Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is an important tool for businesses looking to establish a strong online presence.
In the majority of cases, one of the most critical areas of a successful Google Business Profile is having a high number of positive reviews.
The importance of Google reviews
Reviews play a significant role in the purchasing decision of your customers.
In fact, a 2023 study by BrightLocal found that 46% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.
Especially as well know a personal recommendation is the most powerful form of marketing. It’s used by almost every business to increase leads and sales.
The drawback of a personal recommendation is there just isn’t enough volume to grow on a large scale.
Google reviews can increase this by getting more eyes on your business.
Reviews on your Google Business Profile also give you valuable insights into what your customers are saying about your business.
This feedback can be invaluable in helping you to identify where you can improve, as well as areas you’re excelling.
The other main benefit is the credibility and authority they provide for your business.
This can be a deciding factor in a customer choosing your business over a competitor.
How many reviews do you need?
So when optimising your Google Business Profile you need to look at what your target is.
Before you get more Google Reviews, you need to work out how many you actually need to aim for.
You see the number of Google Business Profile reviews you need is not an exact science.
There are many factors to it.
Some of the key facts that determine how many reviews you need are:
The level of competition and location can impact the number of reviews you need to get leads.
If you’re in a highly competitive market, you may need more positive reviews to stand out from your competitors.
The type of business can impact the number of reviews you need.
Some industries, such as restaurants or retail may require more positive reviews to establish trust and credibility with potential customers.
There’s also the case of low-ticket v high-ticket businesses. Low-ticket services will generally have a much higher customer base, than high-ticket services.
For example, a massage parlour will generally have more clients than a web design agency.
The massage will only last an hour to serve their client whereas a website will take weeks or months.
This means massage parlours will usually service many more customers at a lower cost per customer.
Whereas a web design agency will service fewer customers at a higher cost per customer.
As a result, massage parlours will generally be able to collect a high volume of reviews, due to the high volume of customers they are able to service every day.
The location of your business can also impact the number of reviews you need to aim for.
For example, if your business is in a highly populated area, then it may require more reviews to compete with the volume of other businesses in the surrounding area.
Quality of reviews
Receiving a large number of positive, detailed, and authentic reviews is more valuable than receiving a high number of generic, low-quality reviews.
High-quality reviews include accurate keywords about your business services and the work you did.
If a customer adds a photo to their review, this also adds to the quality and credibility of the review.
This could simply be a photo of the completed work.
Reputation of your business
If your business has been around for years or is already a well-established business with a good reputation, then it may need fewer reviews.
Whereas if your business is new, or less established, it will most likely need more reviews to gain the desired level of authority and trust.
Remember, one of the main reasons people don't buy is a lack of authority and trust.
So how do you know?
How do you know how many reviews your business needs to compete with your competitors on Google's local search results?
The best tactic is to Google search your business niche.
Let's say you’re a plumber in Belfast.
You should Google search ‘plumber belfast’ and look at the top results in the map pack at the top of the results page.
How many reviews do they have?
What is their star ranking out of 5?
This is the target you'll want to reach to compete with them.
So if your business was in those results, how many reviews would you need for a customer to choose you?
This is the number of reviews you should initially aim for.
How to get more Google reviews for your business
1. Claim and verify your Google Business Profile listing
The first step to getting more Google reviews is to claim and verify your Google Business Profile (formerly called Google My Business).
Once verified, you'll have control over your business information which will allow you to manage your Google reviews.
We cover this verification process in the verification section of our post on How To Set Up Google Business Profile.
2. Make it easy for customers to leave Google reviews
You must make it as easy as possible for your customers to leave a review.
You can do this by providing clear instructions and links to the review section on your Google Business Profile.
Google provides a review link for you to share with your customers.
This link takes them directly to the 'leave a review' section of your Google Business Profile, making it much easier for them to leave a review.
Note | A customer must have a Gmail account in order to leave a review.
Getting a Gmail is an easy process. However, if they're unable to do this, you can direct them to a different review site - like Facebook or Yelp to leave a review on your business. Google crawls these websites as well when working out your business’s credibility. It’s also better to have a high volume of reviews across all online review platforms.
