How To Rank #1 On G2?

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If you want to rank on G2, you need to understand the game and what you are up against.

I’m talking about the context and circumstances in which the platform operates.

It’s not just about the number of positive reviews you can muster online. There’s much more to it than that. 

This article explains how G2 ranks vendors and what ranking factors you can influence as a SaaS provider. It also shares two helpful tools you can use to give you the best chance of ranking in the right categories so you can make the most of your review monitoring and management strategies.

What you need to know about ranking on G2

Before you get excited about boosting your G2 rank, let me be straight with you:

Unless you are a big player in your category, you don’t have a fighting chance on this platform. Let me explain why.

G2 ranks vendors according to two key components:

  1. Customer satisfaction
  2. Market presence

#1 Customer Satisfaction

The first one is customer satisfaction. G2 ranks and scores vendors based on the quality and quantity of these reviews. The more positive ones you have and the more recent they are, the better your chance of ranking higher.

Here’s the thing though, G2 actually differentiates between reviews based on

  1. Their recency – a 2 year old review is worth around 15% of a recent review.
  2. Their quality – evaluating how complete they are and how easy to read they are.
  3. Their source – this mostly comes down is the “How long have you been using XYZ for?” question and the role that specific user has. Interestingly – and contrary to popular belief – users seem to weigh more than decision makers.

Another thing to note is that g2 will factor in “review significance” in your overall satisfaction score. And review significance is just fancy talk for the number of reviews.

Among the review data itself, g2 weighs answers differently.

Question Importance in review’s satisfaction score
Ease of use High
Meets requirements High
Quality of support High
Ease of admin Medium
Ease of setup Medium
Ease of doing business with Medium
Likelihood to recommend Low
Direction of Product Low

For example, the quality of support is considered highly important, while the likelihood to recommend is considered of low importance.

While you can’t directly influence the way your users will fill-in the form, the trigger you’re using to ask for reviews definitely matters here. If you’re asking after a positive customer support interaction, odds are the customer will emphasise the quality of support. And if you’re asking after a positive NPS answer, odds are they’ll emphasise the likelihood to recommend.

When asking for reviews, you need to be neutral – to an extent. The questions you ask are incredibly important ways to orient the answers. You won’t change their mind on what they think of the product, but you might very well get them to talk about ease of use rather than your product strategy.

You can view the complete list of G2’s customer satisfaction metrics here.

#2 Market Presence (Vendor profile)

The second most important vendor ranking factor is market presence based on company size and category reviews. This is where G2 throws a spanner in the works for smaller providers because your rank depends primarily on the number of employees and the number of g2 reviews you collected. Factoring in review decay.

Things like web presence, growth and influence are also used, although they’re of medium to low importance according to g2’s documentation.

You can view the complete list of G2’s market presence metrics here

#3 Pay-to-play (Paid promotions)

Finally, pay attention to the third-ranked vendor on G2’s category page listings. Why? Because it could be an ad listing – not just the third-ranked provider. As a relatively recent addition, Paid Promotions have added a layer of, dare I say, deception. My problem with this feature is that these paid ads inserted at the top of listings are not dissimilar from the organically ranked products. Anyone who doesn’t know about it won’t notice it’s a paid advertisement slot and not the third-ranked vendor by G2’s ranking standards. So keep an eye out for it.

Here’s how you can identify ads in category page listings on G2: 

  1. They have a ‘Sponsored’ tag above the vendor’s name
  2. They are always in third position on the category listing

Example of G2’s paid promotion ad

More on G2’s Paid Promotion

The ranking factors you can influence

However, if you are a big player with many employees and a long list of customers and still do not rank well on G2, there are a couple of legitimate ways you can improve your presence and score for the above two metrics.

#1 Maximize your reviews in the right categories

Here’s the thing: review count helps increase both satisfaction and market presence ratings. And it’s listed as a factor of “High” importance in both cases.

By collecting more positive reviews, asking at the right time, running regular refresh campaigns, and turning negative reviews into positive ones, you can proactively influence your satisfaction scores and, therefore, your ranking.

