Rise to the top: Amplify Google reviews and enhance ratings with these 20 tips and strategiesBy Lawrence Dy
- Positive Google reviews are critical for a business's online reputation, signaling credibility and trust to potential customers.
- Google reviews impact SEO, with an active profile and positive reviews contributing to higher search rankings and organic traffic.
- Increasing Google reviews offers benefits like enhanced credibility, visibility, and improved conversion rates, while maintaining a high star rating draws attention and fosters customer confidence.
- To optimize Google reviews, businesses should encourage reviews, respond to them promptly, provide exceptional customer service, educate customers about the rating scale, and avoid unethical practices like fake reviews and incentives for positive reviews.
In our always-online age, reviews have become an invaluable form of digital currency. Having a Google Business Profile that boasts a long list of glowing reviews can go a long way in nudging prospects to become paying clients. Whether you want to improve your Google review ratings as an agency or you’re tasked with boosting your SMB client’s ratings, knowing how to encourage more of these precious mini-testimonials is an essential digital marketing skill.
Download “Why reputation management matters: A churn study” for data-based strategies on retaining clients longer using online reputation management.
If you're ready to learn how to increase Google ratings and ensure those ratings are largely positive, this article is for you. Read on for 20 tips and strategies you can use to improve Google ratings, along with some common mistakes you should avoid making in the process.
Table of Contents
- Why is it important to maintain growth in a Google Business Profile?
- Credibility and online reputation
- Search engine optimization
- Why should you keep growing your Google reviews?
- Why should you keep increasing your Google ratings?
- The benefits of getting more Google reviews
- The benefits of getting higher Google ratings
- How to increase Google reviews
- How to increase Google ratings
- Common mistakes to avoid when increasing Google star ratings
- Frequently asked questions
Why is it important to maintain growth in a Google Business Profile?
A business’s online reputation can make or break its bottom line, and while many things can impact online reputation, one of the most important is Google reviews. Many purchases begin with a Google search or in Google Maps, and one of the first things those potential customers see when looking up a business is its Google Business Profile. In other words, that little rectangle needs to make a big first impression. Since there’s no way to opt out of Google reviews, you might as well embrace them.
Credibility and online reputation
A steady stream of new, positive Google reviews and positive ratings sends a message to prospective customers and audiences that a business can be trusted.
Today’s shoppers rely heavily on online reviews to make purchasing decisions. Increasing Google ratings signals to buyers that the business consistently and reliably delivers excellent products or services. This positive reputational signal plays a major role in helping buyers feel confident enough to spend their money with a business.
Search engine optimization
An active Google Business Profile that boasts lots of reviews does double-duty in helping your clients grow their revenue. In addition to encouraging shoppers through social proof, it also helps their content be more discoverable in organic search results.
That’s because Google's algorithm takes into account the quantity, quality, and recency of reviews on a Business Profile when determining search rankings. A business with a strong and active online presence, including a steady stream of positive reviews, is more likely to rank highly in its desired search engine results pages (SERPs) than a similar business without many reviews. The result? More organic traffic, more conversions, and a beefier bottom line.
Why should you keep growing your Google reviews?
In the digital marketing world it’s easy to get distracted by vanity metrics, but sometimes, more really is more. Increasing Google ratings on your client’s Google Business Profile is one of those instances.
The number of Google reviews on a profile sends a message to people that the business is active, engaged, and trustworthy. Those positive reviews act as testimonials that establish a sense of credibility, driving prospects to choose the business with plenty of reviews over their seemingly less active and less interesting competitors.
Despite our ever-decreasing attention spans, a high quantity of reviews also draws the eye, stopping users mid-scroll and encouraging them to click through and see what information is shared by reviewers. More interaction with a Google Business Profile leads to more click-through rates to the website, which can provide a nice bump in organic traffic and conversions.
Why should you keep increasing your Google ratings?
Having tons of reviews is great, but of course, it’s not just about quantity. It’s equally important to increase your Google star rating—or maintain it, if your client already boasts a glowing five-star average.
Higher star ratings displayed in search results are effective in drawing the attention of prospective customers, and given two similar businesses with different ratings, consumers will naturally trust and gravitate to the higher-rated one more. When it comes to creating a stellar brand image and fostering customer confidence, a high Google rating can be very persuasive.
