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google reviews, complete guide

Since it’s 2021, I assume you are very aware of the power of online reviews and online reputation.

Covid-19 has significantly changed the way people conduct and run their business. 

It’s become entirely online in most markets, where online reputation is the referee for making or breaking! 

Here are some stats from BrightLocal – Local Consumer Survey 2019 that confirm this:

90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year

33% of consumers look at local businesses online every day – up from 27% last year

And in this guide, I tackle Google reviews as one of the main bridges between your customers trusting and buying or just ignoring and never coming back.  

Yes, Google reviews can have a considerable impact, and in this guide, you can learn how to get the most out of them. 

What are Google reviews, and why are important?

How do you search for a restaurant or a place near you? 

You go on Google search or Google Maps, type the restaurant’s name or the type of food you like, right?

Google brings results that are usually a combination of the proximity to your location and the ratings that a local business has on Google. 

And that rating is actually aggregated by the reviews people submit on Google maps for a particular location. 

As we can both agree, people do read Google reviews. But why?

Google reviews provide valuable information about а business’s operations and customers’ actual experiences who had a real interaction with that business. 

Generate & display your Google reviews

Show social reviews, boost trust on your website and increase conversions.

How do Google reviews work?

Successful digital marketing tactics drive Google’s local SEO algorithm. 

Therefore, it is highly likely that businesses with a high number of reviews will show up first in local searches for a particular brand keyword.

And as mentioned above, this combination between the average rating, number of reviews, and the proximity to the user will most probably define the position of a listing in Google maps. 

So it is kinda obvious that if you want your business to stand out in Maps or Google Search, you will need to establish a process to acquire, manage, and respond to Google Reviews. 

Where are Google reviews shown?

Your Google reviews show on your Google My Business profile. 

From there, Google’s ranking system can pick them up and display them in:

1. Google Local search results

When someone searches for a navigational keyword, for example: “best pizza near me”, if you are in the “pizza” business and the potential customer is near your location, Google will show your business listing.

google reviews, google search results

2. Google Maps

Further, if someone searches for your business name, they can be shown in the Google Maps section of the Google Search results or directly in the Google Maps app.

embedsocial, google maps, google reviews

Ok, that’s cool. So, now let’s see what the benefits of Google reviews for your business are.

Benefits of Google business reviews

As Google is the most used and trusted search engine, people also consider Google reviews as reliable information to make conclusions about a specific product or a service. 

Undoubtedly, Google reviews are becoming very important for today’s business owner. They represent a vital part of their business’s digital marketing strategy and online presence. One of the most significant benefits of Google reviews is that they boost local search rankings. 

Therefore, knowing how to set up and optimize your Google My Business listing for better local SEO exposure in the SERPs is critical.

Here are some quick, helpful tips:

  • Choose a nice profile and cover photo
  • Choose the relevant business category
  • Enter relevant business information like description, phone number, location, website URL, working ours, etc.

Also, note that messaging or chatting with potential customers is a great Google My Business feature that is enabled for some countries. 

You just have to enter your phone number and enable the Click-to-Message this option.

Having all of these features in mind, here are the main benefits of Google reviews for your business:

  • Improving brand trust
  • Increasing online exposure
  • Driving organic traffic from local SEO
  • Providing essential feedback about your company
  • Improving conversions on landing pages
  • Increasing sales

These benefits are great for any business type, but especially for small businesses that want to get new customers to grow faster.

To experience the benefits of Google reviews, first, you will need to set up a Google My Business account.

Let me quickly guide you through that process if you haven’t an active Google My Business account.

Set up a Google My Business account

To start using Google reviews and enjoy the benefits above, you need to claim and verify your Google My Business profile.

Google My Business is a free tool, and you can create a business profile in just a few minutes.

To get started, first go ahead and search for your business on Google Maps or in the Google search bar.

If you already have a listing but is not claimed and verified, you can easily follow our guide on Google My Business.

On the other hand, if you still do not own one, you can create your Google My Business listing for free right now. 

Note: You can always edit and update your information at any time.

Now, when you are all set with your GMB account, let’s dive into these useful tips on how to get more Google reviews. 

The importance of Google My Business listings and Google reviews during COVID-19

The online reviews are a powerful form of evaluating a service or a company operating as a local business.

They increase trust and credibility and can contribute to the overall online reputation of a business.

And Google reviews are usually the first thing a potential customer will get in front of when trying to interact with your business. 

They are that important! 

This information from customers about local businesses’ services and products has become essential, especially in the Covid-19 crisis.

As most of the local businesses had to lockdown, and the crisis forced them to change their business operations entirely.

They couldn’t use their location as an advantage to attract customers.

Now they had the challenge to specialize in online orders management and delivery. And all that in just a couple of days, if they wanted to survive.

Still, the best thing that happened is that customers started to order more from local businesses and support them.

