Can you ask for Google reviews?
Can you ask for Google reviews? Yes, you can ask for Google reviews as long as you don’t solicit reviews in bulk, pay for reviews, or gate reviews.
Google’s policies do allow you to ask for Google reviews. But there are a few caveats.
You can ask for Google reviews
Google’s policy specifically states you can ask for Google reviews. In fact, Google even encourages you to do so.
However, Google policy also restricts certain activities when you ask for Google reviews.
Who can you ask for Google reviews?
You can ask for Google reviews only from customers. Google’s policies disallow reviews from business owners, employees, or even friends of customers.
Where can you ask for Google reviews?
Technically, you can ask for Google reviews from any location, but Google might filter out reviews as fake if they come from the same machine.
We generally recommend that you not use a tablet or computer as a “kiosk” to ask for Google reviews. That’s because Google may think the reviews are fake if lots of reviews from different people come from the same machine’s IP address.
Although Google currently doesn’t claim this as an official policy violation, they have in the past, and might again in the future. Also, various marketing agencies have reported that they still experience incidents where their clients get filtered based on IP address.
So the safest policy is to ask your customers to review your business from anywhere, so long as they leave the review from their own personal smartphone, tablet, or computer.
How can you ask for Google reviews and get results?
You can get the best marketing results from Google reviews by maximizing review quantity, quality, and recency. Check out our ultimate guide on how to get Google reviews for more details.
Maximize quantity by automating your process. Automation lets you reach out to every customer, rather than just a small percentage of customers. Our system can automate review marketing for you, including sending review requests, sending follow-up messages, managing opt outs, and other tedious manual tasks.
Maximize quality by asking customers for a private rating before you ask for a Google review. If the private rating is negative, then your job isn’t done yet. Fix the customers problems and make them as happy as possible before then asking for a Google review. Our system also automates collecting feedback before asking for a review, so you can boost your star rating.
The “recency” of your reviews is also very important. Customers trust recent reviews over old reviews.
Make sure you always have recent reviews by reaching out to customers as soon after you close business with them as possible. Do this daily or weekly. Don’t wait until the end of each month.
You can’t ask for Google reviews in bulk
Google’s policy specifically forbids asking for reviews in bulk.
In other words, it’s OK to ask for reviews on a daily or weekly basis, but don’t blast thousands of past customers with review requests all at once.
If you do ask for reviews in bulk and Google sees a sudden sharp increase in reviews, you may find your reviews get filtered out by Google. That’s because Google sees a sudden spike in reviews as a strong indication that the reviews may be fake.
We recommend asking customers for Google reviews immediately after concluding business with each customer. When you ask immediately, their memories are still fresh and their emotions are still strong. And strong emotions significantly increase your conversion rates.
You can’t pay reviewers
Google expressly forbids paying for reviews.
Even though Google’s policy specifically refers to “money,” you should also avoid offering any kind of compensation at all. No coupons, special discount offers, or any other kinds of compensation.
That’s because regulatory bodies like the FTC and other regional regulators often prohibit “undisclosed paid endorsements.” Regulators’ definition of “paid” typically includes any kind of compensation, not just money. So you put your business at risk if you promise compensation in return for reviews.
Having said that, it is OK to offer a customer “thank you” compensation after the customer writes a review, as long as the customer didn’t have the expectation of any compensation at the time when they wrote the review.
For more details, check out our article on buying Google reviews.
You can’t gate reviews
In 2018, Google changed its policy to prohibit review gating—the practice of only attempting to get positive reviews, and not also attempting to get negative reviews.
This policy is ethically questionable, since Google is attempting dictating how local businesses are allowed to communicate with their own customers. However, we believe it is also legally enforceable.
See our article on Google’s review gating policy for recommendations on how to comply with the policy while also minimizing the damage to your business.