Google has added a new help page Create a link for customers to write reviews which explains in detail how to use the Google Maps API to generate a URL that can be used to solicit reviews. (NOTE: this page has been removed as of 7/11.)
The page is interesting for two reasons.
One it explicitly provides a Google approved way of generating a URL string for asking for reviews. While Google has acknowledged in the forums that is ok to ask for reviews there has never been a specific help page nor an “easy” method for generating the review URL.
the method doesn’t work very often and only appears to work on the desktop some of the time. Go figure. This method now works across all devices, desktop and mobile, Android and iOS.
The steps Google recommends generate the review URL (these steps still work even though the help page has been taken down):
To create a link, you’ll need to get the Place ID for your business. To get your Place ID:
- Go to the Google Places API.
- Enter your business information in the “Enter a location” field at the top of the map.
- Click your business name in the list that appears.
- Your Place ID will appear on the map, beneath your business name.
Add your Place ID to the following URL to create your link:
Using the example above, the URL with the Place ID added would be:
Unfortunately, at least for now, the URL that Google is providing doesn’t always work or doesn’t work in different browsers or doesn’t work in mobile. Exactly when and why it fails is not clear.
For example the example link (for Kaplan Insurance Agency) above works in Chrome on my Mac but not from Safari and not on my iPhone in either browser. On Safari on the my desktop it generates the Knowledge Panel but not the review box. This is likely due to Safari’s poor handling of redirects which this URL does.
I hear from Helmut that the URL does work on Android. I still can not get it to work on iPhone on either Safari or Chrome but it does appear to be working on Google Now for Android. Would love others to test.
I have observed in the past that features and new search parameters (like /local/writereview?placeid) do not necessarily roll out to all browsers simultaneously. If we are lucky Google will be fixing this and rolling it out across all browsers on all platforms. For now it just as easy to copy the URL that Google generates from the Knowledge Panel or use one of the many tools to generate the URL.