With more than 90% of consumers researching businesses, products, and services online before ever contacting or visiting a business in real life or making a purchase online – positive public business reviews are extremely important for every small business. Get more 5-star reviews on your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business, so I’ll be using both in this this article) by creating a direct review link and ask customers for a great review.
(You can skip reading this long tutorial and pay us to create the Google Review link for your business if you prefer. Only $50!)
How do you get reviews on Google Business Profile?
While it is not feasible for every business to directly contact each individual customer and client to ask for a review, those businesses who can – should! And more than asking for a review, businesses should send a direct link to the actual review form to make it super simple for customers to review the business on your Google Business Profile page, especially for businesses who serve local customers.
After completing a project at Search Centered, we send a simple thank you follow-up email to clients. After thanking new clients, we wrap up the email by asking for a review on our Google My Business listing.
With this request, we send a direct link URL to the form for them to leave a review – https://www.searchcentered.com/review
As you see (if you click), this URL automatically loads the Google Business Profile review form so clients can easily leave their review of Search Centered. This direct link means there is no searching, no frustration, and no abandonment of the review mid-process once the client starts to leave a review.
The only thing for the customer to do is click a star and write a few sentences telling the world how great your products, services, and company has treated them.
At Search Centered, we focus on Google Business Profile reviews for our business and for our clients’ businesses because… Well, Google rules the internet, right? Sure, reviews on other websites are nice, but Google is where it’s at! Not to mention, reviews on your Google Business Profile listing will help boost your results in Google search results – general search results, the Google “3-pack,” and on Google Maps.
More than 86% of all internet searches are done through Google and when a potential customer searches for your business with Google, the average rating of your reviews on Google Business Profile are displayed on the results page with a link for the searcher to read all of your Google Business Profile reviews.
Do reviews on Google Business Profile really make a difference?
Online reviews absolutely make a difference for a business, and Google Business Profile reviews are especially valuable for small local businesses. 79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family members.
Research shows that 5 reviews is the “magic number” of Google Business Profile reviews. Once your business hits 5 reviews on Google, your business will likely start seeing benefits in organic search results, in the “Local Pack” of search results, and on Google Maps.
The third way Google Business Profile reviews are valuable is because a user must have a Google account to leave a review.
When an online review it attached to an actual account with a logged-in user, it is more likely to be a legitimate review from a real person, not a fake review created by the business owner to make their business look good.
If your customer wants to remain anonymous, move on to the next customer for a Google review. Don’t spend too much time trying to convince a customer to create an account or to use their real name. Ask that customer to leave your business a review on your business’s Facebook page or email you a testimonial you can add on your website, instead.
How to create a direct URL to the Google Business Profile review box
- Claim your Google Business Profile – Since rebranding to Google Business Profile, Google has made it easier to claim your business if you have not done so already. Search for the name of your business in Google and you will be presented with the option to verify your profile or resolve issues with an already-claimed profile. This can also be done from your profile in the Google Maps app, or by entering the keyword “my business” in the search bar. You can also visit https://www.google.com/business/
- Click “Get More Reviews” on your profile – You can do this from the Google search, from your profile on Google Maps, or within your Google Business Profile Manager – https://business.google.com/
- This will give you a review link directly to the Google review box. This is our link – https://g.page/r/CcMVStToyDSpEAI/review
Now you have your Google Business Profile review link, ready to share with you customers.
But, it’s ugly! As mentioned above, we link to create a professional looking review link using this ugle Google review link. Our link actually looks like this – https://www.searchcentered.com/review – Click the link to see it in action (Leave a rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and write a short review if you learned something today!)
Create a professional shortlink for your Google review link
A personalized and professional URL with your own domain name adds legitimacy to the link you send to your clients. It’s also easier to remember when you’re sending a text or email asking for a review.
As you saw above, our professional Google review link – https://www.searchcentered.com/review – redirects to the ugly Google review URL and opens the Google review.
Create a redirection in your website’s .htaccess file
You can create this redirection in the .htaccess file of your web host. The .htaccess file is in the root of your website. You can usually access it through your hosting control panel (or cPanel) or via FTP.
In your .htaccess file, add the redirection in the format below on a single line.
