The Ultimate Guide to Google Reviews (2022)
Kyle Kuczynski
Kyle Kuczynski
MessageDesk Co-Founder & CMO
Updated: Dec 20, 2021

Get Google Reviews, Respond to Reviewers & Manage Your Online Reputation

Over 60% of customers check Google reviews online before they visit a business. They're looking for social proof and reassurance that your business is right for them.

85% of consumers are willing to leave most businesses a review.

But it's hard to get customers to leave real-life, positive Google reviews

Unless…

You’re texting, emailing, calling or otherwise actively asking customers for Google reviews.

So….

  • How can you get more Google reviews?
  • How can you control and manage what potential customers see in Google?
  • How can you make it easier for customers to leave positive Google reviews?
  • How should you ask for Google reviews?
  • How should you respond to Google reviews?
  • How can you remove or delete bad Google reviews?

I’ve got the answers laid out in this ultimate guide and in the Reviews and Feedback How-to Hub.

Read on for more.

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What is a Google review?

A Google review is a voluntary, unpaid, online review that customers write about places they've visited. Google reviews are tied directly to Google Search, Google Maps, and your Google Business listing. Google reviews make it easy for people to leave feedback, add pictures, and tell others about their experiences.

Here’s what Google reviews look like for customers searching for your business in Google Maps:

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7 Reasons Why Google Reviews Matter

Out of all the review sites for building and managing online reputation, Google is the biggest.

They're also the most relevant for local, small businesses. This is because Google Reviews are tied heavily to local searches, Google Maps, and Google's search algorithm.

Here are the top 7 reasons why Google reviews are so important:

  1. Your potential customers want to search and find you on Google
  2. Google reviews improve your local search ranking
  3. Customers look at more recent reviews first
  4. Your business doesn’t need a perfect 5-star rating
  5. The number of reviews your business has will build credibility
  6. Customers want to see honest, truthful reviews
  7. Customers read the tone and sentiment of your existing reviews

1. Your potential customers want to search and find you on Google

Why does your business need Google Reviews? Well, 86% of consumers read reviews when they need a job done or they require a service.

Just Google phrases like, “plumbers near me” or “local flower shops” and you’ll see how other businesses rate on Google. In fact, the average local business has about 39 reviews.

2. Google reviews improve your local search ranking

Reviews are one of the biggest google search engine ranking factors for local businesses.

They’re also an incredibly low-cost digital marketing strategy.

Looking to improve your visibility and ranking in Google?

Then you’re going to need to get more reviews by asking via text message, email, and over the phone.

Google even uses all of your reviews and business information to figure out what your business does. This helps them judge the quality of your products and services.

3. Customers look at your recent Google reviews first

Just because you have a host of reviews tied to your account, doesn’t mean they’re relevant.

Many customers will look at your most recent reviews first. This is because they recognize that services are variable or sometimes seasonal.

Google also weighs how recent your reviews are as a ranking factor in their local search algorithm. Recent reviews indicate general business activity.

More recent reviews also reassure customers that others are actively using your product or service and finding success.

4. Your business doesn’t need a perfect 5-star rating on Google

Having a few less-than-perfect reviews won’t tank your online reputation. Things happen and sometimes people are entitled to leave reviews that are critical of your business or service.

Bad reviews show that you’re human. But responding gives you a chance to publicly show how empathetic, responsive, and customer-oriented your business is.

When someone leaves a less-than-perfect review, be sure to respond quickly (I’ve got strategies for that below).

It’s also a good move to integrate Google reviews into your customer service process. This gives you a more streamlined way to collect feedback and build your online reputation.

You stand to gain a lot just by appearing empathetic and responsive. Moments like that can go farther than a bunch of perfect 5-star reviews that don’t say much.

5. The number of Google reviews your business has built credibility

Quality reviews are important. But your quantity of Google reviews is also a ranking factor. It’s something potential customers will consider when evaluating your business.

But keep in mind, the number of Google Reviews you need will vary depending on your business and competitive landscape.

If your competitors have a bunch of reviews, then you’ll want to at least get close to matching them. You can offset this sometimes if your reviews are more honest, truthful, and comprehensive.

6. Customers want to see honest, truthful, comprehensive Google reviews

Have a lot of long, honest, high-quality reviews? That’s great because the average consumer reads around 10 reviews before trusting a business. Customers can also spot fake Google reviews from a mile off.