They look for the nearest restaurant on Google, read the reviews, and order.

It is a simple process, and if you encourage them, they will most likely write you a Google review, just because they have the time at home to do that.

Please continue reading below to learn how to optimize your Google My Business listing and get more google reviews. 

How to get more Google reviews

Customers often want detailed information from their online, trusted peers to help them make decisions easier. They want to become informed about the customer experience and to know what to expect.

Earlier in this post, we discussed the benefits and how Google reviews can help your brand’s online presence. And now is the time for some action. 

Here are 5 tips on how to get the maximum out of Google reviews for your business:

1. Optimize your Google My Business listing

First things first.

I mentioned how to set up your Google My Business with relevant photos and descriptions about your menu.

Previously you would have done this maybe 2-3 times a year.

But now, during the pandemic, information about your open hours is vital for a person to decide to order.

So, the best way is to update your listing more often.

Use Google Posts to post a Covid-19 post that will appear at the top of your profile, where you can inform people on how you operate.

Hopefully, showing people recency will encourage them to order and therefore write a review.

2. Show your customers how to leave a Google review

Many of your customers don’t know how to leave a review on your listing. So, let’s start at the ground level. 

There are two possible ways you can leave Google reviews; through a browser (on desktop or mobile) or the Google Maps App. The process is different for each, and yes, your customers will need a Google account to do it.

To show them how to do this, you can go over these easy steps:

Write a Google Review from your browser (from desktop or mobile)

  1. Login with your Gmail account, and after that, search for the desired GMB business page.
  2. Navigate to the reviews area on that listing (located next to the star rating in search results or under the business name in the Google search bar) and click on the blue font that says “Write a review.”
  3. Write about your customer experience, and rate it between 1 and 5 stars, and click “Post.” 

Write a Google review from your smartphone through the Google Maps app

  1. In the Google Maps app on your smartphone, search for the business name.
  2. The app will return a small sticky banner about the business at the bottom, and then click that banner to expand the listing.
  3. Navigate to the “Reviews” section of the menu or scroll down through the listing until you see the unpopulated five stars with your profile picture above them, and then click on the number of stars you would like to rate the business
  4. You can write about your experience and click “Post

To save time, you can record these steps as a short tutorial video or create a detailed article and send it to your customers whenever they have an issue about leaving a Google review.  

3. Ask customers to leave a review

Your happy customers are willing to leave a review for your business, and all you have to do is just ask!

Approach them pleasantly and honestly like “asking for a favor“. There are multiple ways to do this like, ask them on social media, send them an email, or contact them via your customer success agents. 

Asking new customers to review your business shows that you have trust in them, and you are willing to support them at any time.

More happy customers = more reviews = more sales.

4. Thank your customers for leaving a review

Thanking your customers for their positive reviews is always a good idea.

Showing gratitude and establishing communication on that ground can increase trust and create a foundation for great customer relationships.

5. Share Google review link

One of the best ways to get new reviews is creating a Google review link and promoting it on different online channels.

Here is the easiest way on how to create a Google review link:

  1. Visit Google Place ID;
  2. In the ‘Enter a location’ field, write your company name;
  3. In the drop-down list, click on your company name that appears;
  4. Your Place ID will appear in the popover, and just copy it;
  5. Paste this ID number at the end of this link (after the = sign) https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=
generator for google review link

Here is how our Google review link looks:  https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJzc7sFGsUVBMR87i2puYDn-U

You can use a free link shortener tool like bit.ly and make this massive link into a reasonable size, making it simpler to share it anywhere. 

The shortened link can be promoted in your social media posts or included in your email signature. 

Additionally, you can add the link and create a review button to display it on your website.

6. Create a Google review page on your website 

Show all customer reviews from various review sources, including Google, and embed your social media and Google reviews on your website. 

You can do this with a professional reviews management tool like EmbedSocial, which directly integrates with the Google API and automatically syncs Google reviews with any website. 

The best case is to embed a Google reviews widget on some of your existing pages (you can find more details about this widget below). 

Still, one of the exciting ways is also the possibility to create and share an entirely dedicated page with your Google Reviews and reviews from any other sources you collect from.

Here is an example of a Reviews page:  

reviews page layout

And here are the main sections included on this page: 

  • Company logo and description section
  • Leave a review button that triggers a form
  • Star rating data
  • Number of reviews
  • Reviews filter by source
  • Table view of the reviews with reviewer info, date, source logo

As you can see, having a dedicated reviews page is a great destination to showcase reviews from various sources. Allow customers to make their own decisions and eventually use it to submit feedback directly on your social media pages or through forms. 

How to manage Google reviews

If your business has a Google My Business page, you should pay attention to your review management strategy. 

Don’t you have one? No worries.

There are a few things that you need to have in mind when successfully managing your Google My Business reviews. 