Redirect 301 /review https://g.page/r/CcMVStToyDSpEAI/review
- 301 – Tells servers this is a “permanent” redirection (don’t worry, you can always change it, that’s just geek-speak, it doesn’t actually mean permanent)
- /review – means this is the part of the URL after your domain name that will be redirected
- Then the URL where the redirection will take the visitor. Make sure to include a space before this URL
Many web hosts have redirection options in the dashboard or settings
Check your specific web host or website platform, many web hosts have a 301 redirection tool built in.
Create a simple 301 redirection in WordPress
WordPress is the most popular web development platform on the internet. WordPress powers 43% of all websites.
I like the Simple Page Redirect plugin for new or novice users.
- Install Simple Page Redirect
- Create a page in your WordPress dashboard and call it “Review”
- Enter your Google review URL in the “Simple Redirect to:” box
- Click “Publish”
- Make sure the WordPress slug is review for this page after it has published. If the slug is review-2, or something similar, this means you have another page that already has the slug review. Go to that page and put your Google review URL in that page instead
I like this method because it helps website owners visualize the page (even though it doesn’t exist) and you can easily change it later – you don’t have to try to remember where you performed the redirection. The Review page is simply a page on your website that has been redirected elsewhere.
If you need help, you can pay us to create this professional review URL for you.
Crafting an email or message to your customer asking for a review
Now that you’ve done all the hard work: get the customer, make the customer happy, created a tool to help you get the review, there’s only one thing left. Ask for the review. My advice when asking for a review – keep it short and sweet. You’ve already made the customer happy – you don’t want to turn that all around by annoying them now.
Our Search Centered Digital Marketing Thank You emails are very simple:
Hi John Doe,
It was a pleasure working on your project!
Would you mind taking a moment to leave Search Centered a short and honest review on our Google Business Profile listing?
Leave your review here – https://www.searchcentered.com/review
Encourage customers to add relevant keywords to their review
Instead of asking for a generic review from your customers, give them some hints to encourage them to add some of your business service and/or product keywords into their Google review.
Try to spice it up with a bit more, like:
Hi John Doe,
It was a pleasure working on your project!
Would you mind taking a moment to leave Search Centered a short and honest review on our Google Business Profile listing?
The more detail you can provide, the better, but we would love a short straight-to-the-point review if that’s more of your style.
Do you need inspiration for writing your review?
The best reviews include lots of detail and tips for other people who may be considering our services. Here are a few topics to give you ideas when writing your review:
• Which services did we provide for you?
• At which location did you get service? (if you have multiple locations)
• What do you like about working with us?
• Have you used other products or services we offer?
• Did you work with a specific person who deserves kudos?
• How do our services compare to similar services you’ve used with other companies?
• Do you have any tips to offer others who use our services in the future?
Leave your review here – https://www.searchcentered.com/review
Ask for a review via text message
Another tactic we use is to simply text the link to the client. Of course this takes a little more finesse, but if you regularly text with clients, this method is an even quicker way to get that review.
We keep the text message super-simple and keep it under 160 characters, in one message:
Thanks for working with Search Centered! Will you please take 1 minute to review us on Google? → https://searchcentered.com/review Simple reviews are good, detailed reviews are GREAT 😀
Do you need a Google account to leave a Google review?
As mentioned above, and shown in the step-by-step screenshots above, your client must have a Google account of one type or another to leave a review of your business on Google My Business. Google’s goal is to be as accurate as possible. Allowing anonymous reviews does not promote accuracy, and allows for misuse of the Google Business Profile review system. Your customer will always have to be logged in to Google to leave a review of a business on Google My Business.
If that’s a problem for you or your customer, maybe your customer has a Facebook account, ask your customer to review your business on Facebook instead.
If nothing else, ask you customer to email you a testimonial that you can display on your website.
At Search Centered Digital Marketing, most of our clients come to us needing a new website, needing search engine optimization (SEO) for their existing website or needing one of the other various digital marketing services we offer. With every new client, we ask if the client has a Google account, any type of Google account – Android, YouTube, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Google Business Profile, Analytics, Search Console, Voice, AdWords, Blogger, AdSense, etc – Many times clients are unaware all these websites and services are Google. Any of these accounts will work when leaving a Google Business Profile review.
If a client does not have a Google account, we walk them through the process or create the account for them.
