Google is the most popular search engine in the world, and as a business owner, you want your website to show up as high as possible in those search results. The best way to do that is to get positive reviews from customers on Google, which no SEO Packages for Small Business can help you with. But how can you make sure your business gets them? Keep reading for some tips.
Importance of 5-Star Reviews On Google
You already know the importance of 5-star reviews. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be searching to figure out how to increase them. So, we’ll only briefly highlight the importance in case you do want to read this information.
Firstly, according to SEMRush, businesses need an average review rating of 4.1 and be one of the top three businesses with the most reviews to feature in the local map pack results. These are the results that show on Google when the intent of the searcher is local such as typing the town or near me. In order to stand a chance, you need to claim or create your Google Business Profile and complete it fully.
In addition, Whitespark claims that reviews have a 17% impact on your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) position. While it only accounts for 5% for local organic website listings, it still plays an important role. A business with a better review profile on Google and other review platforms than its competitors will influence Google’s decision to position your website higher on the index.
Secondly, reviews are digital forms of word of mouth. According to BrightLocal, online reviews are trusted as much as personal recommendations from friends and family 49% of the time. In other words, approximately half of your potential customers will be persuaded by a review or two. In addition, adding reviews to service pages can improve conversions as it removes fears such as whether the potential customer can trust you.
Prerequisites for 5-Star Reviews on Google
First things first, you need a Google Business Profile. If you haven’t claimed or set it up, then you’ll want to go to Google Business Profile Help to do so. Once you’ve done it, read on to understand a brief overview of how to optimise your profile.
Firstly, add your actual business name, address and phone number as it appears on your letterhead or official marketing documents. If you’re a service business, you can add your home address (and disable it from showing) to verify the listing. These details must be correct and accurate with other contact details for your business on the world wide web. You can use Moz Local Listings to get an accuracy and consistency score.
Secondly, complete every aspect of your listing. This includes adding products and services, images, videos, FAQs and answers, and more. The more detailed your profile is, the more likely Google will prefer it over a competitor.
Now that you have a complete profile gaining 5-star reviews will have a considerable impact on your business’s visibility in the local map pack and organic search results.
How to Earn 5-Star Reviews on Google
If you’re searching for ways to earn 5-star reviews, then I’ll uncover these ideas here. But, before you start reading, it’s important to recognise that it’s about you and your business rather than the customer at this point.
Exceptional Value for Money
Businesses need to satisfy their customers. This does not mean everything must be of amazing quality and at a cheap price; that’s just not possible. However, your product or service should be of the expected quality and priced appropriately.
For instance, your product service should be priced higher than a competitor’s if it’s better in terms of quality. But, that’s not necessarily when customers feel like they’ve received exceptional value for money.
In order to make them feel like your product should not only be priced lower than your competitor but be of better quality. This is partly a price penetration strategy that works in building reviews.
Creating an unforgettable customer experience is essential for businesses that want to stand out from the competition on Google. There are many ways to create a memorable experience, but one of the most important factors is to focus on the customer’s individual needs.
By taking the time to get to know your customers and understand their preferences, you can create an experience that’s tailored specifically to them. In addition, it’s important to go above and beyond their expectations so their experience becomes memorable.
Delivering exceptional service and showing that you genuinely care about your customers will ensure that they remember their experience with your business in a positive light. By following these simple tips, you can create customer experiences that are truly unforgettable and result in gaining 5-star reviews.
How to Get 5-Star Reviews on Google
Create ‘Request Reviews’ Link
Every claimed Google Business Profile has a short link available. This link allows your customers to quickly reach the area to write their reviews. However, you shouldn’t blindly share this URL with your satisfied customers. Instead, follow the suggestions below to increase your chances of gaining even more 5-star reviews.
Use Bit.ly to Shorten the URL
If you expect customers to manually type the URL into Google in order to reach the review page, you can shorten it to make it more efficient and user-friendly. Go to bit.ly, create a free account, add the link from above, and edit the extension. Perhaps, “review-businessname”.
Use QR Codes
QR codes have their place, and one of those is for getting more 5-star reviews. Go to qr-code-generator.com and paste the review link provided by Google. Attach the codes to anything that seems appropriate. For example, on your branded vehicle (if you have one) or rate your experience today cards.
Link from Website to Review Page
Using either link, the Google one or the shortened one, you can add it to your website. This will make it easier for customers who you don’t specifically ask to leave a review. You can make it highly visible in the header or place it subtly in the footer.
If you’ve lawfully collected and stored your customers’ contact details, such as their email address and/or phone number, you could run an email or message campaign every quarter, 6 months or a year.
Automate Review Collections
You can automate review collections if your customers buy from an eCommerce website or use a booking system. You can set it up so that an email or text message is sent a day after the delivery or class took place requesting a review.
If you typically deal with customers via email, you could use part of your email signature to encourage customers to write a review. It could be as simple as “Write a Review” that’s hyperlinked.
Tactics to Avoid at all Costs
Google has terms of service in terms of reviews concerning their Google Business Profile feature. While some will argue that Google does very little to enforce them, I’ve seen countless businesses drop off the face of Google and lose revenue overnight.
Soliciting Reviews in Bulk
Google specifically states that “soliciting reviews from customers in bulk” goes against their guidelines. We interpret this as sending hundreds of emails or texts at once to achieve an influx of reviews. So, in order to solicit reviews from hundreds of customers, we suggest asking a few customers each day and ticking them off your list.
Selecting Only Satisfied Customers
Google forbids “selectively solicit(ing) positive reviews from customers”, which means only asking customers you know who will leave a positive review. While it can be difficult for Google to determine whether you’ve broken their rules, a Google Business Profile with only 5-star reviews looks suspicious, especially hundreds of them. However, small businesses with 10’s of 5-star reviews would be okay.
Paying for Reviews (Including Buying Fakes)
Google, along with hundreds of other review websites, all state that paying for reviews goes against their terms of service. While this may seem like a great way to encourage customers to write reviews, 89% of them are willing to do it for free, anyway. Just ensure you deliver exceptional value for money and an unforgettable experience.
Reviewing Your Own Business
Google states that you, your employees or friends and family cannot review your business due to a conflict of interests. With the amount of data Google holds, it’s unlikely to be too difficult for them to flag conflicts of interest.
Tactics to Implement
Featuring in the top 3 in Google Maps can make or break a business. I’ve shared some of the top ways to increase your chances of gaining a spot aside from telling you that you need more 5-star reviews than your competitors. In addition to my top tips below, I’ve written a dedicated article focused on explaining the common reasons why your business may not even be in Google Maps.
Reviews with Keywords
Reviews written by your customers that contain your keywords are the most powerful tactic to increase your profile’s position in the search engine results pages. For example, if you’re a carpet cleaner, a customer mentioning “carpet cleaning” in their review will be a whole lot more valuable than without it.
Reviews with Locations
Similar to the occupation or service keywords, reviews that mention your town, city or county of operations will help your profile rank higher. These do not necessarily need to be an exact match keyword but rather mentioned. For example, it doesn’t need to be “carpet cleaner in Kent” if you’re a carpet cleaner operating in Kent.
Respond to Every Review
Responding to positive and negative reviews can show your appreciation for the views of your customers. This can help customers choose your business over a competitor’s business on the basis of your responses to negative reviews.