The importance of customer reviews cannot be overstated. Now more than ever people research a business online before contacting them or making a purchase, so having as many positive, public reviews on independent sites is vital. As of August 2016, Google’s search market share is estimated to be around 80% , so it is clear that Google reviews are more likely to be seen than any others, and can prove to be very valuable, especially to local businesses.
We have seen that it often the process of completing the review that is the barrier to customers leaving feedback. By following this guide, you will be able to create a customised link directly to the Google feedback form which you can share with your customers, removing the need for them to search for your business listing and find the ‘Add review’ section.
The following demonstrates how we have customised our review link. By clicking it customers are taken directly to the form and can easily submit their review.
Create your custom review link
Follow these steps to create a customised link to review your business on Google. You must already have a Google My Business listing set up and verified. If you do not have a Google My Business listing, follow this guide to create one.
On your phone, open a browser and navigate to google.co.uk. Ensure you are not logged in, or use an incognito window to avoid your username forming part of the generated link. Search for your business and click the link to your My Business listing.
Scroll to the ‘More About
At the rate and review section, click 5 stars. This will auto populate the form you send to customers with a 5* review. You will be prompted to sign in to your Google account to complete the review, do not do this.
Scroll to the top of the page. Press and hold the address bar until the whole URL is highlighted. Click to copy the URL, this is your universal link that you can share with customers so they can go directly to your review form.
The generated link is not very user friendly and will look something like this:
To make the URL easier to share, visit goo.gl. This is Google’s URL shortening tool. Paste in your original URL and click ‘SHORTEN URL’
The output will look like this:
You now have a much
more convenient link to share with your customers that takes them directly to
your review page and has 5 stars pre-selected.
Going the extra mile
The shortened URL that you just generated will work perfectly well, and is easy to share with customers, but it is not particularly memorable or related to your own website URL. If you have root access to your website’s files via FTP or cPanel, it is possible to create a custom review URL that uses your domain name by setting up a redirect in your .htaccess file.
Open your .htaccess file in your favourite text editor and add the following 301 redirect in the usual way.
# Redirect to Google Business review Redirect 301 /review https://www.google.co.uk/search?rlz=1CDGOYI_enGB657GB658&hl=en-GB&ei=W2jKWK6xA-HIgAaOkZvwDw&q=swerve+media+norwich&oq=swerve+media+norwich&gs_l=mobile-gws-serp.3...11423.15073.0.158184.108.40.206.0.0.0.211.1173.7j3j1.11.0....0...1c.1.64.mobile-gws-serp..1.10.906...33i160k1j0i22i30k1j0i67k1j0i22i10i30k1j33i21k1.CTtd8L8h8YA#fpstate=lie&lrd=0x47d9e393d0d16ee5:0xb6c0dea412fa5401,3,
(Be sure to replace the URL in the example with your own review URL.)
This code snippet redirects requests for the URL below to your Google Business review form.