Since the dawn of humanity, humans have relied heavily on word of mouth recommendations when making important decisions – like the best place to gather berries or hunt bison, or the best cave to hunker down in at night.
Today we call it social proof, and it is more powerful than ever.
Why Reviews Are So Powerful
If you were a discerning cave person, where would you probably stay?
Did you choose Le Cro Magnon Suites?
Even though it appears lower on the page, you just can’t miss those five stars. And wow, 148 reviews, that’s a lot! This place must be nice.
Out of everything else happening on the page, the reviews are the first thing you see. Fast forward thirty thousand years, and today’s consumer is conditioned to look for those review stars.
This phenomenon has a huge impact on both your click through rate and your conversion rate, meaning more people will click on the higher rated listing and more people will ultimately choose the higher rated item.
As a business owner, that’s more important to your bottom line than any other vanity metric such as pageviews. Below we’re sharing why Google Reviews are important for your business and to get more of them from customers (check out the free Google Review Link Tool at the end of the blog).
Getting More Google Reviews for My Business
While getting reviews on Yelp, BBB, Yellowpages, and other review sites is certainly beneficial, today we are going to talk about Google reviews.
As of 2018, Google accounts for over 90% of search traffic. It’s where everyone goes to begin their information gathering journey, so it should be your top priority.
Your Google reviews (or lack thereof) are going to influence your potential buyers’ decision making process at multiple steps along the way.
Where Will My Google Reviews Show Up?
1. The Local “3-Pack”
In the initial “awareness” stage, your potential customers will be searching for your product or service using non-branded keywords, like “bathtub refinishing” or “accountants near me.”
At this point your goal is for your business to make it into the local “3-Pack” for non-branded keywords like above. Showing up here is crucial to getting traffic to your website, since the 3-Pack is so visually dominant on the page.
Which company would you call first?
2. Google My Business Listing
It is quite likely that over 90% of your visitors won’t contact you on their first visit to your website.
Your product or service is appealing, but most of your visitors aren’t quite ready to commit. When these potential customers are weighing their options, they might Google your company and your competitors by name.
A “branded” keyword search for your company name will likely lead people to your Google My Business listing, where your Google reviews will prominently be displayed.
Do Reviews Affect My Search Engine Ranking?
Reviews are basically 3rd party stamps of approval (or disapproval).
SEO experts agree that review signals are a strong local ranking factor. Review signals include:
- Number of Reviews – More is better
- Average Review Rating – A higher average rating is better
- 3rd Party Reviews – Reviews on other 3rd party sites may also influence rankings, and they can also be displayed on your Google My Business profile.
- Frequency of Reviews – Getting reviews consistently over a period of time is a positive signal.
Receiving good reviews consistently signals that people are regularly interacting with your business and having a positive experience. Consistency also legitimizes the reviews.
If you go from 0 to 50 reviews overnight, that looks fishy. Google doesn’t like being lied to.
If you get busted for fake reviews, you can get penalized, lose ALL your reviews, and have to start over again from scratch. Even if your reviews are legitimate, getting 10 or so per month for 5 months is more believable and more natural than getting all 50 in one day.
Moral of the story: Don’t go all gung-ho asking for reviews after reading this, then give up a month later. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
How to Get More Customers to Leave Google Reviews
You just have to ask. Ask everyone you do business with, every time. Mention it to them in person, mention it on the phone, put it on your receipts/invoices, follow up by email, etc. Make it so that no transaction is considered complete until you have personally asked for a review.
Of course … in the rare case you know that your customer is dissatisfied, maybe you could conveniently forget to mention a review.
That may sound like trying to manipulate your ratings, but let’s be honest, human nature is already working against you in this department.
When our cell phone provider magically lets us talk with someone on the other side of the Earth, beams us movies from outer space, and it all miraculously works perfectly nearly 100% of the time, do we leave them a positive review?
But heaven forbid we experience some kind of minor inconvenience or billing issue. Then it’s time to embark on an aggressive campaign of digital revenge.
The point is, angry people already speak up. Your happy customers require some encouragement.
A single negative review can wreak a lot of havoc on your digital reputation. This is all the more reason that quantity is important. One bad review out of 7 looks a lot worse than one bad review out of 170. A high quantity of solid reviews protects you from those random grouches that no one can realistically avoid.
Asking for Google Reviews by Email
Whatever line of business you are in, it is often not practical to collect reviews while out in the field. Ultimately the request will usually have to come via email.
People are much more likely to open this email if you tell them that it is coming and tell them it is important to you. Remember, this is a very human interaction and you’re asking for a personal favor.
If you just send an email without ever mentioning it, there’s a good chance it will get ignored.
Here is a sample email asking for a Google Review.
Feel free to take pieces of this sample email and make it work for your business. If you use a marketing automation platform, like HubSpot, you could trigger these emails based on you (or your customier’s) activities.
Create Your Own Google Review Link to Share With Customers
One of the biggest obstacles to getting Google reviews is that the average person doesn’t really know how to leave one.
You want the process to be as painless as possible, but it usually requires a hefty bit of explaining:
“Okay, here’s what you do. Go to Google, and Google our business by name. On the right side of the page, you should see a big box with all our business info in it. Now, look for the orange review stars. Next to that, you’ll see the number of reviews. That is a clickable link. Click that and you’ll see a pop up window. In the pop up window, you’ll see a ‘write a review’ button in the upper right hand corner. Click that and enter your review.”
Luckily though, you don’t have to explain the entire how-to process anymore. You can use our easy-to-use Google Review Link Tool.
To create a shareable Google review link, you’ll just enter your business name, hit enter, and copy the URL that appears in the right text box.
Voila. Enjoy your easy-to-use review URL.
Now go get to work soliciting those reviews!
Bonus Tip for the Technically Inclined
If you want to make a really easy to remember Google review link for your business, it’s very simple to do. For instance, let’s say you want this to be your review link:
This is an added convenience because a URL like this is much easier to say when trying to tell it to someone in person or over the phone.
For the sake of this example, let’s say your direct Google review link created by the generator was:
Just go to your .htacess file and add the following line of code:
Redirect 301 /review http://thee.design/12345678
Now when someone goes to YourSite.com/review, they’ll be conveniently redirected to your review link.
Warning: It is very possible to break your website when tinkering around with your .htacess file. Always create a backup, or better yet, contact a professional.