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Should You Ask Clients to Review You on Google? [2021]

Should You Ask for Google Reviews(1)By now, everyone knows how important it is to get their customers to leave positive, positive, thoughtful, and detailed reviews on Google.

But the rules for soliciting reviews remain foggy. At best.

Part of the problem is that different review sites have different rules, and many people conflate them accidentally.

Today we’re going to clear the air. We’re going to explain, as precisely as possible, Google’s rules around asking for reviews.

So, let’s be clear. Should you ask your customers for Google reviews?

Yes, You Should Ask Your Customers to Leave Google Reviews

In fact, if you look up Google’s own policy on soliciting reviews, you’ll find this:

“Remind your customers to leave reviews. Let them know that it’s quick and easy to leave business reviews on mobile devices or desktop computers.”

—Google My Business Help

Pretty clear, I’d say! Google uses reviews to find out whether businesses are trustworthy or not. It uses that information to rank businesses on Google Maps searches and to rank webpages on their regular organic search. That’s also why they value reviews that are detailed, include keywords, and identify excellent services in direct and concrete ways. It all shows that you are running a business that they can be comfortable pushing on their platform.

Google Reviews Can Attract Clicks from New Customers

Positive reviews are important for gaining more traffic.

It’s not just about search algorithms, either. There’s a very human component too. Consumers almost always read reviews before trying any new service or product. They depend on those reviews to help them make an informed decision, and the content in those reviews is often the deciding factor.

In general, consumers want to see reviews with:

  1. High ratings
  2. Positive words in review text
  3. Many positive, detailed reviews

People are naturally drawn to businesses with those 3 factors going for them.

Search for businesses in your industry and see which Google My Business (GMB) profiles you are most attracted to, and which ones you think you would call. You’ll notice that profiles with more reviews and a higher rating are much more appealing than those without.

How to Ask Clients for Google Reviews

Now that you know how important it is to ask clients to review you, let’s look at how you should ask them.

Ask Every Customer for a Review

It’s important to ask every customer for a review. Behind Google My Business profiles, reviews are the 2nd most important ranking factor Google looks at for their local finder results. This means that the amount and quality of reviews you receive has a significant impact on the ranking of your business on Google.

If you are just getting started on asking customers for reviews, it can take some time before it has any impact on your ranking.

Our advice?

Be persistent and you’ll start reaping the rewards of your hard work before you know it.

4 Proven Techniques for Asking for Google Reviews

It’s time to start drafting and asking clients to leave you a review! Here are 4 of our top practices to keep in mind.

1. Ask for Google Reviews by Email

The easiest way to get reviews is to ask for reviews by email. Whenever you do work for somebody, send them an email thanking them for choosing your company. This shows your clients that you care about their experiences. And just when they feel appreciated, gently ask them to leave their feedback on your Google My Business page.

Say something like:

“If you enjoyed working with us, please take a moment to leave us your thoughts on Google. 60 seconds of your time will help us continue delivering top-quality service to others just like you! Follow this link to our Google page.”

If they’ve had a great experience with you and feel appreciated, they’ll be happy to leave a review that will help you out.

2. Ask for Google Reviews in Person

Although it can feel a little bit weird to ask for a review in person, it’s the surest way to get those reviews on your GMB listing. Don’t think of it like you’re bothering them or being sleazy. We live in a time when reviews can make or break a business. If you don’t ask for reviews from clients that know you and respect your work, you’re not taking the necessary precautions to protect and manage your online reputation.

Don’t be shy! It’s just business in 2021.

3. Ask for Google Reviews on Your Website

This one takes a little bit of tact. You don’t want to make it appear like you’re offering an incentive for people to leave reviews. You want to remind people that leaving a review will help you continue to provide top-quality service and improve your business.

One way that works well is to include testimonials from Google on your website. This will remind and encourage your clients to leave their own review. A simple phrase like “Liked our service? Let us know on Google!” is all you need to increase the number of daily, weekly, and monthly reviews.

4. Do Not Incentivize Reviews

Offering high-quality service should be incentive enough! But offering compensation for reviews will get you into a lot of trouble with Google.

A Louisville, Kentucky law firm offered their clients a chance to win a contest for a review. When they got caught, Google removed 100 online reviews. No mercy!