In order to get your Google review link, you need to make sure your Google Business Profile listing is verified.
Once verified, search Google for ‘my business’.
Make sure when you do this you're logged in with the Google account you set up your Google Business Profile with.
In the search results, you’ll see your listing with a blue ‘View Profile’ button.
Click this button to go to your Google Business Profile page.
You’ll see a list of icons.
Select the ‘Read Reviews’ icon.
In the top right corner of the popup window you’ll see a blue ‘Get More Reviews’ button.
Clicking this will take you to a page with a link on it.
This is the link you want to copy and share with your customers.
It will take them directly to the 'leave a review' section of your Google Business Profile.
How you share this link with customers will vary depending on your business type.
Some ways to share your review link include:
- Email signature - Add your Google Business Profile link to your email signature. This will encourage your customers to leave a review after doing business with you.
- On your website - Add the link to your website. This could be on a dedicated ‘Leave Us A Review’ page on your website. Alternatively, you could include the link as a button in the footer, or in a prominent location on the ‘Contact Us’ or ‘About Us’ page.
- Social media - You can share your Google Business Profile review link on your social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. When you post this you should encourage your followers and customers to leave a review.
- In-store or on-site - This is a good option if you have a physical location that your customers can visit. You can display the link on a poster or as part of a customer feedback form.
- Receipts or invoices - Include your review link on your receipts and invoices to encourage them to leave a review after a purchase.
- Customer surveys - Ask customers to leave a review after they complete a customer satisfaction survey.
- Marketing materials - You can include your review link on any marketing materials you have, such as flyers, business cards, or brochures.
- Customer service calls - If you're on a customer service call, or on a phone or Zoom call with your customer, simply ask them if they would be happy to leave a review.
- Follow-up emails - Sending follow-up emails to customers, thanking them for their business, and asking them to leave a review.
Note | When sharing your link on a physical item, such as a poster, business card or flyer, it’s best to use a QR code.
The QR code will allow people to use the camera on their phone to instantly take them to the link. This saves them having to type the link in - which they’re never going to bother to do!
3. Respond to all Google reviews
Responding to all Google reviews shows that you’re dedicated to providing excellent customer service.
It also shows that you value your customers’ feedback.
This can encourage more customers to leave positive reviews and increase your overall rating on Google.
4. Personalise your request
Personalising your request for a review can increase the likelihood of a customer leaving a review.
If you think about it, you’re asking them to take time out of their schedule to help your business out.
So the more personal you can make the request, the more it will resonate with them.
If you can resonate with them they’ll be more likely to want to help you out.
When you contact them, you should customise your request based on the customer's specific experience.
You should also explain to them how their feedback can help your business improve.
5. Monitor your Google Business Profile regularly
Monitoring your Google Business Profile regularly is a great way to stay on top of new reviews and respond promptly to any negative reviews.
This can help to maintain a positive online reputation and increase the overall credibility and authority of your business.
Make sure you do this
Now you know how to go about getting more reviews you need to understand and follow a few key guidelines.
Collecting reviews is important, but it’s essential to follow Google's guidelines on Google Business Profile and reviews.
Failure to do so can result in penalties, including your listing getting removed.
You don't want that...
Your Google reviews need to be authentic.
And they need to reflect this.
For example, if you get your friends to leave positive fake reviews on your listing, you may find that a lot of them don’t post.
This is because Google's algorithms is highly sophisticated at detecting a fake review.
Though it’s not perfect. You may also experience some ‘real’ reviews not getting posted.
The best response to this is not to waste your time and get bogged down with trying to get this person's review ratified.
It’s a long and usually fruitless process.
So the best move is to focus on helping move customers to get more reviews for your listing.
Another way that you’re reviews can look unauthentic is if you don’t get any reviews for say 6 months, and then you suddenly get 30 reviews in 24 hours.
Google will see this as suspicious behaviour and most likely flag it.
So how do you combat this?
The ideal goal of optimising the review section of your listing is to get a steady, regular stream of positive reviews.
This should be your aim.
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