So when you ask for Google reviews, ask those who are willing to take the time and be honest.

Short, impersonal reviews don’t really say much to potential customers who are evaluating your business. Sometimes they can even seem fake.

As a best practice, try to give your customers guidance or offer a template. This makes it easier for a customer to leave a review and ensures quality (more on this below).

7. Customers read the tone and sentiment of your existing Google reviews

The star rating, number of reviews, review length, and recency all matter. But tone and sentiment are important too.

Google doesn’t necessarily use sentiment to rank you in Local Searches and Maps, but customers sure do. This ties back to getting more honest, high-quality reviews.

Potential customers want to see that the people reviewing your business are human. They want to understand how others feel about your business.

How to Start Getting More Google Reviews

Before you start, you’ll need to claim your Google Business Profile page. Once you have your Google Business Profile claimed, then you can start spreading the word.

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These are the 5 steps to get more Google Reviews:

  1. Claim your Google Business Profile.
  2. Verify your Google Business Profile to appear on maps, search, and other Google services.
  3. Create a link to your Google reviews page.
  4. Use texts, emails, and phone calls to ask customers for reviews.
  5. Actively reply to reviews to build trust and establish your reputation.

Your goal is to make it super easy for customers to visit your Google Business Profile and leave a review. The easier it is to link a customer to your review page, the greater chance you have of getting more reviews.

One of the best ways to do this is with your Google Place ID and a short link.

This gives your customers an easy, direct way to leave a review. You can even share links in text messages, emails, and on web pages too.

Here's an example of a Google review request text message exchange sent using MessageDesk:

Hey {{ FirstName }}, how was your service today? Did everything meet your expectations?
Hi there! Yes, everything was great. Your team was quick and friendly and everything went smoothly.
Fantastic! Would you mind leaving us a review on Google? It only takes a minute. All you have to do is follow this link and submit your honest feedback. Thanks! http://msgdsk.io/l/w/ev7JhUol

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How to Set Up a Google Business Profile to Start Managing Google Reviews

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What is a Google Business Profile?

A Google Business Profile (formerly Google my Business) is a Google service that makes it easy for businesses to manage their online presence across the entire Google platform. This includes Google Search and Google Maps. It helps businesses display relevant information like location and hours of operation to potential customers.

Before you start asking customers for Google Reviews, make sure you claim your Google Business Profile.

If you’ve already verified your account, then you can skip this part.

But if you haven’t...

Then do it right now. Seriously - it’s THAT important for your business.

Why does a Google Business Profile matter?

Google Business Profiles allow you to control exactly how your business appears on Google Search and Google Maps. It also allows you to manage the search appearances of multiple business locations (important for franchises and others).

You can also add:

  • Hours of operation
  • A list of products and services
  • Menus
  • Photos,
  • Contact information
  • And more

All of these listing features make it easier for potential customers to find you and make a buying decision.

Not claiming your listing means no control over how these features get displayed in Google.

How to optimize your Google My Business page to collect reviews

  1. Add relevant business information
  2. Include relevant keywords
  3. Keep your hours of operation up-to-date
  4. Upload photos and other high-quality visuals

1. Add relevant business information

  • Include everything (phone number, address, email, services, etc.) a potential customer would need to find you or get in contact.
  • Make things as easy as possible for someone to get in touch and buy your product or service.

2. Include relevant keywords, but don’t stuff them everywhere

  • Including relevant keywords in your Google Business Profile listing is a local SEO best practice. It makes it easier for Google to associate your business with that keyword.
  • But don’t overstuff your listing with too many non-relevant keywords. Google will know and they will frequently penalize your listing for it.

3. Keep your hours of operation up-to-date

  • Your customers will need to see hours of operation (but this may depend on your business).
  • Be sure to update your hours of operation frequently to account for holidays, closures, and adjusted hours.

4. Upload photos and other high-quality visuals

  • Google found that listings with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions from Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to a business’ website.
  • Uploading high-quality photos helps you stand out and gives your customers a better sense of your business.
  • Your customers want proof that you’re legitimate. They can’t do this without photos, video, or other high-quality media.

Ok, you’ve got your Google Business Profile page up and running. The next step is to link customers to your Google reviews page.

