In the digital age, it’s rare to check out a new business without first taking the time to look them up online. And likely, the first place you go to learn about them is Google or Yelp to read reviews from other customers. As a business owner, you need to pay attention to your profiles on these sites. Follow these steps to increase the number of reviews, build up a solid profile, and make sure you aren’t breaking any rules of the platforms.

 

  1. Claim your pages

If you own a business, you need to claim the reviews page on the major platforms. This way, you can make sure all the information, like website, phone number, and address, are correct. Claiming the page also allows you to respond to reviews, which is very important.

2. Respond to Reviews

Whether its a positive or negative comment, engaging with these reviewers is a good way to show that you are a diligent business owner.

For a positive review, a quick “Thank you, we hope you’ll visit us again,” type message will suffice. Echo the brand voice you use on your website or social media here. If it’s a regular, feel free to joke back with them. In general, use friendly and grateful language.

For a negative review, things get more tricky. You want to be sure to 1 – acknowledge the comment and 2 – attempt to make it right. Make sure you answer with a level head so you don’t come across as angry or unfair in your review. Feel free to ask questions, and encourage the reviewer to send you a personal message so you can send them a coupon or refund. If the person is providing inaccurate information in the review, you want to respond and explain without sounding too defensive. Apologize that they had a negative experience, and respond as is appropriate.

3. Encourage More Reviews

So, how do you get customers to give you reviews on these sites? Carefully! The rules are different for Yelp and Google.

Yelp:

For Yelp, you are not allowed to directly ask customers for reviews or offer incentives. You also shouldn’t pay outside parties to write reviews for you, like friends or employees. If Yelp catches you, you’ll be unable to access the page anymore and respond to future reviews. Instead, put up a Yelp badge, either at your physical business, on your website, or in your email signature. You could also verbally reference your Yelp page to clients. You are allowed to direct users to your Yelp page with “Check us out on Yelp!” but anything more than that could get you suspended from your own page.

Google:

Google does not have as strict of rules, but you still want to be careful. Paying third parties to write reviews is not recommended, and neither is offering incentives. But you can ask customers or clients to write you a review, either in person or in writing. Try sending an email after you complete a sale, asking that they go to your Google page (be sure to include a link!) and share feedback on their experience.

4. Direct Traffic to your Pages

You can also share reviews from Google or Yelp on your website or social media, to bring awareness to your pages and inadvertently encourage others to write reviews.