Why Google Reviews Matter: The SEO and Visibility Benefits
Earning online reviews on your Google Business Profile (GBP) is becoming more and more critical for local businesses that want to stand out online. With millions of people accessing GBPs to find or learn about local businesses each month, these profiles have incredible visibility in Google’s local search results. This makes them a hugely influential factor for your local SEO and discoverability.
But what many business owners don’t realize is that your number of Google reviews and average star rating are also algorithm ranking factors for Google. The more abundant positive business reviews you have, the more likely Google is to trust your business and feature it prominently when users search for related keywords. Businesses that have a strategy to get more Google reviews tend to have higher sales and conversion rates through organic search results.
Specifically, key review elements like a higher star rating and greater total number of reviews can boost you above competitors in the coveted Google 3-pack on Google Maps when consumers search for local services. Gathering more reviews also builds social proof and credibility, making customers more likely to choose you over alternatives with fewer or no reviews.
Setting an Online Reviews Generation Goal
With this in mind, every local business should make gaining more Google reviews a top priority. But rather than seeking shortcuts, the focus should be on organically earning these positive Google reviews through great customer service that creates genuinely positive experiences worthy of 5-star praise.
The three tips in this article will walk through actionable best practices to start driving more authentic reviews over time. The goal for most small businesses should be 25+ positive Google reviews in the first year, then regular ongoing review generation from happy customers.
#1: Automated Google Review Request Emails
Configure CRM Email Sequences
Setting up automated review request email sequences through your CRM platform takes some initial configuration, but delivers immense ROI through consistent google review generation at scale. Essentially, you set up an automated email after a purchase or a visit to request reviews if the interaction was positive. Follow these specifics steps to implement:
- Navigate to email campaign creation tool within CRM platform
- Setup trigged sequence to deploy 7 days after customer appointment/purchase
- Personalize campaign name: “Request for [Company] Review”
- Draft short 2-3 line email copy politely asking for honest review
Email Sequence Optimization Practices
Don’t initially expect your activation email sequences to be perfectly optimized. You’ll need to test different timing strategies, incentivization, and personalization approaches to maximize effectiveness. Useful best practices include:
- Send test sequences and review the effectiveness
- Pay attention to peak email open days/times
- Iterate on timing after purchase/service action
If you send everyone to your Google review link, you will generate both positive and negative reviews. That said, with this method, you could potentially steer a negative review to your contact form, so that you can address the issue internally as opposed to on your Google reviews page. Bad reviews on Google are inevitable, but if you can turn a bad review into a positive reach out to the individual to better the situation, it could turn into a business win.
#2: In-Location Prompts for Google Reviews
Printable Signage with Review QR Codes
Integrating professionally printed signage to request customers leave reviews in your establishment is a great way to tap into review generation through an additional in-person channel. Some tips for implementation include:
- Design black and white signs and stickers for printing. Place them around areas where your customer might be exiting the building
- Include scannable QR code linking directly to your Google reviews widget
#3: Promote Reviews via Social Channels
If your business actively maintains social media profiles, leverage these platforms to get more Google reviews and remind potential customers of your Google Business Profile.
A few best practices include:
- Occasionally thank recent delighted customers publicly via social media posts. Tag their profile and subtly encourage others to share feedback.
- Run limited-time “review campaigns” around holidays, milestones, or achievements. Share fun facts and positive news, then motivate followers to click your profile link tree and write Google reviews.
- Instead of overt review begging, focus messaging on legitimately earning praise through quality service. Feature actual customer testimonials.
Getting more Google reviews requires patience and avoiding quick tricks. Use social channels to tangentially highlight your committed excellence, which organically compels followers to investigate your business profile and leave honest opinions after positive encounters. Prioritize legitimately earning five stars over chasing quantities.
Focusing on Honest, Ethical Reviews
While reviews are pivotal for local SEO, simply accumulating quantities shouldn’t override quality and legitimacy. Google penalizes practices like inventing fake positive praise or offering customers incentives that border on bribery for five-star feedback.
Centering your google review generation efforts around excellent customer service organically earns authentic positivity. Some best practices include:
Respond Professionally to Any Negative Reviews
It’s unrealistic not to expect the occasional negative review, even when consistently providing fantastic experiences. Craft compassionate responses that seek to understand complaints and resolve matters rather than debate. This professionalism and care for feedback shows integrity to potential customers browsing your existing Google Business Profile reviews.
Set staff expectations around driving more google reviews through positivity. Educate them on why positive reviews matter and how their service impacts feedback. Provide talking points on appropriately encouraging honest reviews from delighted customers post-transaction.
Don’t overly push review requests via email blasts or homepage pop-ups. Periodic links in your email signature or website footer educate customers on leaving feedback without badgering. Promote organically on social media with positive customer experience spotlights.
Incentives for reviews should be minor perks conveying appreciation, not payments or over-the-top gifts bordering on bribery. A sincere thank you note or small discount off their next purchase goes much further ethically than cash rebates or expensive tangibles.
Getting abundant authentic praise takes patience. Consistently pursue google reviews through excellent service, not shortcuts. Stay top-of-mind through periodic review page links and polite verbal staff requests. If your business earns legitimate five-star experiences, the quantity and positivity will compound over time.
Commit to Review Generation as an Ongoing Initiative
Implementing automated emails, on-site signage, and social campaigns spotlights your Google Business Profile and kickstarts accelerating review volume. But don’t stop there. Consistently concentrating on fantastic customer service earns organic praise over time.
Make review generation a central, regular focus across departments. Hold staff accountable to polite review requests during positive interactions. Continually refresh printed signage drawing attention to your reviews section.
Patience and persistence are pivotal. But maintaining top-of-mind awareness alongside delivering five-star service grows genuine positive appraisal. Before long, you’ll have surpassed baseline targets of 25+ annual reviews.
The compounding visibility and SEO benefits from abundant Google praise builds momentum for your local brand. Commit to excelling at customer experience while proactively yet organically earning reviews. This fuels local pack rankings and sales. Deliver on quality, optimize prompt touchpoints, then let satisfied customers and Google’s algorithm reward your Google Business profile efforts.