Online Review Management Best Practices
Basic quick guide for StoragePug and any Company we’re training. Yes, this is the "Quick Guide." On my first day of training for my Online Reputation position with Cellular Sales I was handed a 30-page document on the information below provided by a 3rd party marketing company. That's before we spent a year improving the process ourselves.
There should be 2 things you always think about first for Online Reviews for SMBs - QUALITY AND AUTHENTICITY .
This isn’t something where it’s advisable just to get it going and then worry about refining later.
Google judges and takes corrective action on reviews similarly to how they handle manipulative SEO.
There is plenty of human filtering going on, so as not all manipulative SEO is caught and punished right away the same happens for Reviews. As the punishment for bad SEO is sometimes a deterrent that goes beyond just remedying the foul , the same happens for Reviews.
Ex. - Maybe you have 100 real 5 star reviews in the last 6 months, but 7 months ago there were 2 reviews posted from your business's wi-fi with newly created accounts that haven't had any activity since(or some other equally suspicious details). Google could potentially remove all of the 5 star reviews from your complete history, and leave only 1, 2, 3, and 4 star reviews. there doesn't seem to be a statute of limitations.
Even if they only catch 1 out of 1,000 times you do it, it's still not worth the risk to get the boost from a couple questionable reviews, when it's not hard to cultivate a great reputation with genuine customer reviews.
Also, sometimes borderline SEO is questionably punished because it’s so similar to black hat SEO. Same with Reviews.
Great, sustainable SEO results from providing a relevant, quality, useful content experience for visitors over time. The most effective way to do it is also the safest way to do it. Same with Reviews.
- Always, only, real customers, and 3rd party professionals who know your work.
- Slow and steady - No more than 3 a day if you’re starting at less than 25 total right now.
Nothing screams inauthenticity like really weird timing and bursts of reviews.
- Never let someone post a review from your location’s wi-fi.
- Never post a review with a newly created account that won’t have continued activity.
- Do not ask for a “review.” Some people will interpret this as a request for feedback. Do we want Hugh Bellomy to use this as a forum for feedback? Not that he, or many, likely would, but I’ll sleep better at night if I’m sure he understands that before I ask him to post a Google review.
- Ask for a “5-star endorsement.” Make it clear that anything less than 5 stars is worse than not leaving a review at all.
- Avoid soliciting reviews from uncoached or unqualified reviewers, even if they are from your customer pool.
- Review structure. The more details the better it is. Quality reviews Over Quantity reviews. This achieves 3 goals:
A. Google sees quality reviews as authentic and valuable.
B. Potential customers see quality reviews as authentic and valuable.
C. Use this as an opportunity for a beautiful testimonial and grassroots marketing.
Ask for the review you want. Even if it cuts down on conversions.
Hi ____, Please visit https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJrU7nop8vXIgRQY3GHkMRJJ4 and leave us a 5 star endorsement. Write at least 3 sentences if you don’t mind- more is even better! In your review, please be sure to include what needs we’ve helped you address, what we did to address them, what you were particularly impressed by , and why you’d recommend us to someone else. This is a great help to us, and we genuinely appreciate it. Thanks in advance, Pug
Anybody we don’t feel comfortable asking that level of review from isn’t a fit to leave us a great review in the first place.
When you visit a company’s review page and see mostly 5 star reviews without any text, does it really give the impression these people had a meaningful experience?
If we’re going to be selling professional services in online marketing, people we ask for reviews should be extra-understanding about us being pro about how we market ourselves.
We can even explain and use it as a chance to upsell - “ I know this sounds like a lot to ask for, but this is exactly what we advise our clients to ask for when cultivating their online presence, and quality review management plays a big role in that.”
REMEMBER: People read reviews. What do you want them to read about your business?