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How to Link Customer to Your Google Reviews Page

To get more Google reviews you need to link happy customers to your Google reviews page via text, email or calling.

The good news is:

This is an easy thing to do and there are ways to automate your Google review collection process.

But you’ll need to create a special link using the Google Place ID tool first.

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What is a Google Place ID?

A Google Place ID is a code or textual identifier that uniquely identifies your business in Google Maps. In Google’s mind, this is where your business lives on the web. Your Google Place ID is also tied directly to your Google Business account. This makes it easy to link people to your Google reviews page.

4 Ways to Create a Direct Link to Your Google Reviews

Linking customers to your Google reviews page is essential to getting more reviews. Without a link, customers can't take action and review your business. You've got 4 ways to create a link to your Google Business Profile and reviews page.

1. Use MessageDesk’s free Google review link generator

I've put together a free Google review link generator that makes it easy to find your Google place ID. All you have to do is enter your business information and we’ll send you your Google review link.

Once you have your review link, all it takes for customers is one click to write a Google review.

Check it out and give it a try.

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2. Find your Google Place ID and create a review link:

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  1. You can find the Google Place ID tool on the Google Maps App Developer Page.

  2. Type your business name in the “Enter a location” field to find your business’s Google Place ID.

  3. Then, click on the correct match from the drop-down list.

  4. Next, you’ll see a 25-character string of numbers and characters under your company name. This is your Google Place ID.

  5. Now that you have your Place ID, copy and paste it at the end of this link:

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=

  1. Once you insert your Place ID in the URL, it should look similar to this, but contain your own Place ID:

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJiaAayYBAmYARZvM1YKGhVsc

  1. Finally, to make the link shorter and more visually appealing, use a link shortener. Short URL services like bit.ly will make you a short link that’s perfect for texting to your customers.

Note: Business text messaging services like MessageDesk offer built-in, automatic link shorteners. Any time you text a link they’ll shorten it for you automatically.

Here’s an example of a Google review link shortened by MessageDesk in a text message:

Fantastic! Would you mind leaving us a review on Google? It only takes a minute. All you have to do is follow this link and submit your honest feedback. Thanks! http://msgdsk.io/l/w/ev7JhUol

3. Google search

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  1. In this method, all you need to do for your Google review link is a quick Google search for your business. When your business’s Google Business listing pops up, hit the “Write a review” button.
  2. Copy the long URL from the address bar at the top of your screen when the review window pops up.
  3. To help make the link shorter and more visually appealing, use a link shortener. A program like MessageDesk can give you a simplified link perfect for text messaging.

4. Google Business Profile

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  1. Log into your Google Business account.
  2. While you’re on the “Home” page, scroll down and you will see a “Get More Reviews” section.
  3. Copy the provided link and start sharing it with your customers. The link will automatically redirect to your location on Google Maps and will pop up the reviews box.
google-review-request-1200x630.png

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How to Ask Customers for Google Reviews

So what is the most effective way to ask for Google reviews?

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How to Use Your Google Review Link to Get Google Reviews

There are several effective ways to ask for Google reviews. Some of the most common include:

  1. Asking for Google reviews via SMS text message
  2. Sending emails with a link asking for Google reviews.
  3. Calling customers and clients and asking them to leave a Google review.
  4. Adding links to your review us or feedback page on your website.
  5. Adding a review link or call to action QR code into brochures or printed material.

Who you should ask for a Google review

If you’re just starting to ask for Google reviews, it's best to leverage your happiest customers. These are people who are already praising your services or products on social media or in other ways.

Overall, ask for reviews from customers who are willing to deliver in-depth and honest opinions. Strive to avoid short, impersonal feedback. And if consumers are asking for a review template, provide one right away.

For best results, do all you can to satisfy a customer before asking for reviews.

Ultimately, you’ll want a strategy for automatically asking for reviews. So consider using a business text messaging service or automated review collection platform.

But know that asking everyone for feedback will lead to some negative reviews.

However, negative reviews can be good for your business. Businesses with ratings between 3.5 and 4.5 stars earn more revenue than businesses with other ratings. At the same time, businesses with 5-star ratings earn less than those with 1-1.5 star ratings.

And using Google reviews for customer service has some revenue benefits too:

The best times to ask someone for a Google review

Every business and organization is unique. So when you should ask for Google reviews will vary based on your customers, service, product, billing cycle, etc.

