Here at LinkNow, we spend a lot of time trying to find ways to improve our client’s Google rankings. The problem is that in SEO, everything takes time. Whether we’re waiting for Google to crawl, index, and rank new pages, or we’re waiting for citations to be updated with correct information—SEO demands patience. But what if we told you there was a way to boost your SEO without waiting?
Reviews are the quickest way to improve your ranking on Google. Google especially loves reviews that are detailed, positive, and full of keywords. So, we’ve put together a list of ways for you to get the reviews you need to improve your ranking faster than the competition!
No Job Is Complete Until You’ve Asked for a Review
After you complete a successful job for a client, there’s a feeling of satisfaction you experience as you drive back to the office. You gave stellar customer service. You remained professional, calm, and courteous—even when that unforeseen emergency threw a wrench in the original plan. You know it. And your client knows it, too.
It’s all in a day’s work, you may say. And you’d be right. Personalized service is the backbone of any successful business. But wait! You can’t hang up your hat just yet. You still need to get a review to finish the job properly. Because no job is complete until you’ve asked for a review.
But let’s back up a bit—first, some context.
Why Are Customer Reviews Relevant to My Google Ranking?
Over 90% of consumers report that reading reviews affect their buying choices. And Google’s organic ranking algorithm is designed to serve consumers. Do you see the connection? If it’s important to consumers, it’s important to Google, which means it should be important to you, too!
What’s more, the close link between consumers’ and Google priorities is good news for you! Not only will having reviews increase your reputation for prospective clients, but it will simultaneously increase the authority of your online presence (and your ranking!) with Google. Two birds, one stone.
It Never Hurts to Ask for a Review…
Think back to all the restaurants you’ve visited over the last year. How many positive dining experiences did you have? Probably quite a few. People remark on beautiful terraces and comment on delicious cocktails to their friends over a meal all the time. They might even give compliments to the chef and thank the waiter with a generous tip. But do you leave a review every time you go out with a colleague for happy hour? Unlikely.
The fact is, people don’t usually write positive reviews unless they’re asked.
… But It Will Definitely Hurt if You Don’t Ask for a Review
However (and this is a big however), when a dining experience is negative, nine times out of 10 the person on the receiving end of an undercooked meal or a 2 hour wait time wants to warn everyone and anyone who will listen. The unhappy fact is, misery loves company. That’s why, when unrequested, people are always more likely to leave negative reviews than positive ones.
Often, business owners don’t want to ask their clients to leave a review, because they think it looks bad on their part. Throw that instinct out the window! It’s plain wrong. The truth is, most clients are happy to leave a positive review! It’s simply not second nature for them do so. A polite request or a timely reminder will work wonders. So, matter how counterintuitive it may seem to you, please, please, please, ask your clients to leave a review. Your bank account will thank you.
The Best Review Generation Strategies
So, hopefully, by now, you’re convinced. If you want your website to climb the ladder to cyberspace fame, you need to find ways to get reviews. Now, how are you supposed to do it?
The answer isn’t so obvious this time around. The best review generation strategy for a contractor is not always the ideal choice for a hair salon. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all option here. But there are a lot of great techniques to choose from. Here are some of the best:
1. Ask Your Clients In-Person
In the internet-obsessed age that we live in, a good, old-fashioned face-to-face conversation is refreshing. Why not ask your satisfied customers to write a review right after a job well done? Consider bringing a tablet or smart phone with you and ask for a review on the spot.
The key is always timing and convenience. Make it easy for them to leave the review you want!
2. Send a Follow-Up Email
Sending a polite email following a successful job completion is one of the best ways to get a lot of great reviews, fast. It’s even more convenient for clients because they’re already online and can do it right away if you add a hyperlink to the text. You can even create an automated email blast that sends out a templated email thanking them for choosing your company and encouraging them to leave a review.
3. Leave Behind a Review Card On-Site
A go-to among small-business contractors, having informational cards to leave behind with clear instructions is a sure-fire way to increase the likelihood of getting a 5-star review.
4. Create a Custom Review Link for Your Website
Your goal is to make leaving a review as easy as possible for the client. A custom URL, when clicked, will cause a text box to appear. So, all the client has to do is type their review. Just be sure to encourage clients to leave detailed reviews—the longer and more specific, the better! To learn how to create a custom link, check out Google’s user-friendly, step-by-step instructions.
And don’t forget to use your website to show off the reviews you get!
5. Ask at the Right Moment and Take Advantage of a Feeling of Satisfaction
Be strategic about when you ask for reviews. Your goal is to get good reviews, so make sure they’re happy when they’re leaving one. What are some signs that a client is happy with your work?
- • When the client tells you they’re happy with a product or service (either in person or online)
- • When a one-time client becomes a repeat customer
- • If they tag your brand in a post on social media
- • If you get a referral for a new client
6. Say Thank You
Remember when we said that 90% of consumers are influenced by reviews. That means a lot of people are reading them. And knowing that, you should be replying to all the reviews you get. Say thanks for the good and bad ones. Show that you’re striving to improve your services and want your customers to be satisfied no matter what.
And don’t forget to include keywords! Reply by saying something like:
Thanks for the review [USERNAME]!
We’re always striving to do top-tier work and deliver amazing results at [COMPANY NAME].
We're thrilled to hear that we succeeded and hope to help you again in the future!
See you soon,
WARNING! When Asking for a Review, Do Not Do This
At all costs, do not solicit reviews by offering incentives in any way, shape, or form. As tempting as it may be to provide a small discount or token of your appreciation, this is strictly prohibited by Google’s policy. If they find out, the website you’ve poured your time, money, attention,) into could get bumped down the search results page.
Make Google Happy: Respond to Reviews!
Congratulations! Using these effective strategies, you’ve successfully generated your first round of reviews. But don’t forget about the follow-through. Have you ever sent a text message and got no response? What about a voicemail? How did it feel? Probably not great. As it turns out, Google feels the same way when your business doesn’t write replies to your online reviews. Google’s support page tells you all the reply etiquette to remember—and they’re not all that different from what your mother taught you.
- • Introduce yourself
- • Say thank you
- • Say sorry (when appropriate)
- • Be honest
- • Don’t make it personal
- • Don’t be late
The Big Take-Aways For Your SEO Strategy
To summarize, there are two big takeaways here. One, customer reviews are a key ranking factor that Google is on the lookout for—so make sure your business has them. And preferably many.
Two, you need to pick a suitable review generation strategy for your company, and relentlessly stick to it. There’s no cookie-cutter option here. There are plenty of ways to go about asking a client to leave a review, and it doesn’t matter too much which you choose. All the ones listed in this article have great potential. The only big no-no to keep in mind is the strict no incentive-driven solicitation rule. Apart from that, the consumer world is your oyster! Good luck!
Need Help Ranking? Leave Us a Comment or Contact LinkNow’s SEO Team!
Generating reviews is an important way that you can contribute to the success of your online marketing. If you have any questions about your current marketing package or would like to know more about how we can improve your ranking, leave us a comment, give us a call at 1.888.667.7186, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.