You might already know that a majority of customers are more likely to visit a local business that has positive reviews. Whether you are selling online or offline, showing customers’ reviews and opinions always helps boost your branding strategy.
Managing an online business takes so much time and effort. There are no real shortcuts around it. However, you can find some ways to take advantage of universal platforms like Google to broaden your business exposure—Google Marketing Kit, Google My Business, Google Places Reviews, to name a few.
In this article, I am showing you how to add Google Places Reviews to a WordPress website. Combined with other marketing best practices, I hope you can use them to enhance your brand presence on the Internet and increase recurring sales.
Let’s get started!
Understand Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is formerly known as Google Local and Google Places. It is your business listing on Google to connect with your customers via various GMB features.
When optimized carefully, your business can show up nicely on Google Searches, Google Knowledge Graph, Google Local Pack, Google Maps, and more.
Business owners can access their Google business info and edit all details, including description, overview, photos, posts, about, directions, etc.
Explore your Google Business Reviews
With that being said, before you can edit details about your business, you have to claim your Google My Business page by signing in GMB.
You will have to verify your business place with the business phone number or address. Don’t worry; this process is simple, and you just enter all the necessary information that Google requires.
Some initial details you need to prepare:
- Business name and category.
- Address of the business location.
- Your business website.
- Phone number or personal contact details.
After getting your business location or contact verified, you have successfully claimed your Google My Business profile.
It is like the “back-end” of your online business, where you can manage all information under these menus. Here you can view and reply to your business reviews.
In the GMB dashboard, you can easily navigate to the Photos menu to change your main logo and cover photo. These are what appear first on your storefront, so make sure you choose the most bespoke images for your store. These best free photo stocks might be of great value when you need attractive images for your online shop banner.
You can also enhance your business exposure by adding videos and improve other aspects to make your store stand out on Google search result pages.
Now that you know where the Google business reviews are stored, we will move on to how to connect with Google Cloud API to showcase the Google Places Reviews on a WordPress website.
Create a Google Cloud Platform Account
Get started by creating a Google Cloud Platform account. You can use individual email or business email. Google has made it easy for anyone to start.
Add Google Cloud Billing Account
Important: Beginning June 11, 2018, you have to set a Google Cloud Platform billing account to access Google core products. It helps Google know you take this business seriously.
So please go to My Billing Accounts to see if you’ve already had one from your earlier activities and projects.
Click Add Billing Account if you haven’t already.
Please prepare info for Google’s required fields:
- First name.
- Last name.
- Contact email.
- Phone number.
- Your currently closed billing account ID (if any, when you have one and it’s not active right now)
Please note, to ensure you are the authorized account owner of the billing method you have provided, Google will ask you to upload an image of your credit card, debit card, or account statement.
Don’t panic; this will not expose your sensitive information; just follow their guidelines thoroughly. You only need to present your full name on the card and the last 4 digits of your card number. You can also use your fingers or an image editor to cover all the rest if you want.
When your new billing account is added successfully, you will see its status as Active. You might add multiple billing accounts for different projects.
Be sure you have at least one active billing account before moving on to the next step.
Get Google Places API Key
Please log in to your Cloud Platform account and click Google Maps, or you can directly go to Google Maps Platform and click Get Started.
Next step, you will be asked which APIs you want to enable. Please tick to choose Maps and Places, then click Enable.
Quick note: If you are wondering about the based on usage billing, Google Cloud gives each account an amount of $200 monthly use. The usage of Google Places Reviews display for local businesses always keeps you within this free tier, meaning you don’t have to pay for Google Cloud services to insert these reviews into your online store’s WordPress website.
For the next questions, just choose the most applicable option to your business or situation. In the 3rd query, I’m choosing Business Listing because it fits most with my purpose.
By clicking Next, the Google Maps Platform is enabled for your business right away. You will see a new API Key is created. Additionally, you may want to click to go to API Console to restrict this Key’s usage, or simply click Done to get it all set.
Quick Tip: You can always find the way back to restrict your API Keys in Google Maps Platform > Credentials.
In order to set restrictions for each API Key, just click Edit and select to accept requests from your server IP addresses.
When done with security improvement, you can easily click the Copy icon next to each API Key to copy the Key you will be using on your WordPress site.
Add Google Places Reviews to WordPress
To display Google Places Reviews on your WordPress website, you will need a third-party plugin to help you connect the site with your Google Cloud services.
In this guide, I use the Google reviews pro WordPress plugin, which allows me to select multiple business locations, filter 5-star reviews, and generate shortcodes to insert in any pages or posts.
You can visit their website and check out the demo to see if that’s what you need before making a purchase.