First, you should monitor them daily, and secondly, you should always be prepared to respond to your reviews in the best way possible. Especially the negative ones!

Now, let me share how to manage your Google reviews and approach them correctly: responding and reporting (removing) them.

How to respond to positive and negative reviews on Google

As mentioned earlier in this post, I guess you already know what you should do and how to respond to positive reviews.

The successful business practices, highly recommend to show your gratitude to customers and reply to good reviews as it adds additional value.

On the other side, it takes more time to review and respond to a negative review on Google.

Unfortunately, you can’t just ignore it until it goes away. Ignoring a bad review can make things even worse!

To approach this situation properly, here are a few tips:

  1. Review and evaluate the feedback internally first
  2. Prepare an appropriate response
  3. Respond to the review publicly and quickly
  4. Work towards a 1:1 conversation 
  5. Be transparent about mistakes and issues
  6. Ask questions when details aren’t clear
  7. Offer a similar solution or be willing to help
  8. Add a human touch and sign your name on the response
  9. Request an update from the customer and don’t leave the conversation unfinished

Nobody wants those 1-star reviews on their Google My Business listing, so I advise you to start with them first.

If some of them seem suspicious to you and look like a planned malicious attack on your business reputation, you should take additional actions. Those actions include flagging and reporting inappropriate reviews so the Google team can remove them. 

The process includes going over a few steps on how to report an inappropriate review. However, this is not an easy process, and it can often be frustrating.

The ugly truth is that there is no guarantee that Google support will listen to what you have to say and remove the review for you.

But, the best you can do is to try the following tips!

How to remove reviews from Google

Google reviews can make or break a business. Sadly, people (or fake accounts) do leave negative or fake reviews, which can negatively impact your online reputation.

So, what can you do about this issue?

There isn’t a direct “delete” option by Google, but there are different things you can do about getting the review removed.

1. Navigate to your Google My Business profile

2. Tap on “Reviews

3. When you see the review you want to remove, click the three dots in the top right corner.

flag as inappropriate, google review

4. Click “Flag as inappropriate

5. A popup window with “Report review” will be shown with a text about Google’s content policy and click “Continue“.

report google reviews, google content policy

6. Another popup with the text “What’s wrong with this review” is shown, and you need to choose the relevant reason.

select reason, flag google review

7. After selecting the reason, click “Report

8. After Google processes your request, they will send you an email with an update on your removal request. 

review reported, submission, google reviews

Fingers crossed 🤞

How to embed Google reviews on your website?

The process to generate and display Google reviews on your website is simple and easy with the EmbedReviews platform.

Here are the steps on how to embed Google reviews on your website:

  1. Create EmbedReviews account
  2. Add Google as a source to connect your Google My Business location
  3. Once the reviews feed is generated, copy the provided code
  4. Paste this code into your website body section.

Here is how Google reviews widget looks like:

embed google reviews on website, social proof

Like what you see? Try EmbedReviews to generate and embed Google reviews on your website, in seconds.

With EmbedReviews you can even generate reviews from review sites like Yelp and Facebook reviews. One of the best features is that you can combine all of these reviews into one beautiful widget and display it on your website.

We have many layout templates to pick from and that are suitable for every website style and design.

If you want to know more detailed information about embedding Google reviews on your website, check our embed Google reviews tutorial.

FAQs about Google Reviews

How do I review a business on Google?

On your computer or smartphone, make sure you’re signed in with your Google account and search for a place on Google search or Google Maps. There, find the number of reviews and click on them. In the window that appears, click on the “Write a review“, select your star rating and write a review.

Do you need a Google account to leave a Google review?

Yes, you need a Google account. In the earlier days of Google Reviews, you could leave a Google review without having an account, but that has changed.

How do I find my Google reviews?

Your Google reviews appear on your Google My Business page.

Can I turn off Google reviews for my business?

There is no option to turn off Google reviews. Google My Business reviews are created to allow anyone with a Gmail (Google) account to leave your business review.

How do I write a review on Google?

Be specific, honest, and relevant to the business you are reviewing. Keep it real and try to be authentic while writing the review. Be informative and insightful so you can provide value for other users. Finally, try to be respectful: Not every experience with a specific business is going to be perfect.

How do you delete Google reviews?

You can’t directly delete Google reviews. There is a procedure you should follow and flag a review as inappropriate, select the relevant reason, and submit it to Google for a review.

Wrap up

Eventually, having both good and bad Google reviews doesn’t look that terrible for your online reputation. 

Having a mix of great reviews and bad ones is a good thing—it shows that you are a real business and that you didn’t just beg or forced your contacts to say nice things about your business.

In the end, the only thing that matters is just getting more Google reviews and use the positive ones as brand advocates to gain additional value for your business and acquire new customers.

Hope all of these tips helped you understand more about Google reviews.

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