How to Get Reviews for Your Business

Customer Review formNot only are there dozens of websites out there that allow customers to post reviews of local businesses, there are an equal number of “experts” telling you how important reviews are and how you should solicit them.

In order to avoid being publicly “outed” by sites like Yelp or penalized by search engines like Google, you definitely DON’T want to buy reviews. And you don’t want to suggest to your customers what they should say about you in a review. But you DO want to solicit reviews.

Here are 5 tips for collecting reviews that will help your reputation online and not get you in trouble:

  1. LINK. Decide where you want reviews about you to show up, and whenever you encourage customers to write a review, give them the link to that page. It could be a page on your own website or your business profile page on Superpages.com, or your Google + Local page, but if you give people a link to click on, that’s where they’ll write their review.
  2. ASK. The number one reason businesses don’t get reviews is because they don’t ask for them. In the simplest language possible, thank your customers for their business and say something like “We hope we provided the best service possible. Feel free to tell us about your experience here. [link]
  3. BROADCAST. Ask for reviews everywhere you can: in person, on your website, in email, on your mobile website, text them a link, ask on your Facebook page, Twitter, on a comment card you leave with a customer, on any printed marketing material you give to a customer… everywhere.
  4. RESPOND. Monitor your reviews and be sure to thank every person for their review, even the bad ones. And quickly contact that customer offline to resolve any issues.
  5. ENABLE. Consider having a computer or tablet at your place of business that displays your Reviews page, and allows your customers to write a review while they’re right there. Make sure there’s enough privacy so the customer won’t feel like you or other customers are looking over their shoulder. NOTE 2-20-13: See the comments below for the latest info from Google. This once-innocuous method of enabling your customers to write reviews is now problematic!
About Marion Jacobson

Editor, writer, web developer, SEO maven, teacher. It's all about the content with me. As Manager of Traffic Services for Dex Media, I'm responsible for SEO, SEM, Social Media and Content and how they work together to drive traffic to our B2B and B2C web properties: DexMedia.com, SuperMedia.com, DexOne.com, Superpages.com and DexKnows.com.

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Comments

  1. Good article. People visit my web site and blog. I know because I am talking to them on the phone while they are looking. I haven’t suggested they leave a comment on the blog. They seem to gather information and that’s it. They are looking but I feel funny asking them to leave a comment.

    • Marion Jacobson says:

      Hi Brad -

      I’ve found that you don’t really have to ask for comments. If you make it possible for readers to leave comments, they will. Sometimes they have questions, and that’s a good way to get a dialogue going. Or you could ask a question yourself and get reader feedback that way.

  2. Very good advice.

    Except for number 5. I would strongly recommend not doing this. Having multiple people post reviews from the same computer/tablet can be a red flag because they are being posted from the same IP. address.

    • Marion Jacobson says:

      You are absolutely right Jon! I need to edit that in light of Google’s warning against doing that. It’s perfectly innocent, but now that Google is looking at the IP addresses for every review, they will discount reviews that all come from one IP address. So it’s better to encourage your customers to go home and write a review for you from their own computer, tablet or smartphone!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      • And what about users who have to create google account only for commenting on google places and dont really need that account for nothing else,not even email.
        Wouldnt google look at thoese profiles like fake ones?

        • I think Google is capable of telling fake accounts from ones that have low activity. But you’re right, you do have to have a Google+ account to write reviews. They’re serious about knowing who you are.

          • So what does that mean for people like me.
            I live in Austria where are many other email providers.
            1-2 out of 10 mine customers have gmail so I have to talk them into creating gmail account so they can write review and then worry ih they are ever going to use that gmail account again so google doesnt see them as fake and risk from google panalizing my website.
            I know reviews are important,not only for seo but what should people like me do in this case.
            It would be much easier if we can write reviews on google local using facebook profile becouse almost everyone has one :)

          • I understand your concern about Google penalties, but I think as long as your customers are posting their reviews from their own locations, Google should be able to tell that they are genuine accounts, even if they don’t use their Google account for anything else. If they’re going to force people to have a G+ account in order to write reviews, then they have to find some way to validate all the accounts that get created just for that purpose. I don’t think we’re going to see them allow Facebook logins anytime soon ;)

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