How to Get Google Review Stars & More Tips.


In order to have Google Review Stars to start showing up, you need to have five customers leave a review on your Google My Business page. Luckily for you, Google is making that process much easier for your customers, and doing more to encourage them to do so.

However, there’s more to the Google Review Stars than just getting a straight run of five-star reviews. Here are the top Google Review tips to make sure you use the review system to your advantage...

Never Offer Incentives for Positive Reviews

People can tell when reviews aren’t genuine. Not only that, it only takes one savvy customer to go against the grain and expose your incentive scheme in their review and boom – all the other five star reviews are invalidated in the eyes of your prospects. Not only that - Google doesn’t like it, and since your business depends on them for leads, it puts you in a precarious position.

Even if you presume that someone will only look at the star rating and not the review itself, it’s simply not worth the risk.

We can take an example to see just how damaging this practice can be:

In 2013 there was an enormous controversy with a smartphone game called Dungeon Keeper – the game was advertised as a fun "tower defense" romp, but was direly-boring unless the user purchased in-game currency (micro-transactions) in order to continue playing the exciting parts of the game. This tactic was scummy all by itself, but infamously, the app offered the user free and instant in-game currency if they left a 5 star review on the app store. Users who opted to leave anything but a 5 star review were taken out of the game to a complicated contact form, designed to discourage anything but perfect reviews.

The practice was so shady that ads for the app were banned and EA’s new mobile games are eyed suspiciously by users this day.

You Don’t Want a Perfect Score

No business is perfect and people know it. People generally react stronger to 4-star reviews or a middling 4.4 average rating, because they can immediately presume three things.

1. Enough people have left a review to have a decimal average on your page

2. The reviews are more likely to be balanced, honest and genuine

3. If they decided to read the reviews, they can expect a number of varied opinions that can help them make a decision


All of the above invite the user to enquire further into your business. A perfect 5.0 could be taken to mean that:

1. Only one person has left a review

2. The review could be in-genuine, or faked entirely

A 4.4 average rating isn’t perfect, yet the business is still highly rated and appears more genuine. Purely five-star reviews comes across as a little too good to be true. Resist the temptation to have your star ratings appear immediately by faking or incentivising reviews. Concentrate on providing excellent customer service and you can then concentrate on the next step.

Ask People for Honest Reviews

While you shouldn’t offer incentives, you can ask your customers to leave honest reviews about your business. Encourage them to share how they found your customer service, your products/service and their time within your business.

It may sound like you’re leaving the door open for negative reviews, but a negative review is the best opportunity to showcase your excellent customer service. Respond and do your best to make the reviewer feel satisfied. The important thing to remember here is that other potential customers will be reading this. You may not make an unsatisfied customer happy with your response, but you might convince an entirely different reader.

Asking for a review can be as simple as informing them either through a notice on your reception desk or through a thank you email/letter – but again, don’t incentivise for a good review.

To sum up, while its generally fine to offer a small incentive for leaving feedback, the key is to invite honest feedback. Not only will your customers provide genuine (and useful) feedback, they’ll offer the chance for you to showcase what makes your customer service so great, and make your business more attractive to Google users.

Google Review Tips will help you improve your overall marketing strategy, but a lot more is required to give your business the advantage over competitors.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.


Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

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16 Mar 2017 - 6 minute read
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