In today’s world, most people are using the internet to aid any buying decisions they need to make. From selecting a plumber or an auto mechanic, to choosing a hotel, we’re searching on Google and doing our own research to choose the best company.
More and more, the feedback and reviews of other people are helping us in these decisions. Further, even the fact of having reviews, or not having reviews, can say many things about a business! Getting reviews, and getting good reviews, is absolutely critical for any digital marketing strategy!
Getting Google Reviews For Your Service Business
This is the topic we’re going to dive into on the fourth episode of Local SEO Tactics. We’re talking about how to get reviews for your business, how reviews can improve your web rankings, and some of the best practices you can implement to get great reviews.
Most of us have been asked to take a survey, leave a review, or provide some level of feedback for a service/product/exprience we’ve paid for. Rarely, if ever, do we act on those requests. We’re all busy…so if you’re going to get customers to leave a review, they need to have a compelling reason, and it needs to be fast and easy to do.
We’ll also talk about strategies you’ll want to avoid like the plague. For example, if you buy reviews, or bribe customers for 5 star reviews, you’re going to be slapped with penalties (at least by Google) and your exposure will suffer greatly.
Learn about our “Mr Rogers” approach to getting reviews. It will get your service team engaged, and you’ll find customers WANT to leave you reviews!
Reviews are an important factor in your SEO strategy. We’ll break down how you can benefit from reviews, so you can maximize the SEO benefits, to attract more new leads, and convert them into customers.
Check out the show notes below for resource links, guides, and a link to watch the episode in video format!
Here is the episode transcript for Start Getting Google Reviews for Your Service Business!
Jesse: Hey everyone, Jesse Dolan and Bob Brennan here. Today we’re going to be talking about
Google reviews, and why that’s so important for your business. I think everybody now
today, we go online, we’re shopping for something, even searching for something, we’re
all familiar with seeing the stars, and we know what that means for reviews. We don’t
have to get too deep into that, but I don’t know if you want to talk about maybe the
psychology of that.
Bob: Yeah, I think it’s a subconscious deal, we just see the listings at the top of the Google
Map pack or what have you, and you can be number one and if you don’t have any stars
and the next one down has three and the bottom one has five, well guess what?
Subconsciously, a lot of us are going to dial that bottom one.
Jesse: Whether it’s searching on Google, buying something on Amazon, eBay, I mean it’s all
over the place now, and for good reason. Nobody wants to call and talk to a
salesperson, you know or fill out a form and get information back from a salesperson
and be contacted, we really just want to make our own decisions, do our own research
and select our own products and services, decide where we’re going to spend our own
money. What other people have to say, unpaid, what would be the good word for it,
unpaid advice or reviews?
Jesse: Feedback is what we’re looking for, and for better or for worse, we trust the general
public and their feedback on that. Now sometimes you read the review, sometimes you
just look how many stars they get, how many average over X number of reviews, if it’s
favorable or not.
Bob: Right. I look at the number of transactions too, you know obviously if there’s a bunch of
transactions and somebody is two to one over the other one, and their reviews may be
a 4.4 and the other person’s got five, but they only have five transactions, and the other
ones have 100, well I know, for me, again, everybody’s different, I’m going to choose the
one with the 4.4 with 100, because I know it’s probably pretty accurate.
Jesse: We’re going to be talking mainly in today’s episode about Google reviews, and how to
get those, how to use those, why they’re important, everything else. Again, if you’re
selling something on Amazon, on eBay, if you’re using any kind of a portal that has
reviews, try to take the same information, parse it out to your actual platform, and roll
out the same strategies, because it’s going to still be very important and very relevant.
With that, the first step to, as a business, having good reviews, is getting reviews, right?
Jesse: That’s where the rubber meets the road. You can’t have stars by your listing if you don’t
have any reviews. There’s lots of ways to get reviews, some of them are above the
board for Google and what they approve. There’s tactics that are not very good, and
we’ll touch on those as well, some of those are pretty common out there in business, we
wouldn’t recommend using them, just because if you do get penalized from Google and
you get your listing taken down, it’s very very painful. It’s easier to play by the rules and
do it the right way.
Bob: Yep, it’s so worth it.
Jesse: First thing, and again, our target here for talking with you folks is local service
businesses, so the context of everything we’re going to say is with you being a service
provider and a service business, you know again, if you’re selling products or something
else, this should still apply, but the examples we’re going to give and how we’re going to
go through it is if you’re a local service business. The first thing that you don’t want to
do is pay for reviews, essentially, right?
Jesse: Bribery, incentivized, you know things like that, is pretty much what we’re talking about.
