A common question I get asked with respect to local SEO is whether you need a Google account (Gmail, YouTube, Google Play, or Google Drive) to be able to leave an online review for a business on Google Maps.
That is mostly true. You do need a Google account to leave a review, BUT you can create that Google account using any existing email address so you don’t have to remember a new email address and just reuse the one you’ve always used. The existing email address can be a Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, or any other valid email address you can think of. You’ll just need access to it.
Create Your Google Account
This YouTube video explains, step-by-step, how to create your Google account using a preexisting email address.
The whole video is less than 2 minutes long. The important part starts at 28 seconds where you will be prompted to “Create an Account”. You’ll effectively be creating a new Google account for yourself, an account that uses your existing email address as the login ID.
You will have to create a password for your Google account. Be sure to use a password you will be able to remember. It shouldn’t be the same as the password you use for your regular email account.
Verify Your Account
To complete account creation you will need to verify your newly created Google email account so Google can confirm you are a real person and contact you if guidelines are not followed (e.g. reviews left are fake, spammy, slanderous, off-topic, offensive, or threatening). You’ll do that by logging into your “regular” email account and responding to the account creation prompt you receive from Google.
Help Your Customers
Businesses often request reviews of their existing customers. Google says it’s perfectly fine to do so, so long as you don’t specifically ask for positive reviews, provide some incentive to encourage positive reviews, and you don’t solicit reviews from customers in bulk (Google policy).
When you ask for a review, it can be helpful to include a link to your Google My Business listing (the one that shows up on Google maps). If you want to help your customers who may want to use a non-Google email account, you can share the above video in any correspondence you provide to them. If you prefer, you can use this shortened link (https://youtu.be/jVm0yGXJDRo) to share the same video.
I know this can be confusing. If you have questions, please feel free to comment below and I will respond, typically within 12-48 hours.