We always integrate Google Analytics and Google Search Console into a client’s website – Both Google websites. Both requiring a Google account. As well, we create a Google Business Profile listing for their business or website… Again requiring a Google account.
Sure, this method works well for a web design or digital marketing company, but what about other industries? Consider including a hint or note at the end of your thank you email, something to the effect of – “Did you know Android, YouTube and Gmail are all Google accounts?”
Gmail is the most used free email service on the internet, more than half of all cell phones in the United States are Android, and YouTube is the 3rd most visited website on the entire internet. There’s a very good chance your customer already has one of these accounts.
Now you know the keys to getting more Google reviews, go out and get those ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!
Stop hoping customers will leave reviews. Start asking for reviews and top it off by making it even more simple for customers to review your business by giving a direct link to the review form.
Note: This article was originally published on July 29, 2014 and is regularly updated to keep the information fresh.
I read all the tutorial and applied in my company. Really improved on the local placement. It’s been over 1 month, but I had to come back here to say thank you. Thanks for sharing.
That trick with URL and redirect in htaccess is genius!
Thanks for reading.
You can definitely hyperlink in an email, if you like. However, keep in mind that many people remove hyperlinks in emails. This is why I always include the URL, rather than a hyperlink.
It looks like your website is on WordPress. I believe the best method for you would be to use the Safe Redirect Manager plugin (https://wordpress.org/plugins/safe-redirect-manager/). In the “Redirect From” field enter /review and in the “Redirect To” field, enter your long 5-star review link.
This was a fabulous and detailed article – exactly what I needed and much appreciated! One question – what about just hiding the link in the message itself? E.g. Would you be so kind as to leave me a short and honest review on Google? (hyperlink Google, or make it more obvious – ) Here is the link: Google (hyperlinked). Do you include the actual text of the link in case the hyperlink doesn’t work for them?
Do you even know how long I’ve been trying to figure this out? The google instructions are different and have never worked anyway. You guys are My saviors!!! Thank you so much for this post.
Hey Preetham! I don’t think it’s possible to pre-populate the description, because a customer must be logged in to leave their review. If you find any way to do it, shoot me a message to let me know how.
Thank you for this article. This was very helpful.
One question, is there any way to pre-populate description text in the review pop-up? This is part of a project which we are working on.
Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks for reading!
Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
There are many much more important things business owners can be doing, rather than worrying about a fake review every now and then. If you get a fake review, just a leave friendly comment that says you don’t believe you’ve ever worked with a person named “__________” and invite them to contact you if they were truly a customer who had a bad experience, so you can help resolve their issue.
Not to mention, people don’t really trust a company with a perfect rating… That seems more fake than a 1-star review every now and then.
If you’re really worried about a fake review, take a look at this article – https://whitespark.ca/blog/remove-fake-google-reviews/
Here’s an interesting situation. It seems that someone has managed to leave a 1* review on a couple of websites/companies local to me (my competitors). Before anyone asks – it was certainly NOT me – I would never do that to anyone as this is peoples livelihoods we are talking about here 🙂 The reviews simply state the user as “Anonymous Critic”. This is a worry for all genuine business owners as:
1. I can’t work out how they did it
2. Because of 1. I can’t defend against it should it ever happen to me (as I suspect it may be a fake review anyway)
3. From previous experience Google will not react or take the review down
Here is a link to an image of the one of the companies reviews: http://i.imgur.com/tjDhu9Y.jpg
I will be happy to share the “actual” businesses with the OP or another SEO person but I don’t want to publish the exact location of the company or review here for privacy reasons/
Thank you for reading my Google My Business 5-star review link article.
To your comments:
1 – Users must always have a Google account and log in if they want to leave a Google My Business review. We noted this a few times in the article.
2 – I believe you may have missed a step or two when you created your link. I just tested my personalized link https://www.searchcentered.com/review and it still works as expected.
If you need help creating your link, we can do it for you, just complete this form – https://www.searchcentered.com/service/google-my-business-review-link/
This article was great and we did secure a few reviews with this. However, we believe Google has made couple of fundamental changes –
1) It asks the end user to login as soon as they click on that link
2) Google has de-activated the option of “pre-populated” 5 stars. It does bring up the review page but with no stars selected.
Is there a workaround for this?
