Use This Link to Ask For Google Reviews on Mobile (& the Desktop)

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Now that Google has finally updated their mobile browser display and is, after a very long hiatus, allowing users to leave reviews on Android and iOS mobile browsers, the question arises of how to best direct your customers to leave a review. What is the best link to share with them so that they can leave you a review?

In days past, giving them your Google+ URL, perhaps even your "custom Google+ URL," worked well on the desktop. If you appended the modifier "?hl=en&review=1" it would even automatically open the review box for the user. Some folks, in an effort to provide a mobile solution, did a Google+ Local search and presented that URL for users. Neither solution works any longer.

The simplest link you can provide now that works on both the desktop AND on most mobile browsers is a link to a search on Google that returns the Knowledge Panel for your business. Depending on a number of factors it could be something as simple as https://www.google.com/#q=barbara+oliver or if you have multiple locations in a given area something more specific like: https://www.google.com/search?q=uncle+bob's+8161+main+st+williamsville or https://www.google.com/search?q=uncle+bob%27s+(716)+632-7796.

It would appear that there is a bug in the presentation at Google and that if a location has NO reviews, then the mobile interface offers no opportunity to leave a review using the above URL. How weird is that.

This URL gets people to a search result with the link that says "Write a review" presented front and center on the desktop. In the case of mobile, it requires the user to be more proactive and click the "more info" icon and scroll several windows to get the area where it says "rate and review." Even though the mobile prompts are not totally obvious, it is significantly easier to leave a mobile review now than it has been for the past three years. Some worry that Google filters reviews based on the referral URL and if your URL takes a user directly to the review box to leave a review, that it is more likely to be filtered as a spammy review by them. If you are someone who does worry about that then this search based approach to generating a URL should alleviate your concerns.

Is there a single URL that will get users even closer to where they need to be? Yes!

It is now possible to use the link that results from clicking on the "write a review" choice and it will direct users to the listing AND automatically open the review box if they are logged in. If they are not logged in, it will request login and and then take the user to leave the review. And this link works on both the desktop and mobile and across every browser I have tried so far. It looks like: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=Barbara+Oliver+&lrd=0x89d37487dfb1ea75:0x2daea2d3b6aa10c7,2. Essentially it is the query + the FID and a ",2" to open the review box. Note that the one time this link doesn't work and provides no messaging is if the searcher is using private browsing mode on the iPhone.

Update 1/6/16: With recent changes by Google the above link no longer works if the user isn't logged in. I would suggest using https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=Barbara+Oliver+&lrd=0x89d37487dfb1ea75:0x2daea2d3b6aa10c7,1 as the preferred link. It replaces the ",2" with a ",1" and then as some of the commenters noted using Google's URL shortener (goo.gl) to shorten it to something like: https://goo.gl/QhZdcZ. This works both logged in or not and takes the user to the review shadow box but requires that they click on the write a review link.

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On mobile that link will take the user here:

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It isn't difficult to generate the URL, but it seems -- at least on the Macintosh -- to require the use of Chrome and not Safari. Here are instructions:

47 Responses to “Use This Link to Ask For Google Reviews on Mobile (& the Desktop)”

  1. Great information Mike. Thanks for sharing the examples!

  2. Mike, this isn’t working for me. The links just open to what looks like a query on the business name. I tried on my desktop and on my phone. Same thing. Like they say, Google is a moving target.

  3. Thanks Mike, this is great! One minor difference I’m seeing… in the video, your screenshot shows the business name at the top of the review box. When I set up these links for several locations, I’m just seeing the business address at the top of the review box (on desktop), followed by the Rate it and Describe your experience options. The business name does not appear. I do get the business name if I go to their G+ page and click “Write a review” from there.

    I’m wondering if you are now getting the same results, or if I can to tweak my process somehow to get the name to appear using the technique described in these videos.

    • Mike Blumenthal July 9, 2015 at 4:57 pm Reply

      @Ira
      That is new. I have been playing with this off and on since the first of May and only just now has the name of the business disappeared from the top of the review box, for me as well. That is disappointing but so it goes with Google.

  4. Thanks for the article. Will test it through.
    I wasn’t able to get the review option to appear on any Danish listings, after pressing “more”. Using Nexus 5 and chrome.

    Andreas Sihm
  5. @andreas
    I have just had confirmation from Germany that it is working there… which link above did you try?

  6. What is the FID and where can I find it?

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    • Lars
      The FID is a listing’s fixed ID. This replaced a listings CID or cluster ID. The former is static although done in a hash of some sort so it can be changed easily in the forward facing view. The only place I have seen this FID associated with the listing is in MapMaker.

  7. Thanks Mike!

    What a super duper useful hack for local businesses in particular.

    I’ve been looking for a way to make leaving reviews on Google easier, with less friction, for the user. This is it!!

  8. Great tip! Thanks for this!

  9. @Vee & Alisha

    Thanks. Please let me know how it works and if you run into any snags. I am looking for exceptions.

  10. If you put ,1 at the end instead of ,2 it takes you to the review box with all the reviews that have already been written. Could be a good option for those businesses that want to say “hey leave us a review, oh and by the way look at all the other awesome ones others have left before you write yours”.

  11. Mike,

    I’ve been playing around with MapMaker but without success. I couldn’t find a way to retrieve the FID for a local business. It would be great if you (or someone else) could post an example/step-by-step description of how to get this ID.

    AdvoAd
  12. Thank goodness – what a pain I had trying to explain to a client how to leave a Google + review!.. a direct link is super useful.. Thanks – I appreciate your work Mike..

  13. Thanks, Mike. I just tried it and the URL I came up with ended in 0,7. It works on my laptop and on my Android phone, but not on my wife’s iPad (opening via the Gmail app) or on my Nexus tablet. Nor did it work pasting the link into Safari on the iPad. Any ideas?

