Starting a new business is exciting and nerve-wracking. One of the most important things you can do to ensure your success is by knowing how to get Google reviews. But when you have to struggle to keep up with Google on top of everything else, the challenge can be more than most business owners have time for or know how to deal with.
Google is still the top search engine in the world. That means if you want more eyeballs—and more traffic to your business—you need a Google Business Profile, which lists important details like your website, physical location, contact information, products, services, photos, and more. It’s also where prospective customers can see reviews about your business.
Where it gets tricky, though, is when Google makes changes to its algorithms that impact your business—especially the customer review process, upon which so much depends.
A New Approach to Get Google Reviews
A prime example of a recent Google change is its new AI-based review filter, which went into effect in 2022. The filter appears to target Google Business Profiles that are less than a year old (regardless of how long the business itself has existed). It also seems to target businesses that serve customers in places other than their physical locations and/or businesses that specifically solicit reviews.
In an apparent effort to get rid of spam reviews, the AI-based filter is using automated logic and learning to judge the content of reviews and identify and remove the offensive ones. But the judgment isn’t perfectly applied and can result in credible new reviews getting removed. To that end, lots of real businesses that receive and depend on new reviews have been caught in the filter.
In practical terms, if you have a new business listing that’s under a year old, you may be getting reviews, but Google could be filtering or removing them—making it harder for people doing a search to see what others think about your business.
And yet Google is critical to gaining the business traction you need. Not only can Google customer reviews attract new customers, but they also improve your online presence by establishing your business as credible and trustworthy and providing the social proof people look for when researching a new business or brand.
A big part of your review strategy needs to be avoiding the pitfalls of Google’s filters and algorithm changes. Easier said than done, of course, since businesses don’t really have advance notice when Google imposes a change—and it can take a while to adapt your tactics whenever they pivot.
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However, there are some general rules of thumb that can help. Here’s how to get Google reviews and position your business for greater review success and deal more effectively with Google’s recent changes:
1. Set realistic expectations
When you create a brand-new business listing, it can take a few months for your review strategy to start delivering. You won’t see results overnight, but if you follow this advice, you should start to see a ramp-up in your Google reviews over time.
2. Take it slow
Go slow when soliciting reviews by limiting the number of requests you send out on a given day. You don’t want to irritate your customers by asking them for reviews too often. Check if reviews start to trickle in—a good ballpark number is to get one per month—then as you start to receive more reviews, you can dial up your solicitations. You may still need to adjust how much you solicit along the way. This will help you avoid a sudden increase in the velocity of reviews you’re getting that can trip Google’s filter. Too many reviews at once can lead to Google’s algorithm deleting them—even if they’re real.
3. Address review problems
Losing just one review if you only have 10 can impact your rating and perception on Google. So if your reviews seem to be disappearing, it’s reasonable to check with Google to get them restored; you can follow the instructions for restoration here. But as your body of reviews grows, it will hopefully become less of an issue if Google removes one or two.
4. Spread the review wealth around
Google is a big game to be sure, but it isn’t the only game in town. Think about using a review management tool like GatherUp which helps you capture and track first-party reviews and request that customers leave reviews at a variety of sites—not just Google. This allows you to grow a body of reviews for use on your website and in your marketing materials in a slower, deliberate, and more varied way. This approach also frees up your business from Google’s grip without discounting it completely.
Get More Google Reviews with a Review Management Tool
Customers frequently look to Google’s reviews and ratings to find local businesses and decide whether or not to shop at them. But when you’re just starting out, it can take time and effort to figure out how to get Google reviews in a way that can make a real difference to your online presence and business reputation—not to mention your bottom line.
GatherUp’s review management platform helps you generate quality first-party reviews so you can use them in addition to Google reviews to market your business effectively and earn more customers. To learn more about how to launch a successful review strategy for your new business—or for your clients, download our full New Business Guide to Google Reviews.