Hi Hanna, thanks for reading! Are you asking about inserting a link into text? Like, “Click here to leave us a review?” That’s not a bad strategy, but even better – create a personalized review link, like – https://www.searchcentered.com/review If you sign up for our newsletter (https://www.searchcentered.com/newsletter), we send out an email drip series all about online reviews, including a tutorial video about creating your own personalized review link.
Hey Dan, check out our article about the reasons why Google My Business reviews get deleted – https://www.searchcentered.com/blog/missing-google-reviews/
Hey Mario, you can shorten the link using http://goo.gl Also, if you sign up for our newsletter (https://www.searchcentered.com/newsletter), we will send you a tutorial video about how to create a personalized link like https://www.searchcentered.com/review
Hey Dan, thanks for reading. This method DOES work… as you can see by the test link in the article. Maybe you didn’t complete the steps in the tutorial? If you need help creating your link, we can do if for you, just fill out the form here – https://www.searchcentered.com/service/google-my-business-review-link
Thank you for this article! It was very helpful. What do you think about using the “Insert Link” button to edit the link and how it gets displayed when drafting the email using gmail?
Does setting up the link with the 5 stars already selected trigger Google spam filter? I just did this for my site, and got a very nice review immediately. 1 week later the review has vanished and I don’t know why. I have also reached out to Google and am awaiting an answer. As far as I know the customer and my business did not violate any Google review rules.
Thanks for the neat trick to take the customer right to the 5 star review field.
I always ask for google reviews. It doesn’t take a lot to get ahead of the competition.
In my specialty, I have 3 google reviews which is more than any of my local competitors.
Great article works just perfect for me.
is there any way to make the link shorter?
Great write-up but unfortunately this no longer works for desktop users.
It works great on mobile devices, allowing them to go straight to the 5 star review page. When you use the same link on desktop, it simply just brings up a search for the brand name. No review page.
It really depends on the business, itself. For some industries, Yelp is completely irrelevant. Either way, Google reviews are super-important. Google reviews directly impact your business when someone searches for a business in Google or using Google Maps or Google voice search.
Again, it depends on what you mean by “bad reviews.” When someone leaves a bad review of your business, just reply to the review and sincerely apologize and offer to make the situation right. There’s nothing worse than a business that argues with customers online.
Thank you for the article. I followed the steps and haven’t had any issues. I have talked to some of my clients and they want me to incorporate this technique to boost there reviews as well. Thanks!
A client just told me our old link wasn’t working (due to Google change). I found this post and used it to create a professional URL that redirects. Thanks!
Well, how would you compare the Google my business reviews with Yelp? Which one in your opinion is more important? We have a local company and we are just starting about establishing a review system.
Also, from my experience, I believe tackling the bad reviews on yelp is a mess- how well Google my business reviews perform when compared?
Thanks so much for this information. It’s been such a struggle to get links to go straight to the review page until I saw this article. In the past we’ve had to use manual instructions, but this has fixed that issue.
Awesome blog post! I needed this today. Thank you for the awesome tips, illustrations, and instructions.
Hi Travis, really well written article, with lots of thought and detail. Hi from a fellow SEO consultant – I’m based in London, though I work with many international clients via Skype. Busy times mean you slack off on your own collecting of reviews – despite telling clients to always do it. I don’t know why Google makes this vital element of their service so difficult to locate, but I found your article by erm… searching Google. The irony, huh? I love your style in doing that 301 from your own site, classy! Finesse and attention to detail are sadly rare in the digital marketing world, so thanks for showcasing the little things which different some of us. Who knows, maybe we’ll work together at some point 😉
The ability to have a direct to review link on Google has been needed for a long time. Thanks for the easy to follow directions. It worked like a charm. I posted this article to my business Facebook page. Excellent!
HI Travis – thanks – it took me a while to figure but it works for sure – have shortened the URL too. Great advice.
I’ve updated the article a bit… From all of my recent testing and experiences, it seems that “luck” of when and where you created your Google My Business listing plays a big part whether this method will work for you or not.
With all the changes to the Google local listing service over the years it seem that depending on where in the world your business is located, when you created your Google My Business listing, or even when you’re reading this article – this process may not work for your Google My Business listing. If this process doesn’t work for your Google My Business listing, my recommendation is to create a link on desktop and another on mobile and send both links to your customer.