The benefits of getting more Google reviews
Knowing how to increase ratings in Google can transform the way your clients are perceived by their target audiences. Not only does it make their business more visible and discoverable, it also bolsters their reputation, conversion rates, and credibility.
Let’s take a look at some key benefits SMBs can realize through focusing on increasing Google ratings. If you’re pitching clients on your Google review management services, these are some great points to touch on to get the conversation rolling:
Enhanced credibility and trust
An increase in positive Google reviews serves as a steady fountain of social proof, testifying to the excellent products or services provided by your client’s business. The impact on audiences of seeing abundant reviews is a sense that the business must be reliable, and delivering on their promise, to deserve them.
This strong social validation nudges prospective customers towards trusting your SMB client and choosing them over less-reviewed competitors.
Greater visibility and discoverability online
Google’s rankings algorithm takes a wide range of factors into account when determining which sites get to be among the coveted top spots on the SERP. The best SEO strategy for helping your clients succeed in local search is to help them optimize as many of these ranking factors as possible, including increasing their ratings in Google.
The volume and quality of reviews can contribute to how highly your client’s website ranks, increasing their chances of attracting more of that highly desirable organic traffic that SMBs compete for.
Higher website click-through rates (CTRs)
All of us can attest to the fact that it’s incredibly easy to get distracted online. As marketers know, a major part of the job description is capturing and holding the audience’s attention long enough to get a conversion.
Increasing Google ratings can help you do just that, by making your client’s Google Business Profile more eye-catching thanks to all the activity on it. Plus, the more reviews there are, the more likely it is that a visitor will see something that intrigues or resonates with them. Together, these effects can increase the CTR to your client’s website.
Improved conversion rates
Positive reviews have the power to sway potential customers' purchase decisions toward conversion. When prospective customers see numerous glowing reviews from others who've had a positive experience, they're more inclined to visualize themselves as customers and convert. The cumulative effect of many positive reviews creates a persuasive narrative of customer satisfaction that encourages more conversions.
Access to actionable customer feedback
Google reviews are a goldmine for insights into customer experiences, preferences, and pain points. Being attentive to customer feedback can empower your client to pinpoint areas for improvement, make informed business decisions, and refine their product or service offerings in response to feedback.
By prioritizing increasing ratings in Google, SMBs can keep their ear to the ground and find out what real customers think about their product or service.
The benefits of getting higher Google ratings
So far we’ve focused mostly on the perks of having a high volume of Google reviews, but the rating itself is also important. Learning how to organically increase your Google star rating will work to support a positive online reputation, SEO efforts, conversions, and more.
Greater visual appeal in search results
Increasing Google ratings, represented as vibrant yellow stars, command the attention of users and draws the eye toward their business listing. Google Business Profiles also showcase a bar graph representation indicating what proportion of reviews belong to each star rating, and seeing a nice long yellow bar next to the number 5 is equally appealing. Improving your Google review rating puts more of that unignorable yellow on your Google Business Profile.
More differentiation in a competitive landscape
When you improve the Google ratings of a client, their impressive star ranking serves as a point of differentiation from competitors. Today, just about all SMBs are operating in a highly competitive business landscape, so anything that sets them apart is a welcome boost.
An increased Google reviews ranking sends a message that your client's business consistently delivers experiences that exceed expectations, giving prospects a rock-solid reason to give them a shot over that competitor with less-than-stellar reviews.
Bolstered customer confidence
When prospective customers see a high star rating on a Google Business Profile, they’ll naturally view that business as trustworthy and reliable. After all, if other consumers just like them had a positive enough experience to leave a positive rating, surely the business earned it.
This heightened confidence can lead to a higher likelihood of conversions and fosters a sense of loyalty in the business.
Glowing brand reputation
A rock-solid online reputation, built in part by increasing Google star ratings, plays a huge role in shaping the impression prospective clients have of a brand. Higher ratings naturally foster a positive perception of a business, fostering trust and attracting new customers.
The more positive associations a shopper has with a business, the likelier they are to feel good about buying from them.
Nudging consumer behavior in the desired direction
Today’s consumers rely heavily on ratings when navigating their purchasing decisions. Positive ratings serve as endorsements and psychological triggers, nudging potential customers to see what all the buzz is about for themselves. Taken together, positive reviews paint a persuasive and flattering narrative about your client, encouraging their audiences to convert.
