How to get local reviews and ratings

If you’re a well-known local business owner, one of your online goals should be getting more local reviews from your (satisfied) customers. These reviews or ratings help Google in determining the value of your company for their users. If you have a nice amount of four-star and five-star ratings, Google considers you a more valuable result on their search result pages, which contributes to better rankings for your site. In short, it improves your local SEO.

Today, we’ll dig a bit deeper into these local reviews and convince you to ask your customers for reviews.

Google and local reviews

First, let’s see what Google has to say about local reviews. On their review datatype page, they clearly state that Google may display information from aggregate ratings markup in the Google Knowledge Cards with your business’ details.

They state that they’re using the following review snippet guidelines:

  • Ratings and reviews must come directly from the users.
  • There is a difference between these user ratings and critic reviews (human editors that curate or compile ratings information for local businesses). That’s a different ball game.
  • Don’t copy reviews from Yelp or whatever other review site, but collect them from your users directly and display these on your site.

There is a clear focus on genuine reviews. Add name, position, photo and any other relevant, public information on the reviewer. That always helps in showing that your reviews are indeed genuine.

Ask your customers for a review in person

It’s really that simple: ask your customers for a review. Yelp may advise against this, Google promotes it (Source: SEL). I agree with Google on this. A friend of mine is in the coaching business and he asks his customers after finishing the coaching process to leave a review on his Google My Business page. This, plus obviously an optimized site, has helped him achieving a local #1 ranking.

It might feel a bit odd, to ask your customers for a positive review. However, I bet most of your customers will be more than happy to do this for you. It’s a small token of appreciation for your great service, product or your friendly staff. If you believe in your business, and you’re taking extra steps to help your customer, your customer will for sure leave that review for you. Especially in local businesses, where you know your customer and perhaps have been serving him or her for decades, just ask.

Ask your customers for local reviews online

Feel free to ask your customer for a review on your website, for example, right after a purchase. If a customer wanted your product so bad he or she made the purchase, they may be willing to leave a review about their shopping experience as well. Even a simple “How would you rate your experience with our company” could give you that local rating you want.


And why not leverage Twitter here? I find Twitter to work pretty decently for local purposes. There’s a separate ‘community’ of tweeps talking to each other on Twitter in our hometown. I’m sure most of them visit local stores. Not just that, but they’ll probably also have an opinion on these stores. And they might just be willing to share that opinion.


One of our local shops won a national award and a lot of locals congratulated the owners with this ‘very much deserved’ win on Facebook. How’s that for an opportunity to ask for Facebook reviews? Let me elaborate a bit on the Facebook reviews. These are local reviews as well! The Apple store on Fifth Avenue in NY has over 16,000 reviews already. Most good, some bad:

Local reviews on Facebook

Facebook is an awesome opportunity for any local business to get reviews. Don’t underestimate how many people search for your business on Facebook.

As mentioned in the section about Google and local reviews: “Don’t copy reviews from Yelp or whatever other review sites”. The same goes for these Facebook reviews. It’s very nice to get them, but leave them on Facebook (or use them in your offline print campaign) and get separate local reviews for your website.

Even negative reviews matter. Don’t feel bad when you get one, feel motivated!

Asking for reviews, for instance, right from your (support) email inbox, like in the signature of your email, might feel a bit strange at first. However, it will trigger your brand ambassadors to leave a review, after seeing that signature email after email. And yes, you will get some negative reviews as well from people that are not completely satisfied with your product or service. And you want these.

Negative reviews give you a chance to go beyond yourself in showing how customer-driven you are. They allow you to fix the issue this customer has. After fixing it, ask them to share the solution / their experience with your company, so others can see what you have done to turn that disappointed customer into a satisfied customer. Learn how to respond to online reviews of your business.

It’s your job to make your customer happy, and good reviews will follow. Speed up that process by asking your customers for their feedback!

Read more: The ultimate guide to small business SEO »

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11 Responses to How to get local reviews and ratings

  1. boyner indirim kodu
    boyner indirim kodu  • 3 years ago

    Great article thanks!

    Pinterest and Instagram are also good social platform!

  2. Anil Agarwal
    Anil Agarwal  • 3 years ago

    I think growing your presence on social media sites like Facebook, twitter, Instagram etc can help you a lot when it comes to increasing your local reviews.

    Instead of getting paid reviews, focus on users. Ask them to leave feedback about your stores and offer freebies in return.

    That’s how you can get better review ratings for your business online. Also make sure to analyze how your competitors are getting them so you can easily get better reviews.

    Great insights.

  3. Nick Leffler
    Nick Leffler  • 3 years ago

    I agree that negative reviews are an important piece of bettering your business. Hopefully with the right approach they don’t stick for long though.

    I always go through a 4-step process to fix the problem and hopefully also get the review increased from negative to at least neutral:

    1. Wait – Don’t get hasty and in the moment of the review reply in anger.
    2. Get clarification – Figure out what went wrong asking for clarification.
    3. Take it offline – Take the conversation offline from the review site onto a more personal method. This lets you get deeper into clarification and gives you the opportunity to resolve things.
    4. Ask for an update – After you’ve worked hard to listen, clarify, and fix the problem, ask the customer to update their review IF they’re satisfied with the resolution you’ve provided. If they’re not then start over with the steps :)

    The most difficult part is staying calm and not getting defensive and angry. I see people do this way too often with businesses and it’s horrible for business.

    • Michiel Heijmans

      Very nice additions, Nick. Thank you so much!

  4. Pikey Peter
    Pikey Peter  • 3 years ago

    Bad reviews matter – feel motivated…that’s easy to say but what do you do when you get an idiotic two word, 1 star google review from an account with just the one review? Flagging it in My Business appears to be ignored even though it clearly sticks out as being abnormal (based on other reviews)

    Google reviews need a stinking fish icon to allow both other users and business owners to mark these abnomolies as STINKERS!

    • Michiel Heijmans

      LOL! That would be great. Fishy perhaps, but great.

  5. Steve Horn
    Steve Horn  • 3 years ago

    I use Gravity forms to send my clients an easy, one-click submit-a-Google-Review email message. I will first alert them that this is coming, explain that this email will have a simple one-click link that takes them right to the Google Reviews page for my business. It’s a little tricky to set up at first but once done, it is a very efficient way to get Google reviews.

    You have to know how to get a permanent review link. This also takes a little knowledge of writing HTML for email, Gravity Forms (other form plugins should also work), and of course, your WordPress website.

    • Dave
      Dave  • 3 years ago

      I’ve been trying to figure out a direct/ permanent google review link but it still eludes me, any pointers in nailing this down?

      • Michiel Heijmans

        First, ask if they know what a Google review is. Second, ask for a review. I found that a lot of people simply have no clue. It pays to explain the use of these reviews first. After that, simply point them to your My Business page and explain where to leave that review for you.

  6. Jason
    Jason  • 3 years ago

    I’ve found my service professionals get reviews when via their business card. At the end of the job they hand their business card with a link to their but I have had those that text over the same url with great success as well. Generally an in person invitation with some follow up works best.

  7. Matt
    Matt  • 3 years ago

    Great Post. Reviews are a Huge CTR Point for local in the Maps also in addition to ranking factor.