Review Management

How To Generate Reviews For Business Listings

Quality reviews lead to higher conversions, customer loyalty and improved local rankings

Quick summary
  • Racking up a lot of great reviews for your business will set you apart from the competition and boost your local SEO rankings
  • Most customers are happy to leave you a review, but few will take the initiative to do so without being prompted
  • With open rates of almost 100%, text messaging is a highly effective method to get more reviews

Why is it important to generate reviews for business listings?

A good review generation strategy will result in potential customers feeling like you’re a business they can trust, which will help you stand out from competitors.

A pull quote demonstrating why you should generate reviews to stand out from the crowd.

A pull quote demonstrating why you should generate reviews to stand out from the crowd.

Users who search for products and services online value reviews when making purchasing decisions because social proof is considered more trustworthy than simply taking the business’ word for it. 
Not only that, but you can repurpose reviews on your website at key points in the customer journey for a compelling conversion driver. Some ad platforms even allow you to feature reviews in your ads, which can result in higher click-through rates and cheaper clicks. 
Distributing your business information across the long list of business listings online is only the first step, you'll need to actively chase star ratings to really make your profiles shine.

Are reviews a ranking factor for local SEO?

Semrush’s own Local SEO Rankings Study revealed that the number of Google Business Profile reviews was a far more important ranking factor than average rating.

Average number of reviews businesses had based on 5,624 business-oriented keywords analyzed in Local Pack results in Google Maps.

Average number of reviews businesses had based on 5,624 business-oriented keywords analyzed in Local Pack results in Google Maps.

Distance from the user and relevance play a key role, but businesses that actively generate reviews clearly fare better in the local results than those that don’t. 
Some business owners fret about a one-star review bringing their average down, but a consistent stream of good reviews is better for local SEO than a handful of perfect scores. 
It’s important to track the impact of your review generation. If you’re new to marketing analytics, Semrush’s Review Management tool offers a simple way to report your progress in the Local Rankings tab. You can also visualise your position based on the user’s exact location.

Semrush’s Review Management tool’s Heatmap shows your position based on location

Semrush’s Review Management tool’s Heatmap shows your position based on location

How to get more reviews for your business

In short: the best way to get customer reviews is to ask for them. Users are generally happy to leave a review when a business reaches out, as long as the process is simple. 
Text messages have the highest open rates, with some reporting figures as high as 98%, compared to around 20% for email, making this the most effective way to generate reviews. 
Your message to encourage customers to leave reviews can be as simple as, “Thanks so much for choosing [your business name]! We’d love to know how you feel about your experience with us: [link to review site]”. 
For a personal touch, take the time to customize your requests and ask for reviews as part of a prior message thread or email conversation you were having. Bonus tip: Automate the review generation process by including review links in emails the customer already receives at the end of their journey, such as receipts or delivery confirmations. You’ll want to send the review request when your customer is in the best mood, and this will differ depending on your business. Typically, you’ll get more reviews if you reach out once their experience is complete: when they’ve just seen the results of their garden makeover, for example, or returned home from their meal. It’s easier for customers to dismiss review requests if it’s left too long after the last interaction. 
Focus your review generation on sites you know your customers use to find you. If it’s clear that Google is driving the majority of your traffic, you should probably start by requesting Google Business Profile reviews. You might also want to get customer reviews on industry-specific review websites, such as Tripadvisor for the travel industry. 
Semrush’s Review Management tool allows you to generate reviews from a wider range of platforms, because it’s a lot less work to reply to them all in one simple interface. 
Review generation software makes it easier to create review requests. You can create review templates and automate your requests to save you reaching out to customers one by one. Most review generation platforms will show you detailed analytics including open rates so you can see where you need to improve to get more reviews.

Where to get your review request link in Google Business Profile

Generate reviews by sharing this Google link

Generate reviews by sharing this Google link

Option 1

  • Log into Google Business Profile.
  • Bring up your Google Business Profile in the SERP by searching your business name and clicking the link next to your star rating to bring up all your Google reviews.
  • Next, click the blue “Get more reviews” button.
  • From there, you can either copy the review link, or share directly via email, WhatsApp or Facebook.