But the following are some best practices guidelines for the best times to ask someone for a Google review:

  • Ask for reviews when customers are at peak satisfaction, but not longer than a week after concluding business.
  • Ask for a Google review or feedback when a customer makes a payment.
  • Ask for reviews at times and on days when customers are less occupied.
  • If your customers engage with your business on weekdays, then ask for reviews on weekdays.
  • Do customers interact with you during business hours? Consider reaching them on early mornings (8:00 am-9:30 am) or afternoons (1:00 pm-2:30 pm).
  • For weekend-type customers, try asking for reviews in the evening (1:00 pm-7:00 pm).
  • Experiment to get the best time for both you and your customers.

How to ask for a review via SMS text message

More and more businesses, like Mower Parts Plus and American Housekeeping are finding success with business text messaging.

Texting works especially well for getting customer reviews, collecting feedback, and earning more business referrals.

The reason?

Compared to email and voice, business text messages have higher open and engagement rates, and texting has some clear advantages like:

There’s debate about which tool is best (text, email, or voice) for collecting Google reviews. But each serves a purpose and should work together as part of your larger customer service and conversational messaging strategy.

star star star star star
"Collecting Google reviews is so much easier. All we have to do is schedule an automated text to send once we finish a cleaning."
Manager, American Housekeeping

How to automate Google review collection with MessageDesk

A business text messaging service like MessageDesk gives you the power to collect more reviews at scale. Software in this category has features like text message templates, tags, and text message scheduling.

All of these features combine to make it easy to send more personalized follow-up messages at scale.

With templates, you can send a saved text message that already contains your Google review link. You can even add personalization tags like {{ FirstName }} and {{ LastName }} to the message.

Scheduling then allows you to text a template to any customer at any time.

You can even take this to the next level. Consider setting up an automated text message asking for feedback and a review once your customer pays their bill.

Here’s an example of an automated feedback and review collection sequence triggered after a purchase using MessageDesk:

messagedesk-feedback-request.png
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Once a customer responds with 1-10 MessageDesk can automatically reply based on how they rated your business.

If they rate you highly, MessageDesk automatically asks them to make their experience public and leave you a Google review.

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If a customer rates you poorly, MessageDesk will instead ask them to reply and elaborate on their experience. This informs you on how to improve next time and prevents the customer from leaving a negative review.

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Over time, you’ll see how customers rate their experience by comparing how many people have replied with each value.

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SMS text message templates to help you ask for Google reviews

Hi {{ FirstName }}. Since you had such a great experience would you mind taking some time to leave us a review on Google? I’ve made it super easy for you. Just follow this link: [LINK]
Thank you for your business! We pride ourselves on great service and it’s your feedback that makes that possible! Take a minute and let us know what you thought! [LINK]
Hi {{ FirstName }}, thanks for shopping with us. Have 2 minutes to review your shopping experience? Just follow the link! [LINK]
Hey {{ FirstName }}, thank you for visiting us today! Could you review your experience with us today at [LINK] to help serve you better? Thanks!
Hello {{ FirstName }}, your opinion matters to us. Could you take a minute to review your experience from your visit? Follow this link to answer a short survey with four questions. Thank you! [LINK]

Suggested resource: check out my list of free SMS text message templates for more.

How to ask for a Google review via email

Email is still a reliable channel for asking for Google reviews. After all, 58% of consumers check emails before any other online activity.

It's also easy to include a link to your Google Business listing and experiment with different messaging formats.

You can always ask for a Google review by sending a personal email. But, are you looking to automate your review collection or to collect reviews at scale?

Then you’ll want to consider using an email platform like Constant Contact or MailChimp. Email platforms like these make it easy to schedule and automate emails and even craft email sequences.

You could even double down. Consider asking for Google reviews via both text messages and emails using MessageDesk’s Constant Contact and MailChimp Zapier integrations.

For best results with email:

  • Clearly define your goals
  • Personalize your email
  • Keep it short
  • Test, measure, and adjust as necessary

Here are some examples to get you started.

Review ask email subject line examples

  • "We'd love to hear your thoughts on (X product or service)."
  • "How did we do?"
  • "Spare a minute to share your experience about (X product) with us."
  • "We love learning from your shopping experience."

