How To Get Google Reviews & Boost Local Rankings

You need to learn how to get Google reviews in order to boost local rankings. It is imperative that your business is listed on Google along with good customer reviews. If your business is not listed, you can be sure that your competitors websites are, but how do you get Google reviews? AddMe is one of Australia’s longest running digital marketing businesses. The AddMe Reviews platform was developed entirely in house by our team based in Melbourne, Australia. This article, along with the webinar video above, have been created to help businesses understand the benefits and best practices of utilizing Google Reviews. We’ll discuss why you need Google reviews, how to get them and even how to get good reviews. We’ll also discuss how the AddMe Reviews platform can benefit your business by helping you to make the most of Google reviews.

Current statistics tell us that 82% of consumers search online reviews before engaging with a new business. If the consumer can’t find a review, they’ll be less likely to purchase from or contact the business.

Google Reviews Best Practice and their Influence on Local Search.

What are Google Reviews?

Google reviews are a feature provided by Google My Business and Google Maps that allows your business information to appear in search results. In order to make use of the service, you first need to create a Google My Business account. Inside Google My Business, you can add business information such as your company name, hours, contact information and even photos.

Verifying Your GMB Address: Before your business information will show on Google search results, you will need to verify your business address. which is a simple process. Google will send you a card with a verification code on it. Once you receive the card in the mail, simply enter the code and you’re good to go. Your business, location, hours and even photos will show up in search results when people search for your business.

Why Do Businesses Need Google Reviews?

It’s no secret that Google is the world’s largest and most well known search engine. The vast majority of business searches carried out online are performed on Google. Particularly local searches. If your business is not listed on Google, you’re losing a significant amount of exposure. Or, if your business is listed in Google but without rankings, it’s unlikely that your business will be displayed in search results for anything other than your exact business name. And that’s not good for business. It is imperative that you get your business listed on Google — but it’s just as important that you also have fantastic reviews. AddMe Reviews platform was designed to streamline the process of building a healthy review profile.

How Do Reviews Impact the Decisions Customers Make Regarding Doing Business With Us?

97% of consumers state that online reviews have impacted their purchasing decisions. This number has been increasing year on year as more people turn to online reviews to research a businesses prior to engaging with them, and the prevalence of reviews and review sites are growing day by day. It makes sense that this figure is now as high as it is.

46% of people will only use businesses with a rating of 4 or higher

So, with 97% of people looking at reviews, what star rating is needed for people to use a particular business? According to consumer surveys, 46% of people will only use businesses with a rating of 4 or higher. Businesses that aren’t reaching these sorts of ratings are losing a substantial amount of business. The data clearly shows that consumers are doing their research before engaging with a business, and they’re basing their decision on who to use not only on their website or marketing, but on their reviews and reputation.

The Reason Why Online Reviews Influence Google’s Online Search Results

40% of your ranking signals are derived from Google My Business and online reviews

The above screenshot was taken from Google’s support pages, relating to how businesses are ranked in Map search. The highlighted section reads:

Google review count and score are factored into local ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.

The above screenshot is also from Google support documentation. In the section “Manage and respond to reviews”, Google provides explicit instructions to respond to reviews for a few reasons. Above, the highlighted section reads:

High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.

Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

It is clear from Google that not only do reviews have a direct impact on rankings and prominence, Google expects businesses to seek and respond to reviews.

This chart above breaks down Google’s search ranking signals. It shows what aspects of your site and online presence impacts search results. On the left you’ve got traditional on-page and off-page search engine optimization metrics – things that you can change by optimising your site, online citations and backlinks. On the right we have your Google My Business and online reviews. The important thing to understand and take away from this information is that a full 40% of your ranking signals are derived from Google My Business and online reviews. Both of these, especially so with online reviews, are things that aren’t typically included in a search engine optimization campaign as they’re more personal and generally require direct involvement from the business.

Customer Reviews Matter

As demonstrated in the image above, the first three businesses ranked are much more likely to have more reviews than those outside of the top three. To gain a position in the top three, you need an average of 472% more reviews than businesses in the following three. More than six times out of ten, the top ranking result will be the business with the most reviews. So clearly we see that reviews have a direct impact on rankings, and in order to capture a higher ranking, or the top ranking, you need to have more  reviews and good reviews to make that possible. To gain 472% more reviews than other businesses to rank in the top three is both a blessing and a curse. If you’re already in that position then it’s going to be difficult for competitors to push you out, but if you’re fighting to get a higher rank then it could be a struggle to do without proper customer review strategy in place.

Factors That Affect Google’s Local Listings

  • Reviews including a keyword
  • Reviews including a city
  • Total reviews
  • Average yearly reviews
  • Reviews not responded to
  • Reviews in the past year
  • Average weekly reviews
  • Average monthly reviews
  • Photos in reviews
  • Reviews Responded to
  • Negative reviews not responded to
  • Reviews including city and state
  • Reviews including the phrase: “Near me”

Why You Should Be Asking Every Customer to Review Your Business?

