This article does not address reputation management or responding to negative reviews.

Reviews on Google+ Business Listings (formerly Google Places) are one of many factors that help push local businesses higher in pin map listings. Google has been known to import reviews from third party review sites, and obtaining reviews on these sites can sometimes help boost rankings as well.

Make Sure You Have Validated Your Google+ Business Listing

If you have not yet created (or claimed your existing) Google+ Business Listing, either create one here, or find for your company’s Google+ Business Listing and click on Manage This Page, then follow the directions:

Understand And Follow The Google+ User Guidelines When Obtaining Reviews

Google will penalize businesses for trying to cheat the system. Always read Google’s guidelines and user content policies before soliciting reviews.

  • Never post fake reviews
  • Never post reviews yourself, even if they are real testimonials from real customers
  • Do not use one account to post multiple reviews
  • Have real customers use their existing gmail and other email accounts to post real reviews

Google wants real reviews from real people. Ask your satisfied customers to post real reviews from their accounts. Reviews should be added slowly over time, by real people, from different computers, all in a natural way. Any other method is likely to be seen by Google as an attempt to cheat the system. You could have the reviews removed, or worse be penalized.

Two ways to make it easy for customers to post reviews are:
1. Send them the link directly to the page you want them to post the review on
2. Create a page on your site that links to your listings on all the review sites that you want your customers to post reviews on. For example:www.rottmanplasticsurgery.com/reviews/. This way, you can just send customers the link and they can go directly to the review sites.

Encourage Reviews To Be Posted On Third Party Review Sites That Google Imports Into Google+

In their effort to improve their users’ experiences, Google sometimes imports reviews from third party sites into Google+ Business listings. These sites differ by industry. For example, Google imports hotel reviews from Zagat.com, and restaurant reviews from UrbanSpoon.com, and apartment reviews from ApartmentRatings.com.

Which third party sites Google uses changes often. Look on your Google+ Buisness listing page to see which third party review sites Google is currently partnering with:

After you have enough positive reviews on your Google+ business listing page to set the impression you want, then you can move to encourage happy customers to review your business on third party review sites.

  • Check your Google+ business listings and others in your industry to see which sites Google is paying attention to (see image above)
  • Read and understand the review guidelines of those third party sites
  • Send your happy customers the link directly to your listing on the third party review site to make it easy for them to post a review

Conclusion

Google takes reviews very seriously. Do not damage your reputation with Google by violating their guidelines. A long term program of getting good reviews will help represent your business online and help with your rankings.