Review ask email templates

Addressing a broad range of consumers

Hi {{ FirstName }},

Thank you for ordering (X product.) We hope you're happy with the purchase.
We're glad you shopped with us. We value you and always strive to bring you the best shopping experiences.
Would you leave us a quick Google review at (insert link to your page)? It only takes up to three minutes, and it'll help us better serve you.
Meanwhile, reach us at (insert number) in case of any questions or support.

Best regards,

The (your business name) Team.

Addressing an individual – a repeat customer

Hey {{ FirstName }},

Thank you for buying (X product) from us. We hope it has done its (intended) job well.
Would you spare a minute to write a review about your experience? (add a link to your business listing)

Thank you in advance for helping us help you. In case of any questions or support, give us a call on (insert helpline).

Cheers,

The (your business name) Team.

The "we" approach

Hi {{ FirstName }},

Thank you for doing business with (your business name)!
You mean the world to us, and we would love to learn more about your experience with (product bought).

Share your thoughts here (insert a link to your business profile.) Be sure to use # (insert hashtag) to join our online community.
Your review will help us deliver better experiences to you. See you in our online community.

Best regards,
The (business name) Team.

How to ask for a Google review in person and over the phone

Despite being intimidating, asking for a Google review in person or over the phone can be effective.

But how do you go about this in either circumstance?

How to ask for a review in-person

Asking for a review is all about being in the moment. One of the best times to ask customers for reviews is in response to unsolicited praise.

Here’s an example:

Customer: [singing your praises]

You: “We're glad to be of help. We strive to [what the customer is praising you for]. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback.”

Customer: “No problem. Thank you for being awesome.”

You: “You know such comments significantly help other customers who’re deciding to work with us. If it's not too much trouble, would you mind leaving us a quick review detailing what you’ve just said? That would be amazing."

You can also create opportunities to ask for a review. Try asking customers about their experience with your service, product, or store.

Think of questions like:

  • How long have you been using (X product or service)?
  • Have you found everything you were looking for?
  • How was your experience with us?

How to ask for a Google review over the phone

Is your business regularly engaging with customers over the phone?

Consider leveraging existing opportunities to ask for reviews.

The trick here is to select the target reviewer carefully. For instance, a self-proclaimed happy customer is better suited for a phone request than one with problems that need solving.

Example:
"I'm glad we got to help you today. Your business means a lot to us. Would you mind sharing your experience today on Google? Your feedback makes it easier for other people to understand that they can get support whenever needed."

Additional ways to ask for a Google review

Besides text, email, and voice, you can also ask for reviews through printed advertising materials like banners and business cards.

Consider using a design tool like Canva to create ad materials that encourage Google reviews.
Include messages like:

  • "Got feedback? We'd love to learn more about it! Leave us a review at (link)."
  • "How did we do? Review your experience with us at (link)!"
  • "Did you enjoy shopping with us? Leave us a review at (link)

You can apply the same technique to send follow-up physical mail saying thank you and requesting reviews.

You can also:

  • Add a review link to your sale receipt or invoice, or
  • Add a Google review link to your website

Regardless of the delivery method:

  • Determine the right time to ask for a review
  • Encourage your client to leave honest and in-depth Google reviews
  • Explain to the clients how their feedback will help better their experiences
  • Ensure the customer is satisfied before asking for a review
  • Make it easy for them to review your business
  • Personalize the request as much as possible
Try collecting Google reviews for free. No credit card required.

How to Respond to Google Reviews

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Can You Respond to Google Reviews?

Yes, you can respond to Google reviews. Many business owners don't realize that they can respond and manage their business appearance on Google using their Google Business Profile. If you haven’t already claimed your Google Business account, you should. Google Business Profile offers you an easy way to view, respond to, and curate your organization’s online reputation.

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Should you respond to every single review?

No doubt, you’re a busy person. So responding to every Google review may not be feasible.

Some businesses prioritize responding to every review. Others prefer to focus on those that have a specific complaint or request that can reasonably be addressed.

As a general rule of thumb, try to answer every 1 and 2-star review. You don’t need to respond to every single review.

But responding to bad reviews is an especially great way to showcase:

  1. How much you care
  2. How responsive you are
  3. How you deal with negative experiences
  4. How committed you are to making things right
  5. That you’re a real person representing your business

These are all human and conversational ways to build trust and a healthy brand reputation.

