UPDATE, May 2015: As of April 2015, the only viable way to leave reviews for a business on iPhone is to go through the Google Maps app. This means that unless you have an approved marker in Google Map Maker for your physically located business, you won’t be able to get reviews from an iPhone.
Though you used to be able to send users a link from the desktop version of the About tab on your Google Business Page, this now seems to forward to Google Maps on iPhone.
It is advantageous to get positive Google reviews for your business. Businesses that get five or more Google reviews have a star rating that appears next to their search results. This makes the search result for your business stand out from your competitors. But it is confusing for customers to leave a Google review on iPhone, because the reviews are not where you would expect them to be. That is the second hurdle.
The first hurdle is: to get Google reviews for your business, you must have a Google Plus page for your business Google My Business). You can sign up for free over at https://www.google.com/business/. Once you have all your information up there, you can ask customers to leave a review after they transact with you. Sending them a follow-up email is a good way to do this. If you wait too long, say a week or longer to ask, the experience is no longer fresh in your customer’s mind and they are less likely to act.
Customers on a desktop browser can write a review from the About tab of your Google My Business page.
But for iPhone users, this tab does not appear in their browser. How can you get customers to leave Google reviews if they can’ access the About tab on their mobile browser?
There are two methods for getting users to leave a Google review on their iPhone, but both depend on you having a physical address saved to your My Business page. For storefront businesses, this is no big deal.
Neither one of these will work if you are an online only business or if you haven’t entered an address. Many online businesses or home offices simply rent a mailbox from the UPS Store (these addresses show up as suite numbers). This ensures that their business shows up on Google Maps if they don’t want people knowing where they reside. (Google checks against their Street View data to verify a physical address).
On iPhone, the easiest way to leave a Google review on iPhone is to install Google Maps from the App Store. Have customers search for your business and scroll down to the Rate and Review section.
There they can leave you a five-star rating and glowing review. Once they hit Publish, the review is simultaneously posted to your Google Business Page and Google Maps. Here’s a short video showing how this flow looks.
What if your customers don’t have Google Maps installed on their iPhone, or they don’t want to navigate the App Store? This second method requires some help on your end, because it’s unlikely that any sane customer would go through this process on their own to give any business an online review.
- 1. Go to Google Local at https://www.google.com/business/.
- 2. Search for your business.
- 3. Copy the URL from the browser bar.
- 4. Email this URL to your customer.
There are a few steps that your customers will have to do on their own at this point.
- 5. Your customer will have to go to their Google account in their mobile browser at https://accounts.google.com and sign in.
- 6. They can now follow the URL you mailed to them to the desktop version of your Google My Business Page.
- 7. There is a pencil icon in the top right corner of the box with your business information.
They should click that.
- 8. A modal window will pop up where they can rate, review and publish their review of your business.
This second method is a bit convoluted, but it can help your business get more positive reviews. These reviews help surface your business in local search results, which helps more people discover your service.
Getting Google Reviews For An Online Only Business On Mobile
Currently, the only way for customers to leave a Google review for businesses without a listed address is on a desktop browser. They can navigate to your Google My Business page and write a review under the About tab.
For now, it looks like Google is focusing on mobile-based check-ins and reviews for physically located businesses. If your business is online only, or based from a home office, consider getting a mailbox service so you can tie a physical address to your business.
How About Printing A Handout For Your Customers?
Whitespark.ca also has a free tool, the Review Handout Generator that allows you to enter your Google business information, and print up instructions on how to leave a review for your business, for mobile or desktop. One brick-and-mortar business that they worked with, which had never received a single review in 16 years, received four reviews in two weeks by simply printing up instructions and handing them to customers.
There are plenty of “white-hat” SEO methods you can use to get an advantage in local search if you make the extra effort, this is just one.