Everybody’s probably experienced it, where you walk into a place, maybe you’re going
to get a haircut and they’ll say, “$5 or maybe a $10 Starbucks gift card if you leave us a
five-star review, show us the proof of the review and we’ll give you the card,” or things
along those nature, things along that line, explicitly prohibited by Google, you can’t do
Bob: Nope, you can’t do it.
Jesse: That’s buying a review, you know basically soliciting to that customer. It’s tantalizing,
sounds easy to do that you want to try to give people a reason to do that, but that’s
something that you can’t do.
Bob: Yeah, I think we’ve all been at a retail location, we’ve checked out, and the cashier
hands you your receipt and flips it over and says, “Hey, you know by the way, on the
back is a survey. If you could fill it out, that would be great, you get a $5, $10 coffee
certificate for somewhere,” or whatever it might be. I personally have never filled out a
survey, maybe I’m a bad guy, and I’ve had great service, it’s just unfortunately, you know
I’m lazy like all of us, and I just don’t have the time to do it. When you’ve got to keep
track of the receipt, you’ve got to remember to do it when you get home and go
through the process, and quite frankly it’s just the reward is never there for us to really
get that home. Now, unless you had some ridiculous level of service where you wanted
to go above and beyond, to give that, but that’s pretty dang rare.
Yeah, and maybe I have high standards and I need to relax a little bit, but it’s just one of
those things I think, you know but when I’ve talked to other people about it, they all
kind of say the same thing, they’re like, “No, I’ve never done it.” Which would be a more
effective deal is to actually have a kiosk at the end of the checkout and just say, “Hey,
just give us a quick review, you’re going to get a certificate,” or whatever, but it’s to take
those barriers away from people to have to take the time and deal with technology and
everything else. If you have the technology right there and they can just do it real quick,
you know that’s ideal. That’s kind of my point, and you’ll probably dig into this in terms
of the review is if you’re a service company and you’re either fixed in a store or you’re
mobile, you’ve got to take the barriers away for these folks to leave a review.
Jesse: Yeah, and they have it done right there.
Jesse: Because like you said, once you get in your car, drive away, there’s so many variables
where you’re probably not going to do that review, strike while the iron is hot. We
should back up a quick second an clarify, as far as incentivizing reviews and bribing
people to give reviews, if you’re going to have your own system for your website and
you just want people to internally review you, you can do whatever you want to do. I
mean, you can pay them $100 for giving you a good review if you want, you can write
the review for them and have them sign their name by it if you want. If you’re talking
about doing it particularly on Google, the Google reviews, the Google My Business, you
can’t do that. Other platforms might have different rules, you know just to kind of clarify
Our favorite tactic that we use is called the Mr. Rogers approach. The customer service
person behind the counter or the team member that’s giving the quality service to the
end customer asks for the review. You as a company can incentivize that team member
and that employee for a mention in the review. What we tell our employees is to ask
customers to leave you a review, and say, “If you can leave me a five-star review, and if
you can mention my name in that, my boss is going to give me five bucks, or my boss is
going to take me out to lunch if I can get 10 reviews,” or you know whatever level you
want to set, but you incentivize that employee to ask the customer to leave you a good
Now, a couple cool things happen there: One, your employees, they’re not going to ask
people, I would hope so at least, they’re not going to ask people that have a really
horrible customer service experience to please leave us a review. You don’t want to
encourage one-star reviews, you want to encourage five-star reviews, or even four-star
reviews, because that’s pretty realistic too. Your team members that are engaging with
the customer, they’re going to know when it was a good experience, so they’re going to
want to make sure that they ask those people to leave a review, and you want to have
them mention the team member by name so the organization or the manager or
whoever is doing the reporting can see that, “Hey, somebody left Bob a review, they
mentioned Bob in there and said he did a great job and they left five stars.”
As the organization, you can then give Bob five bucks or buy Bob a cup of coffee, or
whatever that reward is going to be. You’re playing by Google’s rules, you’re
incentivizing your employees, so they’re motivated to ask for these reviews, they’re
getting engaged and kind of being part of it. Then also when people read those reviews
online, they’re kind of getting a peek behind the curtain, real people work there, they’re
being called out by name.
Bob: No, that’s a good point.
Jesse: It really brings that human element into it, it’s not just this company has a five-star
review and this company does a great service, but the people who work there do,
because when you come in, being a local service business, you’re engaging with the
people behind the counter and the people providing that service. It really helps to kind
of connect that.
Bob: I think it’s human nature too to kind of help each other, obviously you know it’s one of
those things where if you did get good service, you want to help this person out. We all
kind of get how that whole process works.