How to respond to Google reviews from a desktop computer

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  1. Visit business.google.com (If you’re signed in you’ll see your business page automatically)
  2. From the navigation bar select a business (if you manage multiple) or click “Reviews”.
  3. Next, you'll see a list of reviews associated with your business page.
  4. From here you can manage “All”, “Replied”, and “Haven’t replied” reviews.
  5. To respond to a review, click "Reply".
  6. A text box will open that allows you to respond to the review.

How to respond to Google reviews from a mobile device

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  1. Download the Google My Business app from the GooglePlay or Apple App Store.
  2. Open the app.
  3. Tap on the menu icon (three bars).
  4. Tap "Respond Now" to reply to a review.

How to respond to negative and bad reviews on Google

Getting bad Google reviews and negative feedback from customers is never fun. Especially when you know how hard you try every day to provide the best possible customer service and support.

The impulse is to lash out with a snarky or condemning response but…

Here’s how to respond to negative reviews on Google:

  1. Think about the feedback.
  2. Discuss causes with other employees before responding.
  3. Identify who you are and your role in the business.
  4. Ask questions to clarify the customer’s experience and begin empathizing with them.
  5. Keep your initial message brief, but professional and courteous.
  6. Move the conversation off of your Google Business page.
  7. Attempt to contact the customer via phone (best for conveying a proper tone) or email.
  8. Own up to legitimate mistakes when appropriate.
  9. Offer solutions, rebates, discounts, and incentives if applicable.
  10. Finish conversations with a polite closing.

Note: Many angry customers see responses from business owners but never interact again. If you do get a follow-up response and you can resolve the issue, try asking the customer to edit their review on Google.

Template for responding to negative Google reviews

Hello {{ FirstName }},

My name is [name] and I am the [title] at [company]. I'm sorry to hear that you were disappointed in our service. We strive to exceed the expectations of our customers during each and every visit. It looks like we missed the mark here.

Please contact me at [phone number] or [email address] to further discuss your experience and to allow me to personally address your concerns at your earlier convenience.

Sincerely,

[name]

How to respond to positive reviews on Google

Responding to negative reviews is always important. But managing your online reputation also includes responding to positive reviews on Google.

Positive reviews are obvious social proof for potential customers. They’re validation from real customers that your goods or services are worth looking into.

You don't have to respond to every positive review. But taking a few minutes out of your day or month to reply can go a long way.

Responding to these reviews adds a personalized, human touch to your brand perception. It also shows other Google searchers that you actively read responses and that you respond promptly. Both are positive indicators in Google’s eyes as well.

Here’s how to respond to positive reviews on Google:

  1. Address the reviewer by name when available.
  2. Thank the reviewer for their positive response.
  3. Call out, highlight or quote specific aspects of their review that showcase your business.
  4. Offer a further incentive, discount, or referral offer (if applicable).
  5. End your message warmly with a salutation and your name.

Template for a positive Google review response

Hello {{ FirstName }},

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide [company] with a positive review. I am so glad that you found our support staff helpful when you were in our store last week and that you were happy with your purchase! We pride ourselves on doing our best to keep our customers satisfied every day, and it's nice to hear that all of our hard work is paying off.

If you'd like a coupon for 15% off your next purchase, please contact me at [email address].

Sincerely,

[name]

How to respond to neutral reviews on Google

Just like with positive reviews, you’ll also want to pay attention to neutral Google reviews. It may seem unnecessary to respond to neutral reviews, but there are benefits to doing so.

A thoughtful response can change a customer's perspective on your company from "meh" to "wow". This is especially true if you can address the reason why the reviewer only gave three stars instead of five.

Here’s how to respond to a neutral review on Google:

  1. Provide a warm greeting and introduce yourself
  2. Thank the reviewer for their feedback
  3. Ask questions to clarify the customer’s experience and begin empathizing with them.
  4. Acknowledge the less than satisfactory or underwhelming aspects of their review.
  5. Invite the reviewer to contact you to further discuss their experience, and offer an incentive if applicable.
  6. Treat neutral reviews similar to negative ones by offering a way to interact one-on-one
  7. Seek to change their opinion of your business with a discussion or incentives.

Template for a neutral review response

Dear {{ FirstName }},

My name is [name], and I am the [title] at [company].