Our data indicates that reviews are most trusted within the first 3 months that they’ve been received. You need, on average, a minimum of 41 reviews for the score to seem realistic. The average consumer will read between 7 and 11 reviews when researching a business, while the minimum rating that most consumers need to see to engage with a business is 3.3. However, those same consumers are willing to spend up to an additional 31% on a business with great reviews.

Studies on reviews have shown that a business can boost their revenue between 5% and 9% just by increasing their rating by 1 star.

Data states that roughly 9% of people are likely to leave a review for a business of their own volition if the service or product they received was either very good or just slightly bad. Naturally, this skews the distribution of reviews a business typically receives to being quite negative. Being proactive and asking for reviews increases the chance of a consumer writing a review massively, with 81% of people stating that they would be willing to write a review for a business if requested. This also then changes the likelihood of a business receiving more positive reviews, instead of negative ones. This is the difference that we see between asking for reviews and leaving it to chance.

91% of people state that they place as much trust in online reviews as that of a recommendation from a close family member or friend.

So What Should You be Doing to Capitalise on These Review Trends?

It’s important to have a defined process in place for sending out review requests and to make sure that the requests are being sent to every customer. The requests should be sent shortly after the customer has had an interaction with your business.

Why is it Important to Encourage Reviews Quickly

Leaving it up to individual employees to decide whether or not to send a review request is fraught with danger.  We hear it all the time – “Oh, they were too busy to send it out”, “they forgot”, “they said that customer would only leave a bad review” or “they didn’t want to risk it with that one”.  Unless you believe that you provide a sub-standard product or service, there aren’t many reasons why you shouldn’t be trusting your product, service or team and sending out those requests.

How Do We Get Customers to Leave a Review?

The AddMe Reviews platform helps you to request reviews from customers.

  1. The AddMe reviews platform allows you to send review requests to your happy customers via SMS or email, using predefined and editable templates.
  2. Increase response rates by guiding customers through the review process and onto the right review sites.
  3. Provide tools to enable businesses to easily manage, respond to and promote their online reviews.

What Is the Best Way Get Customers to Write a Good Review?

The best way to get a customer to write a good review is to contact happy customers and ask them. Statistics show that customers are more likely to search for a way to review your company and leave a negative comment if they’re upset. So to combat this, it makes sense to ask the happy campers to do the same.

The good thing is that your happy customers are simply your regular customers, so it’s not difficult to find them.

AddMe Reviews makes it easy for you to ask your happy customers for a review by email or SMS. However, it’s can also be very helpful if you have the opportunity to find out why a customer might be unhappy before they leave a negative review. Often, a customer that set out to leave a negative review can be turned into a customer that will leave a positive review if you can help them with the underlying cause of their problem. They might be disgruntled over a simple misunderstanding. AddMe Reviews provides a process to help the customers who want to leave a negative review.

How You Should Be Responding to Reviews?

Tip (a bit of humour): Responding to a bad review with “Haider’s gonna hate” is probably not the best strategy to deploy in your bid to increase your companies reputation.

While pretty funny, the above example is quite obviously not the most proactive way to deal with bad customer reviews.

89% of consumers read both your reviews AND how you respond to those reviews.

It is important to ask these questions:

  • Do you care enough about your customers to respond to their reviews?
  • Are you using templates or customising responses for each person?
  • How well do you handle negative reviews and criticism?
  • Are you responding to reviews quickly or taking too long to get back to people?

The way you respond to customer reviews impacts how consumers view your business, which, in turn also impacts how Google ranks your business.

The numbers above speak for themselves.

  • 45% of consumers would still use a business with negative reviews if reviews had been responded to.
  • 53% of consumers expect a response to their review within a week.
  • 70% of consumers changed their opinion about a business after they responded to a review.

As in the above examples, each of these statistics demonstrate just how important it is to respond to reviews and engage with reviewers, especially if the review is negative. This tells us that getting a negative review isn’t necessarily the end of the world. If a negative review is addressed right way, a good amount of damage can be averted.

What Should you be Doing When Responding to Reviews?
  • Ensure you respond to reviews promptly.
  • Make your responses personal.
  • Be sure to thank all of the reviewers; even the negative ones.
  • Offer to follow up offline if the situation is warranted.

What Is the AddMe Reputation Management Platform?

We built the AddMe Reviews platform to address three pain points that most businesses face.

  • Businesses don’t have a defined process for requesting reviews..
  • Customers may not know how or where to leave a review.
  • Businesses typically struggle to manage or promote the reviews that do come in consistently.

However, the best way to truly explore the benefits of the AddMe reviews platform is to try it for yourself. We’d like to invite you to sign up for a 14 day AddMe Reviews trial. We’re confident that once you discover the power of customer reviews, you’ll never worry about generating Google reviews again. You can boost your local rankings with ease, once you have an intelligent strategy in place.