% said positive reviews impacted their buying decision
  • 86% said that negative reviews did that as well

And recently the local business experts at Vendasta published a massive list of stats about online reviews, some highlights:

  • 92% of consumers read online reviews
  • 40% form an opinion of a business by reading 1-3 reviews, which grows to 73% by 6 reviews and 88% by 10 reviews
  • 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 57% say they’d use a business with a 3-star rating, which grows to 94% for 4-star businesses
  • 48% of consumers will visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews, and 23% will visit the premises directly

All those stats make one thing clear: reviews (and more importantly positive reviews) are an essential component of attracting more customers!

Google Reviews Help with Local SEO

Google Maps Local Search Example
Google reviews can help you rank better in Google Searches and show up on Google Maps.

People who search for companies like yours are often in the perfect position to quickly become customers.

The reason for this is that, by nature, search engines like Google are all about answering questions and providing information the moment people want it.

For example, if a couple is looking to have lunch, they might search for nearby pubs because they want to eat now.

Or, if a bachelor just moved into a new apartment and needs furniture, he might do a quick search to find a local store that has pieces he’s interested in as he makes his shopping plans.

Being able to show up in front of these potential customers at times like these means it’s much easier to bring them to your store and turn them into actual customers.

All the better if, at that moment, you can impress them with great reviews!

As we mentioned above, getting more positive Google reviews is highly beneficial as they’re a great way to prove to your potential customers that you have what they want and offer better products/services than the competition.

And while having reviews on any of the sites we listed above can be helpful in providing that social proof, Google reviews in particular can help you become one of the first businesses someone sees in a Google search.

That’s important because Google gets 74.54% of all search traffic on average.

Not surprisingly, they prefer to promote Google My Business listings over the other review sites in their search results.

See Also:  3 Ways To Profit From NPS

And the more reviews you get, the more likely you’ll show up first in those results (which will lead to much more attention and interest than a lower position).

Plus, according to a recent Review Trackers survey, 63% of consumers say they’re likely to check Google reviews before visiting a business.

Which is why knowing how to get Google reviews is so important!

Google Reviews Help Build Your Brand

Let’s consider a hypothetical situation: a potential customer has heard of your business before from driving by or seeing an advertisement you placed.

Later, they need one of the products or services you offer – let’s say it’s springtime and they’re ready to buy seeds for their garden.

They’ve heard about your garden store but have never been, so they head over to Google and type in your business name to learn more.

If they find your business but no reviews you could be in big trouble!

For starters, they might be confused.  They could wonder whether they’ve found the right company or if you’re still in business.

And if they know you’re open and found your business, without any customer reviews to let them know about the quality of your products and service, they’ll be more likely to ignore your business and find another highly-rated one.

But, if that search for your company shows that you have a few dozen 4 or 5 star Google reviews, they’ll instantly trust your business more and start working a visit into their shopping plans!

With all these benefits and more, the call to action is simple: Google reviews can be a huge help to your sales and marketing efforts. So make getting them a priority!

To start, you’ll need to create your Google My Business listing.

How Do I Get My Business on Google?

Getting your business added to Google is free and easy! Simply head over to the Google My Business page and click “Start Now.”  Then, Google will walk you through a few steps to add or claim your business name and address, chose a business category, add your phone number and website, then verify your connection to the business.

Here’s how to add your business to Google step by step:

7 Quick Steps to Add or Claim Your Google My Business Listing

1. Head over to the Google My Business page and click “Start Now.”

Google My Business Homepage

2. Sign in to your Google Account (if you haven’t already).

Google My Business Sign In

3. Next, add your business name.

As you type, Google will also search for your business so you can claim your listing if it’s already been added.

Get your business on Google Business Name

4. Then fill in your business address.

If you don’t have a brick and mortar store but instead deliver goods or change locations (ie Food Truck), Google calls businesses like yours “Service Area” businesses. Click the “I deliver goods and services to my customers” box to hide your address (especially if it’s the same as your home address) but still show up in local searches.