  14. @rich
    Google changes each browser display in its own timeframe and I didn’t bother to check the link on tablets as I didn’t think of them and I don’t have ready access to them. But it makes sense.

    We can only hope that the feature soon rolls across those browsers and Google Now as well. Not much to suggest other than wait.

    Are you able to leave a review at all in the browser? Based on what you said I assume no but….

    the 0 is I think a country code. What country are you in?

  15. Thanks, Mike. I’m in the US. Not sure what you mean by “are you able to leave a review at all in the browser” but the review box pops up on desktop and my phone, just not on the tablets.

    • @rich I don’t have a tablet so you have to hear with me.

      If you are in Safari on the iPad and you do a search for a business and you are presented with the Local One Box, are you able to click into the One Box and leave a review at all?

      Up until early June most mobile browsers did not have the capability to leave a review. I am presuming that is the case with the iPad browser still.

  16. I just tried in Safari and Chrome on the iPad, but no luck. There is no way to leave a review. Sigh…

    Thanks for keeping folks posted on things like this though. Whether it’s here or on your own blog, your posts are a must read for me!

    • @Rich
      Thank you!

      It’s interesting to me that browser based features “roll” across the different iterations at different times.

      Android 5 received this feature first, then 4, then iPhone Chrome & Safari.

      Last I looked the Google app on the iPhone didn’t have it either.

      I presume it will make it to the tablets one of these days.

  17. Thank you for this post! Tried it on an iphone, android phone & one tablet. It worked on them all!
    One thing I noticed is that you get a cleaner working link if you make sure to search for the google plus page on regular search then grab the link. If you use the link that sometimes shows up from Google maps it doesn’t work as well.

  18. Ever-so grateful for all that you share, Mike. Thank you!

  19. Quick point of clarification, Mike. Do you recommend Get Five Stars users change their online review links to match this methodology?

  20. Great share. Now that the old ?hl=en&review=1 trick was not longer working, it was hard finding a method that was consistent accross mobile and desktop. Hopefully this works for a while.

  21. Odd, this works perfectly using my Mac but I can’t get the link to work at all using an iPhone.
    I just get linked to a google.co.uk search page with absolutely no search or results.

  22. Silly google, must have changed things again, because this method used to work, but as of last week (I believe) I can’t get this to work on any of the mobile devices I’ve tried. (Android – Galaxy S5 and also S4 and not sure what my friends phone was, but didn’t work there either.)

    Is this still work on any smartphones?

  23. Any solution on the mobile side? Rather sad I didn’t get to use this temporarily..

    We’ve been using hl=en&review=1 for desktop for the last 12 months and it works fine, just never found a surefire way for mobile users..

    They seem to really be trying to get everyone the google maps app to review.. There is the method of forcing the popping the local listing up in serps and ask the user to click the ‘blue arrow’ and leave a review but it’s not really that good.

  24. Great. I cannot get it to work on android chrome. Whatever I do. The frame does not popup. I have one link to a review page where the review works for android and my Mac Chrome. But I cannot duplicate it for my second business page.

    Have a look this cool tool but again I cannot get it to work for Andriod. Also see my comment on what works for me what not http://www.uksbd.co.uk/how-to-get-more-google-reviews/

  25. Hi Mike, great work. However I tried it whilst not being logged into Google on my Chrom Windows desktop, and it did not work, until I logged in and tried again.

    Also, this method works well with the URL shortening service http://goo.gl so for my father’s construction business, it opens properly: https://goo.gl/dFrsTi so this is great for using on physical promotional materials, like giving a flyer to each point of sale customer or food delivery, as the customer does not have to enter a long and awkward address.

    Better yet, these shortened URLs have analytics! So you can have client reports showing clicks over time, which country, platform, referrer and browser.

    • @Adam

      Things have changed since I wrote this and you are correct that the ,2 link no longer works when not logged in. And the best way to shorten it is with Goo.gl as a redirect also fails.

    • @Adam
      Since this was written Google has changed several things. Not the least of which is that redirects no long work and the ,2 no longer works when not logged in. I have updated the article accordingly.

  26. I have followed the instructions here –

    “The simplest link you can provide now that works on both the desktop AND on most mobile browsers is a link to a search on Google that returns the Knowledge Panel for your business. Depending on a number of factors it could be something as simple as https://www.google.com/#q=barbara+oliver …”

    but when I click the ‘Write a Review’ button, or the text that says “Be the first to review” in the panel to the right of the search results, all I get is an opaque overlay of the search results page with a dot in the middle of the screen which changes between Google’s four colours – Red, Yellow, Green & Blue – & a black ‘X’ in the top-right corner of the screen, but a Review box never loads!

    If I knew how, I could post a screenshot to illustrate what I mean?

  27. Hi, I am currently conducting a study on the spread of Google Local Guides with regard to Italian museums , counting the reviews of users who have signed up to this
    service . My problem is related to the fact that it if you look at the reviews from your smartphone of the Colosseum , you will find that it does not allow you to view all the 4500 reviews , interrupting in a totally random way ( at a certain point I am no
    longer able to scroll through the reviews ) . Does anyone have a solution?

    • Mike Blumenthal May 27, 2016 at 4:33 am Reply

      Hi Nicola
      I have not ever explored this issue but I assume it is due to some memory bug on Google’s side.

      The thoughts on possible solutions to explore:
      Try it on a different phone OS (i.e. if you are using Android try an iPhone or vice versa)
      Try it on the desktop
      If you can’t see them via the public access try to access them via the Google My Business management area
      If you can’t see them via the Google My Business management area try Google’s new API.

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