When you first sign up with Meet Rex, one of the first things you need to do is set up your review links. In this article, I’ll share some general guidelines, as well as specific tips for individual review sites.
Where should review links lead?
The main goal when entering review links in Rex is to make writing a review as convenient as possible. In the ideal case, your customer only needs to click the link and can start typing right away. The more effort is needed to write a review, the more likely it is that no review will be posted at all. So if your goal is to get more reviews on Zillow, don’t link to https://zillow.com or https://www.zillow.com/lender-profile/YourCompanyName/, but to https://www.zillow.com/mortgage/lender-review/?screenName=YourCompanyName. After all, if you make it difficult for your happy customer, she or he may not be so happy once they finally find the review form! Similarly, Facebook links should go to https://www.facebook.com/pg/YourCompanyName/reviews/.
Do the same review links work on mobile devices?
If you send out review requests via both text and email, it’s important to make sure your links work on all devices. With most sites, you can trust that pages will display correctly, although it’s always a good idea to make sure. However, one site makes it a bit more difficult than others to find the right link for your review requests. Yes, I’m talking about you, Google!
Google likes it complicated
For most review sites, you can just navigate to the page you want to link to, copy the URL, and you’re done. As the examples above show, those URLs are usually pretty straightforward. Not so with Google. The search giant from Mountain View likes to push the boundaries of how much information a URL can hold, while making sure barely anyone can understand what that information actually is. For example, this is the URL for the Meet Rex review page: https://www.google.com/search?q=meet+rex+shoreview&rlz=1C1CHBD_enUS801US801&oq=meet+rex+shoreview&aqs=chrome..69i57.2446j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#lrd=0x52b32903677c6da5:0x7a46c21a7050db7f,3,,,. Now some of that certainly makes sense, some of it seems redundant, and some of it is incomprehensible (why the three commas at the end?)
How to link to your Google review page
Why does it matter that navigating to a review page gives us an obscure URL? Because that URL doesn’t work on mobile devices! A better way to get a Google review link would be to ask Google directly. This page will help: Copy the link template https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=<place_id>, find your business on the map and replace <place_id> with your actual place ID.
If you use Chrome as your web browser, you could also use the Chrome extension called GatherUp, which makes it dead easy to get a Google review link that works on desktop and mobile devices. You use it by searching a business on Google or Google Maps and clicking the extension’s icon, which opens a new screen with two links: a “Google Maps URL” and a “Google Write a Review URL”. The second one is a perfect link for use in Rex, because it works across browsers and devices. When we try it out from the Meet Rex page that I linked to in the previous paragraph, we get: http://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJpW18ZwMps1IRf9tQcBrCRno. Now that’s a pretty URL!
A word about Yelp
Yelp takes itself very seriously and wants to make sure only the best reviews are visible online – although their definition of “best” may be different from yours. In any case, Yelp likes removing reviews, so don’t be surprised when you have a nice Yelp review from a happy customer one day, only to find it has been removed the next day. Yelp even actively discourages businesses from asking for reviews.
Some businesses think Yelp would treat them better if only they paid money for Yelp ads (sounds like a pretty abusive relationship, right?) A study found that is not the case, though: Buying Yelp ads won’t help against disappearing reviews. And keep in mind: Yelp won’t go away unless businesses stop using their paid advertising.
Is it worth linking to Yelp? It can be, but ask yourself this: If you were looking for the service you sell, where would you look for reviews? Chances are, Yelp doesn’t top that list.