Where are you located Google My Business

5. Choose a category that best describes your business.

You’ll choose from Google’s list of approved categories, which appears as you type. Learn more about choosing the best category for your business here and here.

What kind of business do you run Google My Business

6. (Optional) Add your business phone number and website.

This is optional but will help make it easy for customers to get in touch and learn more about your business.

Make connections optional Google My Business

7. Confirm you’re authorized to manage your business.

To finish creating your listing, add your name to the “Contact Name” field and click the “Mail” button to receive a postcard with your verification code.

Verify your connection to this business Google My Business

Choose a way to verify Google My Business

After that, you’ll be taken to your new Google My Business Dashboard!!

Google My Business Dashboard

You can start filling in some information right away and even more once you’re verified. The more information like hours, photos, and amenities you add the better you’ll be able to attract customers and bring them to your business!

How Do I Get More Google Reviews for My Business?

Getting more Google reviews for your business really comes down to three steps: asking for reviews, making it easy to leave a review when you ask, and providing friendly reminders for customers who haven’t yet left a review.  On top of that, some general tips include personalizing the review experience and actively responding to reviews.

Reviews Customer Satisfaction Meter
Getting more positive reviews can lead to more business!

Now that you know just how valuable Google reviews can be for your business and you’ve set up your Google My Business listing, it’s time to start getting reviews!

While reviews are clearly important to your business, only a small percentage of people will leave them on their own.

So it’s important to make actively getting customer reviews so important!

On top of that, asking customers for their feedback is great customer service – you’ll help them feel like their opinion matters, which will make them that much more likely to come back.

How do you actually get more Google reviews for your business?

3 Easy Steps to Get More Google Reviews

1. Ask Your Customers for Reviews

This is something that everyone who works with your customers should know is a goal for you, as the more often you (politely) ask for reviews, the more you’ll get.

According to a recent Bright Local survey, 68% of people leave reviews when asked!

Some great opportunities to ask for a Google review include:

  • After you complete a job/make a sale
  • When you send a bill
  • At the end of a phone conversation
  • Through a follow-up email
  • On Facebook/social media (in your profiles and posts)
  • In-store Displays
  • In your email signature
  • In your email marketing campaigns
  • After-purchase materials like receipts or handouts

When you ask, aim to ensure your customers feel valued and heard.

Let them know that their honest feedback will help your business grow and improve your customer service.

And be sure to make it easy for them to give you that feedback!

2. Make The Review Process Easy

This might seem obvious but many businesses fail clearly explain to customers how they can leave a review.

You don’t want to just generically ask “leave us a review” – let them know how to do that in as few steps as possible!

Oftentimes, a simple call to action and link to your Google review form will do the trick (see below to learn how to link directly to your review form).

Some simple calls to action include:

  • “Rate us on Google.”
  • “Please review us on Google.”
  • “Leave us a review on Google.”
  • “Leave us a Google review.”

Followed by something like “click here to leave your feedback” (with a link to your form).

You could also create a page on your website or handout with simple instructions on how to leave a review, something like:

  1. Sign in to your Google/Gmail account.
  2. Search for [your business] on Google.
  3. Click the “leave a review” button included in our business information section.
  4. Select a star rating, write a quick review, and click “submit.”

And be sure to provide tips for writing a good review, like:

  • You can write as much or as little as you’d like – even a sentence or two helps!
  • Describe our business location, service, and the things you bought.
  • Add lots of details descriptive words to help others better picture your experience.
  • Compare our business/products to others like it.
  • Add any special information you know about us that might be hard to find.
See Also:  5 Quick Ways to Increase your Survey Response Rates

The key here is to help your customers quickly understand how to leave a Google review for your business.  The less work they have to do, the more likely they’ll give you a review!

3. Send Friendly Reminders at the Right Time

We all get busy and we all forget things.

When you first ask a customer to leave a review, they probably have 10 other things on their to-do list that day!

It may take a week for them to find the time or it may slip their mind altogether, so be sure to remind your customers how quick and easy it is to leave your business a review!

Of course, you don’t want to spam them with requests as this will make them less interested in helping out.