How to increase Google reviews
Ready to pad that Google Business Profile with lots of recent reviews? Implementing just a few of these actions will increase the likelihood of customers leaving reviews and contributing to your client’s positive reputation.
- Optimize your client's Google Business Profile: Make sure that all the information on their profile is complete, accurate, and up to date. This includes contact details, address, website URL, and business hours. Including images and regular posts to update consumers is another great way to make the profile more appealing.
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews: Often, the best way to get a review is simply to ask. Put this process on autopilot by using a review management solution that automatically contacts customers with a friendly invitation to leave a Google review. You can do this through personalized emails, social media campaigns, or even in-person interactions.
- Create a frictionless review process: Make it effortless for customers to leave reviews by providing clear instructions and as little friction as possible. For example, include a direct link or button in your review request email that navigates directly to the review section of your client’s Google Business Profile.
- Tap into the power of email marketing: Use your client's email list to send out targeted, segmented campaigns requesting reviews. Note that Google’s support documentation states you shouldn’t offer incentives like discounts in exchange for a review, so be mindful of this in your emails.
- Showcase positive reviews on the client's website: Highlighting positive reviews on your client's website can encourage other visitors to join the conversation and leave their own reviews. You might include a carousel testimonial section, overlay quotes from reviews over product images, directly link to Google reviews, or come up with another on-brand way to emphasize great reviews.
- Respond to reviews promptly: This one is non-negotiable when it comes to reputation management. Google review management requires regular monitoring of reviews in order to respond in a timely manner. Both positive and negative reviews deserve a response, and doing so will only make the business look more transparent and trustworthy.
- Provide unbeatable customer service: Exceptional experiences, whether positive or negative, often spur customers to leave reviews. Make sure those experiences lean positive by going above and beyond when it comes to customer service. Leave customers feeling amazed after their interactions, and they’re sure to respond with glowing reviews.
- Take it to social media: Cross-promote your client’s Google Business Profile on social media platforms to invite audiences to leave reviews. Engaging with customers on social media is another way to make them feel appreciated, which can lead to more reviews.
- Include a review request in transactional emails: If your client has transactional emails like order confirmations or post-purchase emails, include a review request and a direct link to the Google Business Profile in these. A simple “review us on Google!” button can generate plenty of reviews.
- Run a review-focused campaign: Create a targeted marketing campaign specifically aimed at generating reviews. This can involve running contests or even ad campaigns inviting users to leave a review. Just make sure you stick to Google’s guidelines and avoid offering direct incentives in exchange for reviews.
How to increase Google ratings
You know how to get more reviews on your client’s Google Business Profile, but how can you ensure they’re largely positive? These 10 tips will help you ensure that when the reviews start rolling in, you and your client see nothing but 5s.
- Provide expectation-smashing products and services: This one’s pretty simple: the best way to receive positive ratings is to deliver seriously high-quality products or services that exceed customer expectations. Make sure that all the marketing buzz is backed up by a solid offering.
- Carefully consider a review gating-lite system: Google’s policy doesn’t allow businesses to selectively solicit only positive reviews, and review gating can fall in this disallowed category. However, if you give customers the option to leave a review or contact you, dissatisfied customers may choose to contact you first, skipping the negative review.
- Educate customers on the rating scale: Ever see those glowing reviews that for some reason only have 3 or 4 stars? Some customers may not be familiar with the rating scale, so provide clear explanations of what each rating means in your review request communications.
- Provide above-board incentives: While you shouldn’t offer discounts or free gifts in exchange for reviews, some incentives might be acceptable. For example, many loyalty programs offer points whenever a review is left.
- Train staff to ace customer satisfaction: Ensure that all client-facing staff are trained to provide stellar customer experiences. Satisfied customers are more likely to give higher ratings, so a focus on improving customer interactions can improve Google ratings.
- Monitor and respond to ratings: By monitoring and responding to ratings or all kinds, other reviewers will see that you take their feedback seriously and professionally. That can cause disappointed customers to walk back their terrible reviews and look for a friendly resolution instead.
- Encourage happy customers to leave a rating: Always invite satisfied customers to rate their experience on Google. This can be done through email campaigns, in-store signage, or by providing reminders during interactions.
