Seven Secret Weapons to Getting Reviews on Google Places, Yelp, and Other Business Review Sites


Amazon’s business model was a major game changer for the sales of books and now products. The approach was totally innovative on many levels, but it is likely that the most significant was the incorporation of reviews by rank amateurs into the mix. If you are like me, you have made decisions to buy or not buy a specific item on Amazon, purely on the basis of these reviews by average citizens.

The statistics bear this out. Just the existence of a review makes the likelihood of some kind of action double. Positive reviews are a major contributor to purchase decisions. And we all know how devastating a major negative review can be.

Over the past few years the amateur review has become a huge factor in the business of local search engine marketing for small companies. Reviews are driving the rankings of SMB’s in Google Places, the most critical advertising venue on the internet today. Yelp Reviews are so critical that local business owners have sued Yelp for their methods of “selecting” which reviews get shown and which get filtered out.

Shockingly, with all this emphasis on reviews, far more than half of the listings on Google Places show NO reviews at all. Many companies have negative reviews showing on Yelp or Google Places with no response, even though responses are possible. Certainly there are owners who are internet challenged or just too busy to take advantage of this form of free advertising. On the other hand, there may be many owners who are just too timid or humble to ask. Unfortunately, it is the unique business who finds reviews just popping up without any effort on management’s part. So here are seven actions to add to your to do list.

  1. Get over it. If you are providing good products and or services to your customers, many will be actually happy to help your business with a review. Not everyone. Some of your clients are internet dummies, too.
  2. Simply ask. Whoever has direct client interaction at your company should simply ask folks to provide a review or two or three. Some of them will likely let you know that they commonly review local companies they do business with.
  3. Provide a “kit.” Help those who need some help with a simple brochure that explains how to create and leave a review for you. Give very specific instructions on where to find the review area on each local search engine or directory. Let them know in advance if they will have to sign up or get an account in order to do a review.
  4. Request reviews on your blog. In fact, put up a standing request on your website, blog, Facebook, and anywhere else you have a presence online.
  5. Personal requests to best friends. Send out a personal letter or email to top clients and attach the instruction kit. Your best clients are the most likely to give you glowing reviews. Duh!
  6. Follow up. If folks promise you a review, don’t hesitate to ask later if they have done so. They may have been bogged down as to what to write or in how to get it on the site you requested. Even the best instructions sometimes don’t result in internet success.
  7. Thank those who perform. Some online business review sites discourage payment or discounts for reviews. But there is nothing wrong with a nice thank you after the fact. This thank you has more meaning if it includes a coupon or a nice gift. This, of course, also opens the door to ask for more reviews.

Bonus – Send out an email blast. If you have an email list (and if you don’t, you should), send out a request for reviews to the whole list. If you need help in preparing an email list or creating an email blast, two new tools for this task make things easier. ShoutDog and Ripple Effect are designed to help with all of these methods for increasing sales through reviews, but concentrate on the email effort. More on these companies can be found at

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