Jesse: Right, and it’s also very important, if you employ that kiosk approach, that you have
instructions for people.
Bob: Oh yeah, yeah.
Jesse: Rewinding back, kind of in our mock scenario here, if Bob’s coming in and we ask him to
leave a good review for what we did, he has to be able to leave that review. It’s not just
enough to incentivize him in that way, he needs to take action. There’s really two ways
to go about it. One, you can have some kind of a kiosk set up and ready to be utilized by
the customer, or maybe if Bob has his phone or his tablet or whatever, he can whip it
out and leave a review that way. Some people want to do that themselves because
they’re already logged in, whether it be Facebook or Google or whatever it is, they can
just login and do it quick, some people don’t have that readily accessible.
At our stores, we have a laptop or a desktop sitting up on the front counter that’s
already pulled up on our page, so it’s very easy for the customer to leave a review, and
we also have instructions there, because as you’ve experienced, not everybody knows
how to even do it, right?
Bob: Yeah no, you know I’m a certain age, and technology can be tough for me, so you want
to take away those barriers and have it simple, stupid, so to speak, in that this is how
you leave a review. Just have it all mapped out, because there’s a lot of people that
haven’t done a review.
Jesse: Right, and one critical thing in that, again, if you want to play exactly by Google’s rule
book, is your instructions can’t tell them to leave a five-star review, you can’t coach
them, you can’t solicit a good review, but having instructions on how to leave a review
and having a kiosk ready for them is fine, you’re definitely okay to do that. There is
some feedback that people will say, if you’re in your store and you’re on your own
internet, and if you have all the reviews coming from this one kiosk, they’re all coming
from that same IP address. The theory is that Google will see you have 100 reviews all
from this one location off this one IP address, and people will say that that’s bad, to
Google, that looks like fake reviews.
If those 100 people, if they all never had a Google account and they had never left a
review before, if 100 Google accounts were created at your store and 100 first-time
reviews were left at your storeBob: That’s not good.
Jesse: Yeah, you might be asking for some attention from Google on that, because that just
looks a little suspicious. I mean, odds are that’s not legitimate. However, if you have a
mix of people that have left reviews that have had accounts for awhile, if other factors
look like it is legitimate, it’s completely fine to have all these reviews coming from the
same IP address. Now that being said, if you can have half of them coming from your
kiosk with your IP address and half come from people’s own smartphones and devices,
hey, that’s great. That’s even better, but you shouldn’t have to worry about any
penalties or think you’re violating any rules or that it’s going to look suspicious just
because you’re using that same computer each time, even if you read something like
Bob: I had a really good experience a couple weeks ago here in Minnesota, it was 20 or 30
below or whatever the case is, and our furnace went out.
Jesse: Perfect timing.
Bob: Yeah, called an HVAC person, they were out within probably two hours, did a great job,
and he asked for a Google review. I’m like, “Yeah, you know when I get to it.” He just
pulled out his tablet
Bob: Had it ready to go, and bam, I was able to
Jesse: You did it?
Bob: Yeah, I did it right there, and it was pretty smart. If you’re a service business that is out
in the field, it’d be worth investing in a laptop or a tablet. Whip that thing out, and say,
“Here, here you go, that’d be great. It would help me out, or it would help my boss out,”
or whatever, again, using the Mr. Rogers analogy, “It helps me score points with the
boss,” you know just get it done. It’s just, again, the key in approaching this is to take
away those barriers, whatever barriers you’re going to take away to make it easy for
people to execute and do this, that’s what you want to do.
Jesse: Yeah, and take away the barriers, and again, strike while the iron is hot. You were
satisfied, your heat was back on, things were working, that’s the time where you’re
going to leave a review. Another good thing to do if you’re employing that Mr. Rogers
approach is not only have people mention you or your team members by name, but also
the product or service that they utilized. Something that’s kind of new in the last couple
weeks, at the time of this recording at least with Google, is they’re starting to show
snippets, like just little, pulling out a few keywords from a sentence, they’re starting to
show snippets of those reviews within the Google map pack. When you search for a
business and you see the A, B, and C listings, if you will, that are shown on the map and
they’ll show how many star ratings that you have, they’ll have a sentence within that
now that has just a little snippet ofBob: Okay, so it’s embedded in the listing?
Jesse: Correct, just for a little glimpse on what that review is. If somebody’s searching for
iPhone six repair, you’re hopefully going to come up at the top of the Map pack, or at
least in the top three. They’re going to see that you have a four point something or fivestar ratings.