As we repeat over and over, Google’s whole business model depends on being a trustworthy source of information. Artificial or fake reviews damage Google’s reputation. That hurts their bottom line. And they don’t like that too much.

Google Review “Snippets”

Snippets are a feature Google has implemented to make searching easier for the user.

Review snippets appear on a business’s Google My Business page, just below their contact details. These snippets provide a snapshot of one customer review highlighting a keyword in the user’s search query:

Google search results showing local heating repair companies. Highlighted is a listing with a review snippet that reads: "I had a furnace/heating issue and called Martin."

Your clients leave important keywords while reviewing your business. So, the more reviews you have under your belt, the more opportunity Google has to select from your reviews to match people’s searches. This will inevitably draw people to your business because it will make you stand out from the competition—yet another excellent reason to ask every customer for a review on your Google My Business profile.

Google Reviews are an Easy Way to Grow Your Business Online!

Consistently asking your clients to review your services will help your business grow. As Google emphasizes its reviews feature in different ways, business owners like yourself should take advantage of it.

Using these simple methods will improve your reputation and grow your business. Let us know how they help in the comments below!

 

 

 

3 Quick Tricks to Get More Google Reviews

Man pointing finger in background with text in foreground: More reviews, more business.

No matter the quality of your services, what your clients have to say about your business will always carry more weight than what you have to say about your business.

That’s why getting reviews is so crucial. Because customers place so much value on reviews, creating a space where clients can share their experiences should be a top priority.

With that in mind, here are 3 tips to get more Google reviews.

1.     Provide Exceptional Services and Prioritize Customer Experience

If you’re looking to get more reviews, you want those reviews to be good. So, to get good reviews you need to be providing excellent services.

While providing great services may seem like a no-brainer, there is a bit of strategy to it.

Here are a few tricks to deliver a stellar client experience:

  • Take the time to listen to your customer’s goals
  • Reiterate these goals to them
  • Involve them in the process
  • Address concerns right away
  • Go out of your way to be friendly and communicative

2.     Simplify the Process

Some clients won’t leave you a review because they don’t know how or simply don’t think of it. To counter this, make it super easy. At the very least, add a link to your Google review page on your website. We also recommend adding the link to the end of an email, on your social media, or on a physical business card.

If you cater to an older demographic, providing step-by-step instructions or screenshots of the process can also be helpful and increase the likelihood of participation.

3.     Ask Your Clients to Leave Reviews

Don’t be afraid to ask your clients to leave reviews, in person, on the phone, or in a follow-up email.

You may be surprised to know that 86% of consumers are willing to write a review, and directly asking them significantly improves your chances of receiving one.

Let your clients know how valuable their input is and how sharing their experience could help customers just like them.

Respond to Your Google Reviews, Good AND Bad

That’s right:

Respond to all Google reviews, both good and bad.

At its essence, the Google review page is a conversation between you and your clients. Not only does it allow customers to share their experiences, but it gives you the space to respond.

It’s easy to respond to good reviews. A quick “thank you!” goes a long way. But bad reviews give you a chance to show off your professionalism and flex your conflict-resolution skills—an invaluable skill for any business owner.

Respond professionally and promptly with helpful solutions that invite them to contact you again. By doing so, you’ll impress visitors who see how much you care about all customers, satisfied or otherwise.

Get People Talking About Your Business!

The bottom line is this:

The more reviews you have, the better.

Providing great services is the first step to getting good reviews. But don’t forget to follow through.  Ask your clients to review your business.

Send them a link.

Email a link.

Add a Google Review badge onto the home page of your website.

The best way to get reviews, is to ask for reviews. So ask away.


 

Found this post useful? Want more guidance? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

If you need help setting up your Google My Business or getting more Google reviews, contact us at website@linknowmedia.com to see what we can do for you.

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Google Chrome Informs Users When They Visit Insecure Sites—Here’s Why It’s More Important Than Ever to Switch To HTTPS

Big news in search this week as Google rolls out a long-announced. change to their web operating system that informs users of Google Chrome when they are about to navigate to an insecure website.

The change, initially announced back in February of 2018, makes formal Google’s longstanding attempts to popularize the more secure HTTPS hosting format by integrating it into their native apps.

Google’s new update became active on July 24th, 2018, and affects all users of Google Chrome, whether they are browsing via an Android phone, a smartphone Chrome app, or their desktop web browser.