Thank you!! As a small business it is always nice to find ways to do things ourselves in order to cut our costs. This article was easy to follow and I am looking forward to our clients reviews. I think you’re a genius:)
There have been so many versions of Google’s business listings throughout the years (Places, Google+, Google My Business, etc). My best guess is that results may depend on when the listing was created. If you’re sure the link works universally, then give it a go.
When I created links for this tutorial, I created the link on an iPhone 5. Tested on: iPhone 5, iPhone 6, Android, Windows 10 – Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, Safari
The best advice I can give – Test the link on as many different devices as you can.
With Google business listings, I doubt everything will be 100% universal because there have been lots of different versions of their business listing service.
Awesome how-to. Thanks for putting this info together. For some reason, when I create the link from a desktop computer it works on both mobile and desktop, but when I create it from my iPhone 6 in Safari, it doesn’t open the pop-up box to leave a review – just takes you to the Google search results page. Any idea why that would be happening?
Just wondering if it’s a bad thing if we use the desktop generated link, since it seems to be working correctly on both desktop and mobile? I noticed in your response to the previous comment you said that the link has to be generated from a mobile phone in order to work correctly.
Travis, if you have a moment, I’m experiencing a unique issue with this. For reference, I am in the US, and your link above opens and goes straight to the star review on both my computer and iPhone. However, I have not been able to get it to work for our Google My Business Page. For reference I have 4 separate locations all tied together on Google My Business.
I’ve tried creating the link on my iPhone, and also through iPhone on private mode and I DID get a variation in the link. However, the link(s) will not open to the star review page ever, they only open to our Google page and would require a person to then select the leave a review, etc. I’ve tested this on an IPhone (and clearing cache), on a Macbook using Safari (and after clearing cache), on a PC using IE and Firefox, and on a Macbook using Firefox. When creating the link, I followed your instructions precisely, and tried creating the link to one of our locations Google pages specifically. Is this because I have Google+ tied to the My Business Page, or could it be because I have the 4 connected, or do you have any other advice. Thank you in advance for sharing the article and any ideas.
Thanks for the note about changing the 3 to a 5 in the desktop URL to pre-fill a 5 star rating. That was actually an issue I discovered when writing a previous version of this article. Although, I did not look into it in depth.
Hi Ryan. Thanks for the comments.
My best guess as to why it works differently for you it that you are not in the United States, and Google My Business may not work the same is other countries. In the past, other methods that I posted only worked in the US. When creating and testing the methods listed in the article, I used Safari on an iPhone 5 to create the links, and tested them on an iPhone 6, Andriod, Google Chrome on Android, Chrome on Windows, Firefox on Windows, Internet Explorer on Windows, and Edge on Windows – along with comments from the past versions of this article, this is why my best guess is Google My Business functions differently in different countries.
You might need to reboot your phone or clear the cache. I just checked my short link on all the popular mobile and desktop browsers, and the short URL works on all devices and browsers.
Interestingly, I am having a very different experience.
If I do as described above for my own business on a mobile, I can click on the link on a mobile and have the review pop up and 5 stars pre-populated.
HOWEVER, when I click the link on a desktop, I DO NOT get the review page appear (and must go looking for it).
See this link as created on my up to date iPhone. It does not appear to be universal. It should work on your phone, but not desktop:
On the flip side, if I go through your steps, but on a desktop (which you said wouldn’t be universal), email the link to myself and open it on my iPhone, it DOES open straight to the review, HOWEVER is pre-populated for some reason on my iPhone to THREE stars. It does appear to be universal.
The link used is:
I would also like to point out that when I click on your link https://www.searchcentered.com/review on my iPhone, it does not redirect or automatically pop up to the review page for you, instead just showing your Google listing.
I’ve just tried this on two desktops and two iPhones to replicate and verify the results, so I’d expect you see the same with the above links.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this and if there’s possibly a solution to the automatic 3 Star populating.
Actually, I just tried changing the ,3 to a ,5 in the last link and it is the star rating.
Still interesting to note that I’m experiencing the desktop created link work on both devices as opposed to the mobile created link. And that your https://www.searchcentered.com/review is no longer working as it should.
Changes made by Google?
Do I have to use my cell phone to create a direct link? What if I am using a desktop?