Local SEO: How to Generate URLs for Reviews on Google and Yelp

Getting reviews from real customers should be one of your top priorities for local SEO! The review count on Google and/or on Yelp has a HUGE impact on whether your business will rank near the top of the Google snack pack, on Yelp, and on Bing.
The URL’s for reviews are, however, a bit long (especially on Google). So in this video, I’ll show you how to generate easier, short URL’s plus instructions for happy customers. Let’s get started!

Watch the Video

Generating Short URLs for Google and Yelp

First of all, remember that – technically speaking – both Google and Yelp strongly prohibit the solicitation of reviews in any way shape, or form. However – they are up in the lofty clouds – and those of us who live down here on earth – outside of restaurants, bars, and fun places like Disneyland – live in the real word. Someone MAY indeed write a review of your restaurant on Google or Yelp, spontaneously – but let’s be REAL here – very few people will “spontaneously” write a review of your plumbing company, your probate law firm, or your watch repair shop. It’s just not a “status symbol” that you got your toilet repaired in the same way that it is a “status symbol” that you just went to a fancy sushi restaurant in Los Angeles!

So – if you do NOTHING, you will generally get NO reviews, ** except ** from very unhappy campers. If you do ** SOMETHING ** aka ask for reviews, you are technically in violation of terms of service. So proceed at your own risk! Most businesses – outside of “fun” areas like restaurants – ask happy customers for reviews either in person, or by email. And they make it EASY. (NOTE: I am NOT advocating FAKE reviews, but rather pro-actively asking HAPPY customers to review you on Google and/or Yelp).

Reviews on Google and Yelp for Local SEO

Photo credit: JeepersMedia via Foter.com / CC BY

Step #1 – find your listings on Google and Yelp and generate short URL’s. For our example, we’ll use the DMV in Needles California at 1040 E. Broadway Street, Needles, CA 92363. Tel. 800-777-0133.

Step #2 – customize your URL as follows –

Google. Use the Google+ Review Generator or go to Google, find your company, click on the Google Reviews blue link, and COPY / PASTE the URL into http://tinyurl.com/ or http://bit.ly to shorten it; you can even customize it.

Yelp. Find your company on Yelp, and then COPY / PASTE the URL into http://tinyurl.com/ or http://bit.ly to shorten it; you can even customize it.

Write down these URL’s / keep them in a safe place.  You’ll need them to create materials to ask for real reviews, from real customers.

Asking (Politely) for Reviews

Now that you have your URL’s in hand, it’s time to generate an email for happy customers to review your business. Remember – we’re NOT advocating fake reviews, but rather “Hey, happy customer! Could you do us a HUGE favor and share an HONEST short review about your experience with our business?

Here’s a boilerplate email!


We’d like to thank you for the opportunity to serve you at the DMV of Needles, California. We take our service to the people of California seriously, and would really, really appreciate it if you could share your experience with others by writing a short, honest review on the Internet.

Here’s how –

Google – 

Go to http://tinyurl.com/dmvneedlesgoogle. 

You may have to login to your Google account (or create one)

Click on the BLUE ‘Write a Review’ button.

Write your short, honest review of your experience.

Yelp – 

Go to http://tinyurl.com/dmvneedlesyelp

You may have to login to your Yelp account (or create one).

Click on the RED ‘Write a Review button.

Write your short, honest review of your experience.

Best regards,

Joey Motorist

Manager, Needles DMV

Again, remember technically speaking this is a VIOLATION of their official terms of service, so proceed at your own risk.  You can read Yelp’s official policy, here, and Google’s here. You can read about whether Unicorns are real, here, and about whether politicians lie, here. Just sayin’ – reviews are one of those areas in which there is quite a gap between the “official” policies and the “real” reality!

Photo credit: JeepersMedia via Foter.com / CC BY

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About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.