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You likely have heard of Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). GBP is a free platform where your business is verified so that you may claim and optimize your GBP listing.

If you own a business, creating this profile is the first step. Get started at

Once your listing is verified and published by Google, you can begin to collect reviews. With the prevalence of hackers and illegitimate companies, Google’s requirements to post your listing are more stringent than ever. It’s worth the effort, however. Think of it as your best free SEO (at least for now). 

Google reviews represent to Google that your business is authentic, and the number of legitimate reviews received can improve your rankings. Here are tips to respond to reviews and to avoid having your Google reviews penalized:

  1. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google listing. Google will assign you a unique URL to share with customers to obtain reviews. Admins on your account can access your URL to share. THIS IS THE URL YOU WANT TO GIVE YOUR CLIENTS. See below for information on potential violations you want to avoid.
  •  You can offer this URL in several ways, including a QR code that you can use on business cards and other marketing materials. You may also share that link through email or social media.
  • Set up alerts for new reviews and respond to every review, both positive and negative. Ideally, respond to reviews within 24-48 hours. Be kind and concise; lengthy responses can deter readers. Responding demonstrates your commitment to customer service and engagement.
  • Maintain a polite and professional tone in your responses. Thank them, express your enjoyment in working with them, and use keywords for your business in your response if you can do so naturally and sensibly. For example, include keywords such as your services, location, or products.
  • Negative reviews are inevitable for most businesses, as you will never please everyone. When addressing negative feedback, acknowledge the issue, apologize for any inconvenience, and offer a resolution if possible. Plus, anyone reading the review can see additional information you provide about the transaction. Responding promptly, fairly, and kindly as possible may turn a negative experience into a positive one.
  • If you get an inappropriate review or one that violates Google’s policies (e.g., spam, offensive content, or unrelated to your business), report it for removal.
  • If a customer initially leaves a negative review, but you resolve the issue to their satisfaction, kindly ask them to update their review to reflect the positive outcome. You cannot delete Google reviews, but your clients can edit or delete reviews that they submit. Google may delete reviews that are verified to be fraudulent.

Avoid Violations

Posting fake positive reviews or trying to manipulate your review ratings can lead to severe consequences, including having your Google listing removed or penalized.

Always encourage genuine feedback from real customers.

Why Review Gating is Controversial

In 2018, Google stated in its policies: “Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.”

In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission released its own guidelines regarding online customer reviews.

Also in 2022, Google renamed Google My Business to Google Business Profile and users managed profiles through Google Maps. At that time, their policies no longer specified the language above.

Some interpreted this omission that there was no longer a penalty for review gating.

However, as of the publication of this guide, current Google policies explicitly address fake engagement and deceptive content and behavior for businesses.

“Contributions to Google Maps should reflect a genuine experience at a place or business. Fake engagement is not allowed and will be removed.

This includes:

  • Paying, incentivising or encouraging the posting of content that does not represent a genuine experience.
  • Discouraging or prohibiting negative reviews, or selectively soliciting positive reviews from customers.
  • Content that is not based on a real experience and does not accurately represent the location or product in question.
  • Content that has been incentivized by a business in exchange for discounts, free goods and/or services. This includes merchant requests for revision or removal of a negative review through offered discounts, free goods or services, or other incentives.
  • Content that has been posted by a competitor to undermine a business or product’s reputation.
  • Content that has been posted from multiple accounts to manipulate a place’s rating.
  • Content that has been posted using an emulator or other device tampering service, modified operating system, or other method to mimic genuine engagement, manipulate sensor data or results, or otherwise thwart or confuse normal operations.”

Source: Google’s Policy on Fake Engagement.

Review gating manipulates a business’s online reputation. Platforms like Google and Yelp have policies against these practices, encouraging businesses to collect reviews organically. Attempts to filter out negative reviews or selectively direct customers to leave positive reviews may lead to penalties or the removal of all reviews, ultimately impacting the credibility of your business and website.

My professional opinion is review gating manipulates a business’s online reputation. With platforms like Google and Yelp creating policies against these practices, I will NOT encourage my clients to participate in review gating.

The best practice is to treat all customer feedback equally and not to influence the process of leaving reviews based on their sentiment. Encouraging genuine feedback is an ethical and sustainable approach to managing online reviews.

What is Review Gating?

leaving a google review on mobile phone


The Latest

You have poured your heart, soul, and countless cups of coffee into your small business. You turned your passion into a daily hustle and took your leap of faith into the business world.

You’re not just a business owner; you’re a dream chaser, a risk-taker.

But you’re missing out if your potential clients don’t know about the magic you’re weaving behind the scenes.

It’s time for authentic, heartwarming, and conversion-boosting tales that showcase how you transformed clients into loyal fans.

The Significance of Testimonials

Testimonials play a pivotal role in the success of your business. Why? They provide valuable information that future clients need to decide whether they want to work with you.

Approximately 9 out of 10 clients read online reviews before choosing a service or product. Further, 87% of people use Google to research local businesses.

Testimonials (aka social proof) are more than words on a page—they are your brand’s best trust-building and credibility tools.