They’re also going to see, as the person that searched, is also going to see,
“Suzy fixed my iPhone six plus.” Again, the power of the reviews is that human element,
what did somebody else say, how did it go for them? If you’re searching for iPhone six
repair, you see a review right on that first page of Google that mentions iPhone six
repair, and it has four or five stars attached next to it-
Bob: That’s going to convert.
Jesse: Yeah, you’re going to get clicked on for that, and as a consumer, you’re already starting
to make a decision on if I’m going to use this company or not. That’s one aspect of
having your product or service mentioned in it. The other is SEO, search engine
optimization related, Google is going to, all other things being equal, there’s so many
other factors that come into play, just to side step for a second, on who shows up in
Google in what order, there’s no one single factor, but one thing that will help you is,
again, if you have a review that has the same phrase that somebody is searching for
with that, that’s a keyword match. If Bob and I were competitors and we had identical
websites and everything else, if I had a review that mentioned iPhone six repair and Bob
didn’t, somebody searching for iPhone six repair should theoretically find my site and
my information ahead of Bob’s, just for that mention in that review.
It’s a great visual to convert customers, it’s a great little technical SEO factor to help you
rank your website, so don’t forget about that. Again, if you’re putting a script together
to coach that customer, say, “Mention my name, if you’re happy, leave us a review, and
if you could mention also the service we provided on your vehicle or your device,” or
Bob: And model.
Jesse: Yeah, call it out by name in there, and that’s really going to help you out with your SEO
too. Another really cool thing that you can do is actually embed those reviews on your
website. Sometimes whenever you’re doing a search, maybe somebody didn’t come to
your website just off those reviews, so in this case, they’re unaware of them. You still
want to leverage those reviews, because that’s just that great feedback, so you can
actually, if you’re using WordPress, there’s lots of plugins that you can kind of configure
and put in your widgets to pull these reviews in from your account. If you don’t have
WordPress, or whatever platform you’re using, if there’s no widget or automated way of
pulling these in, you can just copy and paste them and use them in your website as well.
The example that we have up here on the screen is four our Help a Tech store here, and
you can see in the sidebar we have it embedded to show the review snippets from the
most recent reviews right here on the screen. Even if somebody wasn’t aware that we
had really good reviews, once they land on the website and any landing page, in the
sidebar they’re going to see recent reviews from people and read their stories and see
the experiences. Whether they actually read them or not, or they just look at how many
stars everybody’s getting, again, you kind of get that impact and it helps their decision
on if they’re going to convert.
Bob: Yeah, another subconscious basically edification of your service.
Jesse: Absolutely. Again on a technical note, embedding these reviews on your website does
help your SEO rank. If you go to schema.org, S-C-H-E-M-A .org, you can read about how
to structure review snippets, how to embed those into your website. If you’re going to
do it manually, and we’ll get into the technical how-to on that in a future episode, we’re
trying not to get too nuts and bolts into that today, but you definitely want to take
advantage of these, even again, if you have to copy and paste it, even if you can just put
one. Having reviews and testimonials on your actual web content is huge for SEO, and
it’s huge for converting customers once they’re on your page to actually call, which you
know the show is local SEO tactics.
We’re all about helping you get ranked and found in search engines, for the result being
that you get business. This is something that is past SEO and actually helps you get
phone calls and emails and customers coming into your store, which is the complete
reason that this show and this effort even exists. With that too, you’re going to want to
put on your website, and have the ability for people to leave reviews. If you can capture
them at your store using a kiosk or their own devices, excellent A1 route to go, but
you’re also going to want to make sure that it’s accessible for people on your website.
Maybe somebody didn’t want to do that then, they thought about it, they got home and
they want to leave a review, they pull up your website, you should make it super easy
for them to be able to do that as well.
Most of these plugins that you can put in your widgets, they’re going to have a link right
to your Google page so people can easily do that review. Again, if you’re not using any
kind of an automated tool, you just create a link to your Google Map business page and
they can leave a review from there. If you want to post some instructions on how to do
it, that’s not a bad idea either. In addition to Google, as we said earlier in the show, in
addition to Google, there’s lots of other platforms that you can leave reviews on. You’re
going to want to make sure you get reviews on Yelp, if you’re selling something on eBay,
you’re going to want to get reviews. Any place that you’re doing business and putting
yourself out there, if they have the ability to get reviews.