There are three things to keep in mind here to optimize your performance

  1. G2 will ignore reviews from “Business partners”. The thing is the question they ask to fill in this field is very much open to interpretation, and often misunderstood, and you will almost certainly get reviews from clients who ticked the box without being business partners. They’ll get an incentive from g2, just like any regular review, but it won’t count in your satisfaction & market presence scores. Sort of a silent failure it’s good to keep an eye on.
  2. Reviews are attributed to one or several categories based on the answers provided by the reviewer. If you’re listed in several categories, customers will be asked questions about their usage – sometimes with dubious wording – to attribute their review to the right categories. Be aware of what these questions are, and give sufficient guidance to your customers so they don’t tick the wrong box.
  3. Review decay. G2 explains review decay quite extensively here but the highlight is this: reviews are gradually worth less over time, with a very strong cliff effect after 12 months. To illustrate, let’s say you ran a one-off campaign 12 months ago exactly, and got 100 reviews. These reviews currently weigh as much as 80 new reviews. You’re sort of okay. But 6 months from now, they’ll weigh as much as 50 new reviews. And 12 months from now, they’ll weigh as much as 15 new reviews.

An interesting consequence of review decay is it affects the number of reviews you need to get to a certain position. Say the top 3 in your category all have roughly 2000 reviews. You might think you need 2000 reviews to outrank them.

But splitting their reviews onto this decay chart will tell you exactly how many reviews you actually need to compete. You should also factor in their review velocity – i.e. new reviews per month or quarter.

Of course, they might realise you’re challenging them, and run refresh campaigns to get all their old reviews to be worth a lot more, but at least you get a realistic ballpark for the current situation.

Here are a few best practices to maximize your performance on that front:

  • Avoid one-off campaigns, and run always-on campaigns whenever possible instead to make sure you get a constant flow of reviews. This helps fight review decay, and it’s the best way to ensure reviews stay top of mind for everyone on your team all year long.
  • Run review refresh campaigns (also always-on) to ask your reviewers to update their reviews. This helps increase the number of recent reviews, which is a fundamental part of getting the most of your reviews. The trick here is to know who is reviewing you. If this sounds like an issue you’re having, reviewflowz can help with that.
  • Fix bad reviews: this might sound like an obvious one, but it’s surprising to see how often companies don’t take this to the finish line. If you get a bad review, you’ll obviously want to reach out to the customer, and fix the issue(s) they’re having. But don’t forget to ask them to go back to g2 and update their review. Incentivize it if need be. If you currently have 100 reviews with an average of 4.5 and you manage to change a 1 star to a 5 star, it will impact your bring your new average to 4.54. You’d need as much as 9 fresh five-star reviews to get the same result.

As a side note, if you look at the below review, you’ll notice G2 openly declares that just because the user has updated a review, an update doesn’t have to include any changes to the original text.

#2 Reflect your size 

Many vendors’ size is not accurately reflected on the third-party platforms G2 uses to rank their market presence. But because it’s such a vital factor, it’s well worth your while to find a way to get as many of your employees, outsourced vendors, contractors, and Board of Directors onto these platforms.

G2 uses data from Linkedin, Crunchbase, and Zoominfo to evaluate your number of employees. They also use metrics like Moz domain authority and SEMrush estimated traffic to evaluate your web presence. 

While you can’t exactly skew these metrics easily – and it’s certainly not worth trying – it is well worth checking what data points g2 is using to make sure they have the right ones.

M&A is fairly common in SaaS, especially these days, and software companies often go through rebrandings, using different domain names, migrations, and all of that fun stuff. Even if that doesn’t sound like you, it’s worth checking. If you want to move the needle on g2, this is most likely the lowest hanging fruit you can find.

The easiest way to get this fixed is to reach out to g2 and ask what exactly are the data points they have for each of the providers they use. Oftentimes, you’ll find that the domain they’re using might not be your main domain name, or that their data from Linkedin is using an old page you don’t use anymore.

To illustrate this last point, the table below is from our g2 tracker. It shows Dropbox getting a fresh set of reviews (750) in a single week. Pretty impressive on paper. 

But it looks like what Google did in the same week, is get their market presence KPIs adjusted. Them being Google, it had a massive impact on the market presence scores of every player in the category (they’re z-scores). And ultimately earned them first place, despite Dropbox’s best effort to keep them at bay – 750 reviews is no easy feat, no matter how big you are.

Make sure you are in all the correct categories before you gather reviews

The next most important thing you need to cover is making sure your product is in all the right categories on G2.  This is a mistake many vendors make. They either aren’t listed in the right categories or are not taking advantage of being listed in all possible categories by product features. 

You need to set this up well before you start running review generation campaigns, and I’ll explain why. 

If your product is not active in the relevant category, your buyers can’t find you among competitors, and the reviews you gather before you are allocated to the category will not apply. 

Researchers may find your company reviews but not in the software-specific category. You also have to remember that G2 has category-specific review questions that apply to different types of products. Unless you are listed in a category, your users answer generic questions.

