From the blog Google Reviews: Why They’re Valuable and How to Attract More
Google is a powerhouse in the online marketing world.
Many of us use the search engine to find products or services and Google Maps to locate nearby businesses. Your customers use these tools in much the same way, which is why Google reviews play an important part in attracting more business online.
Whether you’re new to Google reviews or need advice on how to attract more reviews, this guide has the answers you’re looking for.
What are Google reviews?
Reviews on Google follow a similar format to social media. They’ll feel similar if you’re familiar with review sites like Yelp or Facebook reviews.
Users can leave a star rating alongside a written comment giving feedback about their experience. These business reviews then show up alongside your listing in Search and Google Maps results.
What are the benefits of Google reviews?
With so many people favoring Google as their search engine choice, user reviews on the platform hold significant weight. Google reviews are valuable, especially if you’re able to attract them in a high volume and achieve favorable star reviews.
The amount of people who will see the Google reviews for your business is only one important part. Here are some ways a standout collection of Google reviews can influence your business.
We all know how important word-of-mouth is, and Google reviews are the digital version of this. Happy customers will be more likely to recommend your business to friends or leave a review online. A high star rating (4.5 stars or above) accompanied by a growing number of reviews is a strong indicator you’re a business to take note of.
It’s tough to generate reviews if you’re new to this, but the investment pays off over time. Research by BrightLocal shows that customers look for 10 reviews before they feel they can trust the business. This means you need to receive quality reviews in a significant quantity.
We’ll give you some insights on how to achieve this later on in this article.
Stand out from your competitors
A collection of positive Google reviews not only makes you more attractive to potential customers. It can help sway them towards you instead of a competitor. This is especially true if your competitors don’t invest in their Google reviews presence or rely on more traditional methods.
You can take advantage of this situation to stand out from other small businesses.
Boost your local search presence
You might be familiar with search engine optimization (also known as SEO). SEO is all about positively influencing your presence in search listings.
Online reviews play a role in local SEO.
MOZ suggests review signals account for around 10% of factors that influence your local search ranking. This is higher than the signals for social media, so it’s worth encouraging Google reviews over reviews on another social platform.
With an optimized website and Google reviews, your local business stands a good chance of ranking for relevant search terms.
How to make the most of Google reviews
Now that we know how influential Google reviews can be, it’s time to understand how to use this in a powerful way for your business.
First, you’ll need to set up your Google My Business presence. Then, we’ll review how to attract reviews and manage your profile.
Set up Google My Business
Before you can master the Google reviews landscape, you’ll need to have the basics covered.
If you don’t have one already, create a listing with Google My Business. This is Google’s free business tool that allows you to take control of your presence in search results through the Business Profile feature.
The set-up process for Google My Business is simple, but the verification process can take some time. Most businesses will need to wait for a postcard to verify ownership, although you may get lucky enough to verify by phone or SMS.
After you’ve verified your business, you’ll be able to complete your Business Profile. Here, you can add details about your business like opening hours, contact details and location. You can also add a brief description and plenty of high-quality photos.
The key is for your business page to be factual and position you as an attractive business to visit, buy from or work with.
Keep your Google Business Profile up to date
Once you’ve created your Business Profile through Google My Business, you’ll want to keep it updated for the greatest impact. Google My Business listings can become outdated, especially if your contact details change. This can be frustrating for potential customers.
As your details change, update key information on your business listing like contact details and opening hours. Add new photographs when you can, especially if you’ve introduced a new menu or changed your products or services.
Make use of the post share feature to update customers on special offers and promote upcoming events or product launches.
For a more in-depth look, try this ultimate guide on Google My Business.
Encourage customers to leave a review
With a live Business Profile listing, your business now has an opportunity to attract reviews from your customers.
While we’d all love our customers to leave reviews without prompting, you usually need to be proactive to bring in more Google My Business reviews.
Encouraging customer reviews is something of an art form. Timing is important, as you want to catch them after they’ve had a positive experience and while they may have a moment free to leave you a review.
How you make review requests is also relevant, as people may feel pressured if you do this in person. Even if they’ve had a great experience at the point of sale, a review request may be more effective later on.
Try asking customers to leave you a review as part of your process or in a friendly email after visiting, buying from or working with you.
Asking for reviews can feel unnatural at times, but developing a mini-script or building it into a process can make this easier. If you’ve tried asking for reviews before without success, reputation management software could help. These tools can automate the process and make it easier for customers to leave a review.
Track and respond to your Google reviews
Collecting online reviews can feel good, but you’ll want to show customers that you’re listening to their comments. Take the time to track and respond to your Google reviews, and people will see that you value their customer feedback.
It’s easy to feel motivated to respond to only positive reviews and avoid replying to negative reviews.
Don’t fall into this trap, as responding to negative reviews can be powerful. It gives you an opportunity to put facts straight and change the opinions of those reading your reviews. Acknowledge the reviewer’s experience and respond with facts and reassurances that you value their time and input.
A business with a strong presence in local searches that responds to reviews stands out against its competitors. By investing your time in setting up and improving your listing, you’re laying good foundations for future reviews.
Frequently asked questions
Like most digital marketing activities, learning how to use Google reviews can bring up some questions.
Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Google reviews and online review management.
Can I delete Google reviews?
There’s no way to delete a Google review from appearing alongside your listing. This is to make it easier for customers to get a more accurate and unbiased view of a business and its reputation.
While you can’t delete a review, there are some cases in which Google may consider removing one.
If it violates their policies, you can flag a review for removal. There are several categories designed to tackle inappropriate and fake reviews. You can flag reviews to be dealt with if they’re off-topic, fake, offensive, illegal or violate the review guidelines in another way.
What is a good Google rating?
There’s no magic number when it comes to Google ratings. Research by Synup indicates 82% of customers won’t buy from a retailer with a star rating of three or below, so aim for three to 4.5 stars.
Businesses with a solid five-star rating can often look unnatural, so those low-scoring reviews can be valuable. Embrace your negative or average reviews, knowing they help your business look more genuine.
How do I leave a review on Google?
While we’ve focused on how to manage Google reviews, you may wonder how to leave a Google review for another business you love or have a strong relationship with.
Navigate to their Business Profile listing through search, and follow the steps to leave a review. You’ll need a Google account and can’t leave an anonymous review.
Attract more customers with Google reviews
Now that you’re familiar with the principles of Google reviews, you’re in a stronger position to attract more customer reviews.
Here are our main takeaways from this guide:
- Create a Business Profile with Google My Business and start collecting reviews.
- Encourage your customers to review you online.
- Remember that there’s value in both positive and negative reviews.
- Respond to your online reviews and thank your customers for their feedback.
Over time, you can build a collection of reviews to help your profile stand out in search results. The time that you invest now will have a positive impact on your online review profile in the future.