Option 2

  • Log into Google Business Profile.
  • In Google Business Profile Manager, select the business you want to get more reviews for.
  • Scroll down to Share your Business Profile.
  • From there, you can either copy the review link or share directly via email, WhatsApp or Facebook.

How to deal with negative reviews

Some business owners feel awkward about encouraging customers to leave reviews, fearing that pestering clients might result in a negative review, but that’s far from the reality of the situation. In fact, customers are more likely to leave a review based on a positive experience than a poor one.
So while you probably don’t want to specifically reach out to clients that you know had a bad experience, you shouldn’t worry about the occasional one-star review. You can learn a lot about how to improve your service from negative feedback, which will, in turn, lead to more happy customers and great reviews.
Negative reviews for a restaurant
Negative reviews for a restaurant

It’s very important that your responses are professional and you don’t react emotionally to a bad review. You’ll always get the occasional negative comment, but a defensive or accusatory reply can be more harmful to your reputation than the review itself.
Let it go. You can’t please everyone.

Do I need to respond to every review I get?

Replying to reviews helps strengthen your relationships with clients. Your replies are displayed publicly, which shows you’re active and professional.
Engaging with your reviewers can actually generate more reviews, according to Harvard Business Review, which says you could see a 12% uptick in reviews by replying.
Keep your responses polite and brief, perhaps mentioning something specific (not personal or confidential) if you remember serving them, and try to mix up your language so it doesn’t look like a copy/paste job.
If you’re not using Semrush’s Review Management tool to keep track of all the new reviews you're generating, it probably makes sense to reply to each one as soon as they come in so you don’t forget.
Leaving a brief, polite reply like this can actually generate reviews for your business
Leaving a brief, polite reply like this can actually generate reviews for your business

Remember, your ultimate goal is to increase client loyalty and brand reputation, not just get more reviews for the sake of it.

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Using Semrush’s Review Management tool to manage your reviews

Once you’ve set up your processes for review generation, you’ll have your work cut out for you getting back to all the users who were kind enough to respond.
Fortunately, Semrush’s Review Management tool can help take the pressure off by streamlining your reviews into one simple interface.

Respond to all your reviews quickly and easily

It isn’t too challenging to reply to the occasional review, but after a successful review generation campaign, you’ll have a big task on your hands that’s hard for one person to keep on top of.
With Semrush’s Review Management tool, your reviews across all platforms are conveniently brought in under one simple interface so you can respond to them all efficiently.
The Reply Rate widget helps you check that all reviews have been replied to so you can rest assured that your customer relationships remain intact.
Semrush´s Review Management tool allows you answer reviews from a single platform with ease and speed.

Discover what everyone thinks of you

With reviews rolling in all the time across multiple platforms, you’ll need a system to understand the general consensus.
But instead of tracking average ratings in a tedious spreadsheet, let Semrush’s Listing Management track all your reviews in one attractive chart.
The feature allows you to quickly learn what the overall feeling is, so you can be sure you’re basing your strategy on the widest range of data.
The Review Progress feature in Semrush’s Listing Management tool

Keep your reviews where you want them

Some users will be so impressed by your products or services that they’ll look up your business themselves so they can tell others about their positive experiences.
However, sloppy listings management can lead to duplicate profiles, and you don’t want customers leaving reviews on them.
A well-oiled review generation campaign means keeping on top of all your listings, so it pays to use the tool to suppress duplicates in just one click.
Semrush´s Review Management tool makes it easy for businesses to supress duplicate profiles.

Track how reviews impact your local rankings

Once you’ve got a system in place to get more reviews coming in for your business, you’ll want to know how it’s impacting your local search rankings.
Semrush’s Review Management tool presents clear data on your progress so you know your investment in review generation is paying off.
You can go even deeper with Heatmap and see up to five keyword positions overlaid on your service area and work out exactly where your customers are coming from.
Semrush’s Review Management tool provides clear data so businesses can see how their investment in review generation is paying off.
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