Jesse: Any portal, if it has zero reviews, you’re definitely discrediting your organization, and
you’re telling consumers that nobody really cares about you, in effect. Pay those
attention as well, if you’re not sure what platforms are out there, Google your name,
Google your business, Google your address, Google your phone number, do some
reverse searches in that way to see what pops up. You might be surprised, “Oh, I don’t
use Yelp,” well, Google yourself, Google your business, you might find that you’re on a
Yelp page and you didn’t even realize it, because a lot of times they’ll automatically
create these listings for you. If that’s the case, claim it, figure out how to get reviews on
there, start getting reviews from people.
Bob: Don’t forget Bing, Jesse, they’re 20% of the market, very similar process. It’s just
important, again, it’s about taking down the barriers, so if you have this kiosk capability,
I would suggest to go so far as to literally have a print-out on how to on Facebook, Yelp,
Bing. Bing is a huge part of it. Facebook becomes more important as you look into
Facebook advertising, and we’ll get into that in future podcasts, but the big ones I would
say right now to stick with would be Google, Bing, Yelp. Any others you can think of out
of the other chutes?
Jesse: I would say Facebook would be next, and again, it depends on how much you’re using
that and what your methods are there.
Bob: Yeah, and again, if you’re out in the field, invest in some technology that your people
can get a review out in the field, and then again, compensate your people for sticking
their neck out, going that extra mile. We want to, really the net result of this is we want
to encourage good service, so it’s for people that are out in the field. They should know
that they’re not going to get a good review if they don’t provide good service, and so it’s
really scaling this in little steps that everybody can do to create a greater net result.
Jesse: Right. One last trick that we do that we have a lot of fun with is, so we do use Facebook
for our organization, and what we’ll do to promote the reviews is if somebody leaves us
a review on any platform, when we get a five-star review, we’ll take a screenshot or
some way to get a picture of that review, and we put it on Facebook, and we say, “Hey
Bob, one of your customers left a five-star review,” and we put that image on there for
everybody to see. We give Bob a congratulations and just kind of pump it up. For Bob
personally that’s awesome, because the company recognizes him, and again, for
anybody that reads our Facebook page, not only are they seeing the reviews that we
have on Facebook, if we get a five-star review on Google that we then promote on
Facebook, that’s just one more spot that we’re showing people how good we are, the
great customer service that we provide, and it puts us front of mind, and they’ll choose
us hopefully when they need our product or service.
Bob: Yeah, and it’s tough to self-promote. I mean, I think you know most of us are pretty
humble and we don’t like to toot our own horn, but that’s the economy we live in right
now, and you’ve got to get out there, you’ve got to promote.
Jesse: That’s pretty much a wrap for today. We’ll put in the show notes, intrycks.com/show,
we’ll give you a template for what we use to solicit the reviews in our stores, you can
copy that, edit it, do whatever you want to do, and we’ll give you some of the other tips
and tricks that we’ve talked about in today’s episode, we’ll outline those in the show
notes as well. Check that out afterwards, intrycks.com/show. If you want to watch this
on video, again, go to the show page, you’ll see a link to opt in for that. On the show
page at the bottom, also any comments, questions you have for this episode, for future
episodes, we’re here to help. This show is all for you guys on how to do what we do for
your business, so we want to know what’s important to you, what challenges you’re
having. Don’t be afraid to reach out to us.
Jesse: As always, if you want to run a free SEO report on your website, go to intrycks.com, click
on the free SEO report button. It takes about 15 seconds, shows it right there on page
for you, you’ll get a checklist of all the good, bad, and ugly that’s happening on your
page, and you’ll also get an instant email PDF of that same report, so if you don’t have
the time to check it out right then and there, it’ll send you, you can check it out later.
You can do that as many pages as you want, as often as you want, it’s completely free,
we encourage you to do that, and again, if you need help on any of those things, just
reach out to us, we’re here to help. Catch y’all next week.
Bob: Good luck.
Jesse: All right, hope you enjoyed that episode. If you did, we’d love to hear about it. You can
give us some direct feedback on the show page at intrycks.com/episodefour, and even
better is if you could go out to iTunes, intrycks.com/itunes will get you there quick, and
give us a review, leave us a rating, and just give us your comments and your feedback.
We’re four episodes in, we’re just wanting to know if this is doing good stuff for you
guys or if you have some questions you’d like us to cover in future episodes or anything
like that. Again, intrycks.com/episodefour or go on out to iTunes, intrycks.com/itunes,
and we’d love to hear from you.
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Listen to the episode however you like with the audio file.
- How reviews influence a prospective customer
- How getting reviews can impact your Google rankings
- Strategies on how to get great Google reviews
- Tips for making it fast and easy for customers to execute reviews
- How to leverage reviews on your website and in your marketing
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