How to Get Google Reviews & Why they Are Important

By Matt Enser

The key to getting Google Reviews is doing good work as a company and asking people to write reviews regularly. When I say ask for them regularly it is best to find a point or points in your regular business process where you can make the ask, ideally automated. This is essential for local businesses to gain organic traffic through ranking in what is called the map pack.

The map pack is the top 3 results that get featured in the map section of local search result. To get here you have to have an optimized Google Business Profile and have more reviews then other competitors in your region. Below is an example of the map pack.

People want to work local which is great for small local businesses like yours. Using Google Business helps small local business reach new customers. Here I will share my personal local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experience and techniques to help you gain traction with your Google Business Profile.

Creating a System to Get Google Reviews

Creating a system or process is the best way to get Google Reviews because without a system you may be good at asking sometimes but forget to ask others. With a system you ask every customer at the right time.

Depending on your business model this point in the process will look different. If you provide a one time service or product asking after you are done working with the client is the easy and best time to ask. However if you provide on going work that time is less clear. In this case it may be at regular 3 month intervals you check in to see how they are enjoying the partnership and if the feedback is positive ask for a review if it is negative then work to better serve the client and ask for a review in the future.

Either way you have a standard process of when to ask that you just rinse and repeat and over time you will gather up more and more reviews. You would be surprised how many customers are happy to provide a review if you ask and make it easy for them to write one by providing a link.

How to Ask For Google Reviews

Now that you have an idea of where in your process you may want to ask for reviews. You now have to put yourself out there and ask—and ask often.

The best way it to have a automated system. I recommend building this yourself and not using one of those fancy and expressive reputation management platforms. Let me give you an example as part of my work with First Response where we now have over 1,000 Google Reviews and rank highly in map packs across Georgia. For First Response we provide safety courses some of these courses have test they take at the end. When they fill finish taking the test which is a form we build it redirects them to a page with 5 stars to choose from. 1-4 goes to a feedback form and 5 goes to Google Reviews. This allows us to gather reviews regularly and gain valuable feedback when someone thinks the class is not as good to better our courses. This being said we work hard to provide the highest quality courses and have very little negative feedback.

Additionally you could have a email that you send to people a few hours after working with them that has a thumbs up or thumbs down icons that asks for feedback with the same idea. If you don’t have emails send a text that just has the review link.

If you don’t have any contact info then having a QR code on cards to hand out that links to taking a review with you is the next best thing. You just have to be diligent about asking regularly.

Find something that works for you that you can do often and Google will reward you.

Instructions to Give People When Writing Reviews

Many people often don’t know what to write in reviews and so they often will just give you 5 stars without any words or say thing like “it was great”. While this helps for your overall number count which is important, it doesn’t help as much as a keyword rich review.

If you can tell them to mention key phrases like the service or product they received from you along with the name of the city, town, and/or state the worked with you in that is the ideal Google Review. This is because Google will use those keywords as a ranking factor for the map pack and they will often chose one review to feature that is keyword rich as well.

Ranking Factors for Google Business Profile

Here are the most important Google Business Profile ranking factors in order of priority based on what I have seen in my personal SEO experience:

  1. The Correct Primary Business Category – There are a ton of business categories and choosing the right one is important. I usually use the Chrome Extension GMB everywhere to see what the top people are companies are using and replicate that. However Google comes out with new ones all the time so if you find one that is more relevant then you may want to try that out or try a few ones. This is probably the most important because without this you may not rank at all no matter the amount of reviews you get.
  2. Total Number of Google Reviews – This is obvious but more the merrier. Ask people often and regularly as we have discusses.
  3. Trending Reviews – Meaning they have less reviews overall but have a lot recently. This shows Google and users this is something new and exciting. However if the trend drops off you may loose rankings until you can compete with the people with more total reviews.
  4. Proximity to Searcher – Depending on the business this can be more or less relevant, but the area they are searching from definitely has a factor. If you are a service area business even if you have a physical location it is important to set your service area. You may want to set this smaller and then grow it over time as you gain more Google Business reviews.
  5. Google Reviews With Keywords – As discussed earlier having reviews with important keywords is really helpful. Keywords for services, product, and/or location is key.
  6. Add Your Services – For service based businesses adding in your services and descriptions for each service help you rank for searches about those services.
  7. Completely Setting Up Your Profile – If you are reading this I assume you have done this, but make sure to have pictures, logos, description, products, and anything else available to your profile. Based on your categories selected you may have different options.
  8. Where People Leave Reviews From – If you provide services across a region when people leave reviews in different aspects of that region that can help your results in that region.
  9. Additional Non Primary Business Categories – In addition to your primary location add other sub categories that could be relevant or you see competitors using. However make sure your primary is the most important and specific.

Other Ways to Rank Locally for Service Based Business

Outside of the map results web pages also come up for local based searches, so web pages targeting you location is very important. When someone (and Google) lands on your site they want to confirm you provide services in thier area. Having your service area very clear in the headings and text on your page is a good place to start. Embedding a the map from your Google Business profile is another good way to add to this.

People don’t want to reach out to you for services to hear you don’t work in thier area, and Google knows this so they reward people who are clear about where they provide thier services.

At a bare minimum your targeted area should be in the copy 2-3 times and in the meta title for that page. If over time you need to broaden that area that is great but start with a small area gain authority and traffic for that area and then broaden from there, or create a new unique page for a new area. I saw unique because it can be temping to just duplicate a page and change out the location a bunch of times, but that will result in duplicate content which will get flagged and you will loose traction for both pages.

Additionally look at what other people are doing and take that strategy and improve upon it. Simply do a search for “[keyword] [service area]” and see what the top 1-5 people are doing and do better then that. One way to do better then other web pages is create comprehensive content which I explain in detail here.

Your Next Steps

Take all of this and put in into your regular processes and keep providing great work and products for your local customers. Then as a result you should climb the local organic ladder. Remember is all boils down to serving clients well and asking them to tell others about it.

Let me know your thoughts or share your local SEO ideas in the comments below

About Matt Enser

About Matt Enser

Matt Enser is a marketer that wants to use his experience in digital marketing for the kingdom. He works for KWSM as Junior Website Specialist as well as a Safety Instructor & Digital Marketing Manager for First Response.

When I am not working, you will probably find me outdoors somewhere. I enjoy camping, rock climbing, playing sports, off-roading, or hiking. Which a few of my friends and I talk a lot about on our podcast, “The Godventure Podcast“.

I am passionate about my faith in Christ and that manifests itself in my values and activities as well. I lead a team of volunteers at 12Stone’s college ministry and serve with elementary students on a weekly basis.

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