Do you see your competitors rising to the top of local search results, and the accompanying reviews from their customers and ask yourself, “How do I get more Google reviews?”. If so, read on for the top five ways to get more Google reviews for your business! Reviews, especially Google reviews, are not only a critical component of a successful SEO strategy; they are also an effective way to get new customers interested by differentiating you through virtual word-of-mouth endorsements.
Top 5 Ways To Get More Google Reviews
1) Just ask! Sometimes it’s That Easy.
You might be surprised at how many people are willing to post a review for you if you just ask. Make asking customers to post reviews for you on Google a part of your standard operating procedure. As part of your every day interactions you probably have many opportunities to just ask!
- If you have customers on the phone, ask them to write you a Google review and send them a link to your Google Places listing.
- If you send frequent emails, put a call to action in your email signature asking for Google reviews and linking the recipient.
- If you have a store or office that your customers visit, put a sign-up and just ask!
- If you have an email list of clients, send a mass email out with a link and instructions and ask!
- If you do an e-newsletter make it a standard promotional feature – to ask for a Google review!
2) Leverage Existing Reviews and Testimonials
You’ve probably received client quotes in the past endorsing your work or business. You may have reviews or endorsements on your website, or on LinkedIn or on your Facebook page. Consider personally calling each of those customers and ask them if they will post the same testimonial or review on Google. Make it easy for them by cutting and pasting what they already wrote or provided, and send the copy with directions for posting and a link to your Google place page. Be available to talk them through if they get stuck in the process!
3) No Tapping Into Your Friends, Family and Employee Base!
There is a rule that says employees, friends and family can’t review your business! I could post a 5 star review that honestly says I am impressed with the work many of my clients have done, without actually being a client – or lying, but according to Google, that’s still not cool.
4) Don’t Set-Up a Review Station!
Instead remind people to review your venue at home or on their mobile phones. You will probably have to help some people set up a Google account. So learn how to tell somene how to set one up. Depending on your audience, this may have been your primary barrier with getting reviews in the first place. This personalized, hands on approach is probably your best strategy.
5) Make It Worth Their While, but Keep It On the Down Low!
If you’re going to ignore Google’s rules, and decide to offer an incentive, keep it on the down low, don’t ever put your offer in writing. By offer we mean a credit, a movie ticket, a free sample, a retail gift card worth $10 – even something small that makes sense for your business and is of value to your audience.
Don’t be tempted to put signs up in your office or send an email to your client base. Google frowns upon marketing efforts that “bribe” people into giving artificial reviews, and if they catch you with a web page promoting such a program then be prepared to be penalized.
What would Google do to me if they catch me with reviews that don’t comply with their policies?
Google says they’ll “remove the content”. What isn’t clear is whether this means they’ll just remove the review, or shut down the whole Google Places account. If you know of someone’s business that’s been penalized, please let us know about it by leaving a comment below.