This is just the latest escalation in Google’s push to make HTTPS the ‘native’ format for web hosting on the Internet. It all began as part of Alphabet’s annual I/O talk in 2014 and has culminated in this move to create a physical reminder at the top of the user’s search bar that the website they are browsing is not secure.

Google here is using its significant clout—they are the closest thing there is to a monopoly on the Internet, after all—with the ultimate goal of protecting users from fraudulent and low-quality websites as well as man-in-the-middle attacks.

Why? Well, if Google is redirecting users to websites that steal their credit card information, that’s obviously not good for either the user or the company’s business model. The simple fact of the matter is that HTTPS domains using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates are more secure against these types of threats, full stop.

This move encourages best practices for web design and development. It ‘encourages’ it by fiat, sure, but if it betters the experience on the web for most users, I think we can put it into the ‘don’t be evil’ camp, which is less than we can say for most of the things Alphabet is up to these days.

What Does The Change Look Like?

Open up Google Chrome and open up a second web browser of your choice.

Put them side by side, split-screen if you like. Then open up a URL of your choice.

For the sake of illustration, I’ve chosen one of my favorite perfume websites—one that I happen to know is currently not secure.

The window on the left of the screen is Google Chrome, and the window on the right is Firefox.

Looks pretty similar, right?

Look again.

See that—right where I’ve highlighted?

Firefox—the screen on the right—displays a little ‘i’ icon.

The Chrome browser displays that same little icon, but beside it, there’s also text that reads Not secure.

Not secure. Kinda scary to read that when you’re about to whip out your credit card and make a purchase online, huh?
Exactly.

A very subtle change, but one that can do a lot to change consumer’s behavior, as long as they’re browsing mindfully. Someone surfing the Net on autopilot might not notice.

The message is harder to ignore when using mobile—it’s right there at the top of the screen. Yikes!

As A Small Business Owner, What Do I Need To Know?

Okay, strap in. Things are about to get heavy. Heavy like ‘call your IT person or your webmaster’ heavy.

You have a pretty reasonable question. Moreover, I’m about to answer it with some pretty unreasonable advice.

Or at least advice that is conflicting.

Here are the two conflicting things you need to know:

  1. In material, concrete terms, this changes absolutely nothing.
  2. Pay attention to that little ‘i’ icon I pointed out earlier. That little symbol there was already pointing out that your website wasn’t secure. This change just makes it more evident that you hadn’t yet upgraded your security certificate.

  3. This signals you absolutely need to change to an HTTPS domain as soon as possible. Like, tomorrow.
  4. Wait. So how can that be—that this doesn’t change anything and yet it’s super urgent that your business upgrade your security certificate as soon as possible?

    More after the jump.

What’s HTTPS Mean? What Does HTTP Mean, for That Matter?

Quick Internet history lesson: since the beginning of the web, the text before the [www.] in your website’s URL was, or still is [http://]. This stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. As an average small business owner, you probably don’t need to know what HTTP is or what it does on a detailed level.

The key takeaway from this is that HTTP creates the architecture the Internet as we know it was built on. However, it ultimately had many security flaws. So some of the biggest names in web research, including companies like Alphabet, Google’s parent company, decided to work on a replacement.

That’s condensing a lot of information and history and politics into a single very simplified sentence, but if you are interested in how this stuff all works, do a little research on your own.

The point is, there’s now a way to connect to websites that increase web security by performing a unique ‘handshake’ between the https domain and your browser.

In so many words, your browser verifies the certificate the domain is presenting, which is a good way to ensure the website you’re visiting doesn’t have malware attached that’s trying to steal your credit card information. If you see the Secure tag on your browser’s navigation bar, you also know you’re not getting phished—which happens to even the tech-savviest individuals. That’s not a joke!

Why Is Google Forcing Me To Switch My Website to HTTPS?

No one is forcing you to do anything. Like I said above, this tiny visual change, in material terms, affects you very little.

For now.

What I am suggesting in this blog is that though the switch to HTTPS is not mandatory, and it is not currently widespread on the Internet despite Google’s best efforts to publicize the HTTPS changes, it will be standard, and sooner than you think.

Think about it this way: your customers want to know they can trust you. The fact that they can trust you is how you’ve been able to survive as a business until now. That goes for whatever industry you’re in general contracting, landscaping, web design, perfume consultation, whatever.