This is an easy fix, but you need to work on slotting yourself into the right software categories to make the most of your online reviews on G2. Remember, don’t restrict yourself to one category. Identify the ones that best reflect your product use cases (based on features).

Use Reviewflowz’s G2 Rank Tracker to identify competitors & categories

The easiest and best way to find the correct categories for your software product on G2 is to use Reviewflowz’s Free G2 Rank Tracker. While its primary purpose is to help B2Bs view and track rankings for any product on G2’s review site, it’s super handy for identifying categories to which your SaaS products can be added.

All you have to do is type in and select a direct competitor in the search field. 

The first thing you will see at the top of the page are the categories your competitor is listed in.

 If you take a look at the example I’ve run on in this video, you will see:

  • G2 software categories— is listed under 15 categories on G2. You can click on each category to see a new reporting screen load with the top-ranking vendors for each one. 
  • Software rank for each category – is the #1 ranked software across eight categories, including event planning, task management, workflow management, time tracking, and more.
  • Top 10 vendors with review, satisfaction, and popularity score (week-on-week) – has improved across all scores for the particular week I tracked
  • Review count overtime— currently sits in third place by review count (12,110) yet is still ranked number one because of its high satisfaction scores. 

Reaching out to G2: Make a proof-backed case for category inclusion

Once you have a list of categories you think you should be included under on G2, compile a case of proof points (including screenshots and videos) to display how your product matches the features listed in each category. Package this up in a file and send it to your G2 account manager for approval.

If you make a good enough case and show that you meet the inclusion criteria, there is no reason why your request won’t be granted for as many categories as your software can accommodate.

Use a review monitoring tool to maximize reviews 

Now that you know how G2 ranks vendors and what you can do to optimize your presence on the platform, let’s turn to the part you have the most control over – review monitoring and management.

The best way to drive and maximize your reviews is to get a review monitoring tool like Reveiwflowz (check out its 14-day free trial). This tool lets you aggregate and see all your reviews from various online sources in an easy-to-use, no-fuss platform that helps you simplify and streamline your workflows.

Some of the features Reviewflowz offers include:

  • A centralized platform that aggregates all of your online customer reviews 
  • Access to (some) G2 reviewers’ LinkedIn URLs
  • Integrations with Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zapier, and email for real-time review updates
  • Direct links to respond to reviews instantly from G2 & Capterra (you also have the option of using Lenny, an AI-powered Chat GPT-4 bot, to draft responses faster)
  • View and analyze reports displaying how your brand tracks across platforms and against competitors over time.

Using Reviewflowz, I’m going to show you how some of these features work. Let’s start with four key things you can start with as soon as you sign up.

How to get the most out of G2 and other SaaS B2B review platforms

If you want to get the most out of G2 and other SaaS B2B review sites, as a business, you need to look at the bigger picture. Yes, it is a ratings and rankings game, but that is not the only thing these platforms offer. And, yes, chances are that most buyers will look at the top-ranking vendors first, but there is a whole lot of value in reviews that are not linked to rankings, which can grow your product and customer base. 

And these are the things you want to leverage in as many ways as possible. 

Reviews are your ticket to product and service improvement. As primary forms of social proof, they are also your sales bait. So, instead of trying to fight a fight you can’t win (ranking amongst the big players), take the given data and utilize it.

By all means, go all out with review generation. Run campaigns, include incentives, and find ways to get your teams to drive more reviews onto your target review sites. As you gather more feedback, make sure it doesn’t just sit there, waiting for prospects to find it. Lift it, share it, and use it to better understand your target market so you can give them what they are searching for in tech solutions.

Some of the ways you can use reviews outside of the review sites include:

  • Social proof – Lift and shift them to your Wall of Love, include them in your sales and marketing materials, and identify potential customer success stories you can build out.
  • Voice of Customer (VoC) – Reviews are pure VoC sources. They can bring your attention to key customer pain points you may never have known had the customer not left a negative review. Use these to compile a list of improvements you need to make to the product.
  • Connection – By engaging with customers directly through review responses, you can initiate meaningful one-on-one conversations where they can share more valuable insights. This also shows the customer that you care and find their feedback important.
  • Promote customer advocacy – By taking your reviews seriously and building and nurturing user interactions via third-party platforms, you can identify (and create) opportunities for customer advocacy amongst users. 
  • Beta testing – Another thing review platforms offer is a long list of beta testing candidates you can access for future product testing.


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