Another perk is receiving valuable feedback on how your business is perceived. Do you need to change your services, processes, or staff? Can you implement changes that will enhance efficiency? What can you continue to do or invest in to provide the best client experience?

Feedback from your clients bridges the gap between uncertainty and confidence, so you connect with your ideal clients.

Choosing the Right Questions

To collect compelling testimonials, you need ask the right questions. Your questions should resonate with both your business and your clients.

Here are a few sample questions to consider for your testimonial requests:

  • What made our business stand out to you and persuade you to choose our company?
  • How has our service improved your life or business?
  • What specific results or outcomes have you experienced since working with us?
  • What was your favorite part about working with us?
  • What do you wish we had done differently for you?
  • What would you say to your best friend if they were looking for our services or products?

Looking for more testimonial ideas? Download my free guide “The Art of Testimonials!”

Types of Testimonial Requests

There are various ways to collect testimonials, including:  

  1. Immediately After Sale

Leverage the client’s excitement right after a sale to request a review or feedback.

  • Email Automation

Set up email automation for testimonial requests. Automation benefits both you and the client. You can time the email based on the sale or service, ensuring clients can respond at their convenience.

  • QR Codes

Add QR codes to invoices, thank-you cards, business cards, and more. These codes can lead clients to a survey or your authentic Google Review link on your Google Business Profile.

  • Text Messages

Send personalized text messages asking for reviews. Timing is key; send the request soon after the experience before enthusiasm wanes.

  • Surveys

Include testimonial requests in post-purchase or post-service surveys. This is particularly helpful if you are gathering data about a specific service or looking to learn more about the overall experience.

  • Video Testimonials

Many clients are comfortable and prefer video testimonials to share their feedback. Companies like Boast, Testimonial Hero, and Storyprompt offer video testimonial services (no affiliation). Plus, you can provide clients with questions in advance to guide the conversation.

  • Social Media Engagement

Engage your audience by sharing success stories and asking for testimonials during specific campaigns.

  • Google Reviews

Google Reviews are one of the most vital forms of social proof you can have. Request reviews using your unique Google Review link to ensure authenticity. Be sure to adhere to Google’s policies—read here for more on review gating.

Creating Impactful Testimonial Snippets

To make the most of your testimonials, consider transforming them into concise, impactful snippets. These snippets are like movie trailers for your brand, leaving readers wanting more while conveying your service’s value and satisfaction.

  • Identify Key Messages: Begin by identifying the core messages within the testimonial. What is the main point or sentiment the customer is expressing? Look for phrases that resonate with your brand’s values, strengths, and unique selling points.
  • Highlight Specifics: Select specific details that showcase the tangible benefits of your product or service. Focus on measurable results, such as time saved, money earned, or problems solved. Specifics make your testimonials more convincing.
  • Craft a Headline: Compelling headlines or taglines encapsulating the testimonial’s essence can be impactful. Make it concise and capture the reader’s attention immediately.
  • Emphasize Emotional Impact: If the testimonial contains an emotional element, don’t overlook it. Emotions resonate with readers and create an authentic connection.
  • Keep It Brief: Aim for brevity. Snippets should be short and to the point. In most cases, one to two sentences are sufficient to convey the testimonial’s message.
  • Add Visuals: Accompany the snippet with relevant visuals or images that enhance the message. Visual content increases engagement and makes your testimonial shareable on social media.
  • Consistency is Key: Maintain a consistent style for your testimonials. Use the same font, color scheme, and design elements for a cohesive look across your website or social media.
  • A/B Testing: Consider running A/B tests to see which snippets resonate most with your audience. Testing helps you refine your approach over time.

Types of Testimonials

Once you receive information from your client and you’ve selected snippets, choose the type of testimonial that will showcase your brand’s value the best.

Some types of testimonial options include:

  • Customer Success Stories: Share real stories of clients who achieved outstanding results with your service, illustrating your value.
  • Video Testimonials: Capture satisfied clients’ authentic emotions and experiences through video, offering a more engaging and personal touch.
  • Written Testimonials: Traditional written testimonials in text form are easily showcased on your website and in marketing materials.
  • Case Studies: Dive deep into specific client experiences, highlighting their challenges and your service’s solutions.
  • Before & After Testimonials: Emphasize the transformation your offering has brought to your clients’ lives or businesses.
  • Social Media Testimonials: Collect positive mentions and feedback from social media platforms, reflecting real-time interactions with your brand.
  • Expert Opinions: Obtain testimonials from industry experts who can speak to the quality and significance of your offerings from their professional perspective.

Testimonials are your secret weapon for authentic insights into the real-world experiences of working with you and boosting your business’s reputation.

Tips for Collecting Testimonials


tips for testimonials

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 background & credentials

I created TBW to help small businesses find the right words and website platform to create a sustainable website presence.

After launching in 2020, it became clear that my clients often need more than website copy and content—they also need an affordable, effective website solution between DIY website builders that don't perform and custom websites that are expensive (and rightly so!). 

So I expanded my copywriting business to include website design as an add-on to website copywriting, so you can maximize your marketing dollars. 

Hi, I'm Angel Evitts.

 the bonus writer

founder of the bonus writer