Switching to HTTPS of your own accord now, while it’s still not widely adopted, but over-represented among the top websites on the Internet as opposed to the Internet as a whole—well, that associates you with those top websites by leading brands, even if only very slightly. And it demonstrates to your customers that you take protecting their data and their cookies seriously.

Sure, it’s mandatory for any business that requires direct credit card processing, and you can tell me you don’t use that—but odds are you don’t use it yet. You have no way of predicting how your industry will change in five or ten years.

I mean, neither do I, but I feel pretty confident saying that HTTPS is only going to be more widely adopted by the largest sites on the Internet and that small business owners need to think about this if they want to show their customers they’re serious about security.

How Do I Change My Domain to HTTPS?

It’s a little bit complicated. Remember when I said you should call your IT person? It’s not too late in the day to do that. I have some technical knowledge about how the technical side of SEO goes, but not nearly enough to be able to confidently walk you through the process on your own.

While we don’t default every website we make at LinkNow Media to the HTTPS protocol, we likely will in the future. And we offer our clients the ability to switch to HTTPS painlessly—that’s right, we take care of all of it—for $50. That’s a steal, but it shows how we prioritize security for our customers and our customers’ customers!

Some other writers wrote some excellent pieces on what SEOs need to know about switching to HTTPS. I am indebted to them for breaking it down and putting it into layman’s terms, so I’m going to recommend you check out their guides after reading this one.

Also, Google has an excellent step-by-step guide to making the switch here..

Check out these different resources. Remember that changing protocol from HTTP to HTTPS counts as a new website, so you can’t just redirect via a URL change tool like you might have in the past. Don’t forget to submit your new site to the search index after everything’s been taken care of, or your rankings won’t tank: they’ll be nonexistent.

Why Do I Need to Switch Over to HTTPS Even If My Site’s Not an E-Commerce Site?

Technically, you don’t. If you’re able to process transactions with credit cards online, you (or your invoice provider, like Stripe) are already following the standards set out in the Payment Cards’ Industry Data Security Standards, which means that you are already using the HTTPS protocol.

If you aren’t, sure, it’s valid to ask me the question about whether HTTPS is right for you. However, consider this: is your crystal ball accurate enough to say that five or ten years from now, your business and your brand will still be the same? The Internet payments landscape may be entirely different; clients may well pay for everything online in ten years’ time.

Don’t put yourself and your business into a box if you don’t have to.

Do I Need A Standard Certificate or a Wildcard Certificate?

Probably not, unless you have more than five different subdomains that you’re using. I’m willing to bet most of you don’t fit that description, and so you’ll be better off with a less-flexible but much more inexpensive Standard certificate.

Is This Going to Change My Relationship With My Clients?

Listen, I’m not a psychic. I don’t know if your customers are going to get geeked at reading Not Secure when they log into your site and bounce to a customer’s website instead. But in the cut-throat world of web marketing, you have to do everything in your power to narrow the gap between you and your competitors. You can bet if there’s a large corporation muscling in on your electrical installations that they’ve got an HTTPS domain.

What can you do better than them? Offer a personal touch. But you don’t want to make your potential clients feel like they’re choosing between professionalism and personality—you want to offer both professionalism and personality.

Updating your site, managing your SEO, and making sure your clients feel they can trust you with their sensitive data—that’s a big part of what we call professionalism in today’s day and age.

Does This Affect My Website’s Ranking?

It does. Google has announced multiple times that they consider HTTPS protocol a positive ranking signal. It’s a minor boost at best—and a tiny part of the over 200 aspects the search engine calculates when determining a page’s ranking—but it is there.

This tiny boost could be enough to put you to the top of the list. If your competitors have switched to HTTPS, that’s a clear indicator it’s time for you to change too. If they haven’t? Sounds like an excellent opportunity to leave them in the dust to me.

How Do I Get Started?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our primary guide on migrating to HTTPS protocols for your small business website. Remember that if you’ve ever struggling with marketing your business online, LinkNow Media handles web marketing for 9000 clients running small companies just like yours—and counting.

Want to know more about our incredible web design packages or how we can move your site to HTTPS without you lifting a finger? Give us a call today and ask to speak to an account executive. We’ll get you set up on the web securely and safely.

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