It’s a good rule of thumb to follow up a week or two after you first ask and to include your review requests across your emails, social media, websites, and in-store to provide frequent but less direct reminders.

More Tips for Getting Reviews on Google

In addition to the three steps above, here are some other useful tips and practices to make getting reviews on Google even easier:

Send Reviews at the Right Time

It’s important to not ask for a review too early or too late.

Too early and your customer might not have had time to form an opinion yet; too late and their initial excitement about your products and service might fade.

Personalize the Experience

Getting a personal email from the business owner can go a long way in making a positive impression on customers, increasing the likelihood that they’ll leave a positive review.

It’s also a great idea to send a “thank you for your review” email to keep the customer relationship growing strong!

Respond to Reviews

Replying to reviews builds customer trust!

When you take the time to engage with your customer’s reviews, they’ll notice that your business values their input and be more likely to keep buying from you.

Customers that haven’t left a review yet will be more likely to do so if they believe someone in your business will actually read it.

And when potential customers see that your business actively responds to reviews, they’ll be more likely to trust in the quality of your service.

Offer Incentives

It’s important to not overdo this.

Relying too much on offering incentives in exchange for positive reviews can lower trust in your reviews (too many and people will suspect they’re fake) and can violate Google policies.

However, occasionally offering a coupon or discount in exchange for a review, good or bad, can be an easy way to consistently generate fresh reviews for your business.

Use a Direct Link to Your Google Review Form


Again, the easier you make leaving a review the better – and there’s no easier way to do that than creating a simple, direct link to your review form.

See our next section for info on how to do just that!

How Do I Get the Link to My Google My Business Review Form?

Linking directly to your Google My Business review form makes getting Google reviews easier! To get your review form link, you’ll search for your business on Google and click the “write a review” button in the search results. Then, to make it simple to share, create a short link with bit.ly to use when asking for reviews.

Many of your customers are likely very busy people, so if you want to have the best chance possible to get a review from them, you’ll need to make leaving a review as easy as possible.

One of the best ways to do this is to give customers a simple link they can click to go straight to your Google My Business review form.

Here’s the full process with screenshots (note: you’ll need to already have your Google My Business listing created):

1. Search for your business name on Google.

Search your business name on Google

2. Find your Business Listing on the right of the page and click the “write a review” button.

Google Business Listing and Write a Review Button

3. When your Google review form pops up, copy the URL in your address bar.

Note: you’ll see your name in the review form now but that will change to your customer’s name when they leave a review.

Google Review Form Pop up Example

4. Paste your URL into bit.ly URL shortener.

This step is technically optional, but shortening your long review form URL with a URL shortener makes sharing a bit more user-friendly.

To do this, head over to bit.ly and paste your copied review form URL, then copy the shortened version and paste the shortened URL somewhere you can easily find it later.

Shorten your URL with Bit.ly Example

And if you’d like, you can also create a Bit.ly account to brand your link (for instance, bit.ly/[your-company]-review) and track when people use your link!

5. Send your shortened Google My Business Review form link to your customers!

With your URL safely saved, you can now use it whenever you want to ask for a review!

How Can I Make Getting Google Reviews Even Easier?

Hopefully now you’ve gotten a much better understanding of what Google My Business reviews are, why getting positive reviews is important and how you can start getting more reviews today.

The internet has created a never before scene platform for everyone to share their opinion with thousands of people they’ll never meet.

At the same time, search engines like Google have made it possible to connect with thousands of customers who might never find your business otherwise.

While getting Google reviews for your business can be a lot of work, they can be an incredibly powerful tool for marketing and customer service.

But you’re already a busy business owner – wouldn’t it be nice if you could put getting Google reviews on Autopilot?

Actually, we’re building a tool to do just that!

AutoPilot Reviews integrates with your existing marketing and customer service processes to make getting reviews and customer feedback easy.

AutoPilot lets you send simple surveys to customers using our mobile-friendly app, then send those customers directly to Google to leave a review there as well!

Want to learn more?

Check Out AutoPilot Reviews Today!

Get Positive Google Reviews for Free - Fast

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Fill out the form to get your free Google Review Request Handout

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