I would like to personally thank you for leaving a thoughtful review, and I can understand why you feel your experience fell slightly short of your expectations. If you would like to further discuss your visit to [company], please email me at [email address], so I can follow up and offer you a coupon for your next visit.

Warmly,

[name]

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Can You Delete or Remove Google Reviews?

You can’t directly delete Google reviews from your Google Business Profile. But you can report a fake review and ask Google to remove it. If it’s inappropriate or violates Google's contributed content policies Google will often flag the review automatically. Reviewers can also edit or delete their own Google reviews. So try asking the person who left the review to remove it.

Bottom line: Google only allows its own staff or the person who left the review to remove or delete a review.

So…

The best way to “remove” Google reviews is to respond politely and bury the bad with plenty of positive reviews. This is where MessageDesk can help you automatically get more Google reviews and respond to customer feedback.

Google's review policy

I’ve covered who can delete a Google review. But what are Google’s actual terms of service and policy around reviews?

Google’s review policy:

  1. Google doesn’t verify the reviewer’s identity.
  2. Google doesn’t guarantee reviews to be authentic.
  3. Google only removes reviews that violate its content guidelines.
  4. Google may ask you to provide evidence that a review is fake before removing it.

1. Google doesn’t verify the reviewer's identity

Google doesn’t verify a reviewer's identity. They do this for privacy purposes and to ensure there’s no retaliation from businesses for poor reviews.

Google does provide Verified Customer Reviews, which come with a little icon that guarantees that an actual customer left the review.

But these reviews are only available to customers who purchase a product or service online.

Verified Customer Reviews obviously carry more weight but in most cases, anonymous reviews are still possible.

2. Google doesn’t guarantee reviews to be authentic

Google also does not guarantee that all the reviews posted on your business page are authentic and posted by real customers.

This means that anyone with a Google account can post an anonymous review on your Google Business page.

Google does use automated spam detection to remove reviews.

These reviews aren't always negative. Sometimes people or bots leave positive reviews on your page that are fake too. Some businesses even see off-topic reviews that read more like political rants or journal entries instead of helpful reviews.

But be advised, some legitimate reviews sometimes automatically get removed.

3. Google only removes reviews that violate its content guidelines

Google’s user-contributed content guidelines (outlined below) describe specific cases in which Google will remove a review.

In short, Google doesn’t allow reviews that are:

  • Fake content or spam
  • Off-topic
  • Conflicts of interest from competing businesses
  • Explicit or derogatory
  • Contain restricted content
  • If you have reviews on your page that check any of these boxes, it’s likely Google will remove them.

4. Google may ask you to provide evidence that a review is fake before removing it

After you flag a review, a Google representative may reach out to ask for evidence that proves the review is fake.

This only occurs with clearly fake reviews and spam.

Regardless, you’ll want evidence that supports why the review should be removed.

Examples of evidence include:

  • Correspondence between you and the reviewer around when the review was left.
  • Screenshots of the original review
  • Pictures of other suspicious reviews the person has left.

3. Google only removes reviews that violate its content guidelines

Google’s user-contributed content guidelines (outlined below) describe specific cases in which Google will remove a review.

In short, Google doesn’t allow reviews that are:

  • Fake content or spam
  • Off-topic
  • Conflicts of interest from competing businesses
  • Explicit or derogatory
  • Contain restricted content

If you have reviews on your page that check any of these boxes, it’s likely Google will remove them.

4. Google may ask you to provide evidence that a review is fake before removing it

After you flag a review, a Google representative may reach out to ask for evidence that proves the review is fake.

This only occurs with clearly fake reviews and spam.

Regardless, you’ll want evidence that supports why the review should be removed.

Examples of evidence include:

  • Correspondence between you and the reviewer around when the review was left
  • Screenshots of the original review
  • Pictures of other suspicious reviews the person has left

Google’s contributed content guidelines and violations

Google reviews are a type of user-contributed content, so they’re covered under Google’s Prohibited and Restricted Content Guidelines.

These guidelines outline ten policy violations for contributed content. If a Google review violates any of the policies, then Google will often automatically flag or remove the review for you.

Here’s a quick breakdown of Google’s prohibited and restricted content guidelines:

1. Spam and fake content

This is deceptive content used to manipulate ratings. Spam and fake content include posting multiple times, including from different accounts.

2. Off-topic

Off-topic content that’s general in nature including political commentary or personal rants is forbidden.