Set Up the Google Reviews Plugin
Now that you’ve successfully installed the plugin to your website, a new menu, Google Reviews, is added to your WordPress dashboard. Please find Settings > General and paste the Google Places API Key that you’ve just copied from the previous step. Then click Save Changes.
Add your business location settings.
Then, head over to the sub-menu Locations to add your business location.
There are two methods to pick your business location:
- Add Location.
- Add Place ID.
To manually add location, you have to type your business name along with its address. Then you select the right location from the resulting drop-down and click Save Changes.
There are some cases that you don’t see your business appear in the suggested results, or you are not quite sure that’s the one. Using Place ID instead is much recommended. It is a great way to make sure you have exactly chosen your business location.
Please visit Place ID Finder. You will see an embedded Google Maps that lets you search for your business address or pinpoint the location. When you click on that location, you will see its Google Place ID as an alphanumeric string.
Then you go back to WordPress and paste that Place ID in Locations.
After clicking Save Changes, this is what you expect when your business location is added successfully.
You then can access the Shortcode and generate a new one for the updated location.
Many options for the shortcode including:
- Filter reviews based on their ratings.
- Set the number of reviews.
- Set the length of the displayed reviews.
- Design a box with shadow and a carousel.
- Set single or double columns.
Display Google Places Reviews in a Page/Post
You can paste the generated shortcode in the post editor like this.
Once published, you will have a list of favorable reviews with the type of design you like best. You can go back to the shortcode anytime and edit its appearance however you want.
It is how Google Places Reviews display on the front-end from my own settings.
Add Google Places Reviews or Business Badge in Widgets
Multiple available widgets allow you to showcase them on the sidebar or the footer.
Just drag and drop it to the position you want. They come with many styling options to fine-tune it to your taste and shop branding.
I would prefer the reviews showcase on the sidebar like this. It looks catchy and appealing just the way I want.
Well done! If you follow this tutorial step by step, you must have known how to display Google Places Reviews anywhere on your WordPress website or WooCommerce product pages.
If you were a fresh entrepreneur, you need to attract more reviews for the shop’s products or services. Here are some alternative ways to help.
Invite Your Customers to Write Google Reviews
Add Write a Review Button to a WordPress Website
It’s easy to enable a review button in the Google reviews WordPress plugin. Navigate to Google Reviews > Shortcode > Design; you can turn the button on and add your own text to ask for reviews.
To use this button in widgets, go to Appearance > Widgets, add the Google Place Reviews widget to the sidebar or footer. Here you can also customize the button text just like in the shortcode section above.
Send Email to Ask for Customer Reviews
Imagine that you are running a brick and mortar retailer; you’re not just sitting there and waiting for the customers to revisit you, right? You must ask them to come back.
Or if you know someone out there is window shopping, invite them in.
Yes, that is exactly what you’re supposed to do with your online business. For instance, you are running a WooCommerce-based store, instead of calling out to shoppers, now you send them customized emails.
Install the YayMail Plugin
YayMail is a WooCommerce email customizer to help you do just that. It is a plugin to extend WooCommerce features by adding a drag and drop email builder.
Customize WooCommerce Emails
Try sending a personal note thanking them for their purchase and, by the way, asking for a review. You can start your email with a headline like this – Your feedback means a lot to us!
I know you can do much better than me, so I will leave the written content part on your copywriting creativity.
Add a Button With Your Review Link
How about the button element? I’m going to show you exactly how to create a Google review link that works anywhere on the Internet, and of course, extremely useful in your email call-to-action button
Let’s access the Place ID Finder to get your Place ID; copy and paste it along in the following link:
Then insert the link to your button, and you’re good to go.
So you might be asking what your customers will see when they click on that write review link? (Hey, try it for yourself!)
Well, it will redirect the customer to Google search results along with your Google Local Pack.
On top of that, it comes with a popup dedicated to Google review sharing.
Here’s how the user screen looks like when they open the link.
This well-designed popup helps the customer easily set the rating, share their own opinion, and even add images to storytelling their experience with your products and services.
Online shopping is taking the front seat this year. It’s been the most effective conversion-driven channel for most retailers.
When it comes to creating the perfect image for your store, showcasing favorable reviews should be placed at the top of your priority list. While Yelp reviews are ideal for F&B products and entertainment services, Google Places Reviews are helpful for all kinds of businesses.
Whether your online shop is just local-based or aims to go global, Google My Business and Places reviews will always come in handy.
If you are developing digital strategies for the upcoming year, don’t forget to invest in adding Google reviews to a WordPress website. That is a future-proof and rewarding setup.
Should you have other creative marketing tactics, don’t hesitate to leave comments or contribute to our blog!
Thanks for reading!