- Leverage customer feedback surveys: Send out surveys to gather feedback from customers. This can be used to improve products or services, leading to higher ratings over time.
- Optimize landing pages and the website experience: A sluggish, poorly designed website can leave a sour taste in a prospect’s mouth. Ensure your client's website and landing pages are user-friendly, easy to navigate, and informative.
- Monitor competitors' ratings: Keep an eye on your client's competitors and their ratings. Analyze what they;’re doing well and identify areas where your client can differentiate themselves to attract higher ratings.
Building a strong online reputation takes time and consistent effort, but with the right tools and strategy, the process can come together faster than you think.
Common mistakes to avoid when increasing Google star ratings
As the go-to marketing expert for your clients, there are a few common mistakes that are best avoided when mastering how to increase Google review ratings and get more reviews. Learn from others’ mistakes and set yourself up for success from the jump by avoiding these faux pas for getting Google reviews and boosting Google ratings.
What not to do when getting more Google reviews
Avoiding these detrimental practices will help you maintain a glowing online reputation for your clients, while also establishing your agency as an ethical and reputable digital services provider.
- Neglecting to ask for reviews: One of the biggest mistakes (and one of the easiest to fix) is failing to proactively ask customers for reviews. Don't assume that customers will automatically leave reviews just because they had a good experience. A little extra nudge in the form of a request can go a long way.
- Ignoring negative reviews: Negative reviews should never be ignored or left unaddressed. Other people will see that the business doesn’t care enough to respond, and the reviewer will be left even more disappointed. Instead, respond promptly and professionally, showing that you value the customer’s input and are willing to address their concerns.
- Offering incentives for positive reviews: As we’ve established, offering incentives in exchange for positive reviews violates Google's guidelines and can result in penalties or even an account suspension.
- Using fake or purchased reviews: Fake reviews or purchased reviews are unethical and also against Google's policies. Often, they won’t show up anyway. Instead, focus on building genuine reviews from real customers to maintain trust and credibility.
- Responding defensively to negative reviews: When encountering negative reviews, avoid responding defensively or engaging in arguments—no matter how tempting it may be. Instead, respond empathetically and maintain a cool, professional demeanor throughout the interaction. One exception is review bombing, in which case you can work with Google to get the fake reviews resolved.
How to minimize the risk of low Google ratings
The following practices are best avoided if you want to avoid seeing those low-star ratings rolling in:
- Neglecting product or service quality: Ratings are a reflection of the overall customer experience. Failing to prioritize product or service quality can lead to negative ratings, no matter how great your marketing strategy is. Ensure your clients regularly spend time refining their product or service.
- Soliciting only positive ratings: Asking customers to rate their experience without providing an opportunity for genuine feedback which may occasionally be negative can come across as disingenuous. Having some less-than-perfect reviews in the mix looks more honest than a highly unlikely streak of only 5-star reviews.
- Overlooking staff training: Poor customer service experiences are a major driver of low ratings. Make sure your clients prioritize training their staff to deliver stellar customer experiences consistently.
- Inconsistent review monitoring and responding: Ignoring or delaying responses can harm your clients' reputation and customer perception. This is where a reputation management platform can come in particularly handy, making it easy to manage reviews promptly at scale.
- Neglecting to educate about the rating scale: All customers may not understand the rating scale, leading to occasional inaccurate ratings. Educate customers on what each rating level represents to ensure they provide accurate feedback. If a confusing review comes in with a low star rating but a positive comment, it’s okay to provide a friendly note of thanks followed by a question of whether they meant to leave the low star rating.
Frequently asked questions
Can I ask my friends or employees to leave reviews for my business?
Asking friends or employees to leave reviews for your business isn’t recommended. While it may be tempting to bolster your online reputation with positive reviews quickly, Google's guidelines are clear that reviews should be unbiased and reflect genuine customer experiences. Google values genuine, unbiased reviews from real customers, and soliciting reviews from friends or employees can lead to penalties and reputational damage.
How long does it take to see the impact of increased reviews and improved ratings?
It takes time to see the full effect of review management practices, and it’ll depend on factors like the number of reviews, industry competitiveness, and the overall online presence of your business. Consistently generating positive reviews and improving Google ratings over time will gradually build your online reputation, enhance search visibility, and attract more prospective customers.