Google is the most visited site in the world. We use it to answer our questions, buy stuff online, and to find local businesses.
Most companies know that they need to have a presence on Google, but did you know that your business’ reviews play a significant role in the traffic your website receives?
We all know that to generate leads, you need people to visit your site. Positive Google Reviews increase the chance of that occurring by improving your search rankings.
Before you go out and ask everyone and their brother for positive reviews, here are some things you need to know about Google Reviews.
You Must Have a Verified Google My Business Account
If you own a business, you need to have a Google My Business account. It’s a free profile that allows your company to appear on Google Maps and Google Search. Have you ever searched Google for a restaurant in a specific area? The restaurants that appear toward the top likely have a Google My Business account.
In the case of a restaurant or similar business, it is technically possible to appear on Google Maps without a Google My Business account. However, if you don’t claim your listing and verify your business, you have no control. That means you can’t edit information, change your hours, post offers, or respond to reviews.
Employees Cannot Fill Out a Google Review
Google prohibits reviews where a conflict of interest is present, and an employee/employer relationship falls into that category. To be safe, you only want to collect Google reviews from your actual customers.
Beyond Google dinging your search rankings, non-customer reviews may also go against the Truth In Advertising laws enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. When you’re first starting, it’s tempting to ask employees for reviews, but don’t do it. If an employee does ask to leave a review for your company, it’s best to send them to a site like Glassdoor.
You Can't Review Your Own Business
This should go without saying, but you can’t leave a Google Review for your own business. Google prohibits reviews where a conflict of interest is present.
The reviews that your company receives go through an approval process, and Google will remove content that appears fake or misleading. Here’s an excerpt from their Prohibited and Restricted Content page:
“Reviews are automatically processed to detect inappropriate content like fake reviews and spam. We may take down reviews that are flagged in order to comply with Google policies or legal obligations.”
You'll Need to Ask Customers For Google Reviews
Having a Google My Business account is an excellent first step, but customer reviews truly make a listing valuable. To start, you’ll need a way for customers to review your business efficiently. Luckily, Google provides you with four options for sharing your company’s review form.
To find your review form, go to the “Home” tab of your Google My Business profile, scroll down until you see the “Get more reviews” card, and then press the “Share review form” button. A pop-up will appear with the options listed above.
For those who want to ask for reviews on your website or by using a branded email, you’ll need the URL. The easiest way to get the review form link is to click on the “Share via email” option and copy the URL from the body of the email.
Need help adding a review link to your website or developing an email campaign to capture reviews? We would love to help. Give us shout!
Google Reviews Improve Your Site’s Visibility
On their support page, Google states that positive reviews “from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
Reviews build trust. You know it, and Google knows it. That’s why they have so many rules. For those willing to provide a great product or service and put in the work to gather reviews, Google will reward your business with higher rankings, more site visitors, and an uptick in leads.