3. Restricted content

Content that promotes actions or purchases that aren’t legal. This includes promoting alcohol, gambling, guns, pharmaceuticals, adult services, and more.

4. Illegal content

Content that’s illegal or depicts illegal activity is forbidden. This includes copyrighted content, endangered animal products, graphic violence, human trafficking, etc.

5. Terrorist content

Any content promoting terroristic behavior or terrorist organizations is forbidden.

6. Sexually explicit content

Content that is sexually explicit or sexually exploits children is forbidden.

7. Offensive content

Google will remove content that contains obscene, profane, or offensive language or gestures.

8. Dangerous and derogatory content

Google doesn’t permit businesses or consumers to post dangerous or derogatory content, including content that:

  • Threatens or advocates for harm to oneself or others
  • Harasses, intimidates, or bullies an individual or group of individuals.
  • Incites hatred, promotes discrimination of, or disparages.

4 Ways to Delete a Google Review

Here are four ways to remove a Google review or reduce the impact of bad reviews on your business page.

1. Bury negative Google reviews with more positive reviews

Have a series of bad, but real reviews from real customers? You can't get those removed by Google. But you can get more Google reviews to effectively bury the negative ones.

For most businesses, the problem with collecting more reviews is time and energy. It’s a laborious, manual process.

But this is where MessageDesk makes it easy to automatically start conversations with customers and collect feedback via SMS text messages.

Once you know you have a happy customer, MessageDesk automatically texts them a link to your Google review page.

Text messages make it fast and easy for customers to leave reviews, which means more reviews. You can even set up text message triggers that send review links to customers once they’ve completed a purchase.

2. Respond to the negative review and ask the reviewer to edit or remove their Google review

edit-google-review-1200x630.png

Your impulse may be to delete Google reviews. But consider responding to your Google reviews and asking reviewers to edit or remove them for you.

If the review is blatantly fake, you can start by responding that no one recalls the interactions outlined in the review. But your business takes customer complaints seriously.

Regardless, it's best to follow up with your contact information and encourage them to reach out and discuss the matter further. This shows other prospective customers that you care about customer service and customer experiences.

Keep in mind, many angry customers see responses from business owners but never interact again. If you do get a follow-up response you can request that the customer edit their review in Google Maps.

Here’s how customers can edit or delete a Google review:

  1. On a computer, open Google Maps
  2. At the top left, click Menu
  3. Click Your contributions Reviews
  4. Click More next to the review that needs editing or deletion
  5. Select Edit review or Delete review and follow the on-screen steps

3. Flag the review for Google review policy violations

flag-google-review-1200x630.png

One of the simplest things you can do is flag the review and hope Google deletes it for policy violations.

Here’s how to flag a Google review:

  1. Open Google maps
  2. Find your business's profile
  3. Locate the Google review you want to be removed
  4. Click the three dots to the right of the review
  5. Hit Flag as inappropriate

Google often addresses flags in as little as 24-48 hours. But it can take a few days for them to get to your case. If you haven't heard back in a week, try contacting Google’s small business support.

4. Contact Google small business support

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Your final way to delete a Google review is to contact Google small business support. Start by filling out their online form. Next, you’ll get directed to contact options. This includes email, online chat, or speaking with a representative on the phone.

Here’s how to contact Google small business support

  1. Go to support.google.com/business
  2. Scroll down and select contact us
  3. Select “customer reviews and photos,” and then manage customer reviews
  4. Choose to receive help via phone, web chat, or email

Note: If you do contact Google via email or chat, have a screenshot of the review ready to go.

Finally, you can also try tweeting the Google Business Profile team (@GoogleMyBiz) from your company's Twitter account. Someone may reply to you and you can take things from there.

You could also search for and seek advice about the removal of reviews in the Google community support forum.

Send Text Messages 📲 Get Google Reviews 🌟

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Final thoughts and next Steps

Ready to integrate texting into your Google Review collection process? MessageDesk is here to help by giving your customers one click to write a review.

Customers love to text. They open 98% of their texts within one minute and embedded links get clicked more than 14% of the time.

With a text, all you need is to include your Google Review short link. Your customers click on the link and visit your Google Business Profile and then they leave a review.

Feel free to start a free MessageDesk trial. You can also meet with a messaging expert to discuss the best ways to get more Google reviews.