As the world’s most popular search engine, Google is often how a consumer will research and discover businesses. In fact, BrightLocal found that in 2020, 93% of consumers used the internet in some way to find a local business. An important part of this research phase includes reading reviews and testimonials of businesses listed through Google My Business.
Because of social proof, consumers will often be drawn to businesses that have higher reviews than their competitors. Understanding the importance of Google reviews, how to get more reviews, and how to deal with negative reviews is critical for any business managing their presence online.
Are Google Reviews Important?
If you are a business owner, Google reviews may be more important than you realize. According to a survey by ReviewTrackers, 63% of consumers will check a business’s reviews on Google before making a decision. Additionally, Google surpasses websites such as Yelp and Tripadvisor when it comes to where consumers check to find reviews.
Google reviews are also important for improving local SEO. When deciding to rank a website, Google considers factors such as expertise, authority, and trust. Receiving a large quantity of positive Google reviews is a great way for a business to prove that they are experts in their field and trustworthy to consumers. Since consumers are more likely to visit a website with good Google reviews, it can cause a compound effect where good reviews leads to more website visits, which leads to more business, which leads to more reviews, and so on.
How to Get More Google Reviews
With an understanding of the importance of Google reviews, you may be wondering how to get more of them. While these may work at varying degrees depending on your business type, here are 4 methods and strategies when building your reviews:
- Make it Easy on the Customer
Leaving a Google review can be confusing for someone unfamiliar with the process. Explaining the process to a customer and providing them with a direct link will make leaving a review easier and faster.
- Link to Google Reviews on Your Website
By logging in to your Google My Business page, you will be able to pull a direct link to the Google review form. Adding this link to your website in the footer or on a page for reviews is an easy way for satisfied customers to find where to leave a review.
- Ask for Reviews in Person
If your business serves customers in-person, asking for a Google review can be included in the checkout process. As an added layer, you can provide a customer with a handout that explains the process and includes a link.
- Run an Email Marketing Campaign
An email marketing campaign can be a successful way for your business to hit a large amount of customers. Be sure to include the link to leave a review, an explanation of how quick and easy it is, and why leaving the review is important for your business.
Can I Delete a Negative Google Review?
Not every review that your business receives will be positive. Whether it is an unhappy customer or a competitor using dirty tactics, negative reviews are bound to happen. If you are wondering if you can remove a negative review, the answer is “kind of”. Google allows you to report reviews that are fake or inappropriate, but will not remove a review simply for being negative. Rather than being focused on deleting negative reviews, it’s better to focus on receiving more positive ones.
That being said, receiving a certain amount of negative reviews is actually good for your business. Local Marketing Institute has found that having a total rating between 3.7 and 4.9 is usually best for business. When consumers see only perfect reviews, it is human nature to become suspicious; not every customer of every business is always happy. Receiving a large amount of negative reviews can be detrimental, but don’t stress about the occasional negative review if your total rating is still high.
How to Respond to Google Reviews
It is a good practice to engage with the consumers that are leaving reviews for your business. Luckily. Google reviews can be easily responded to from the back-end of Google My Business by doing the following:
- Log in to your Google My Business account.
- Navigate to your business listing.
- Go to the “reviews” tab.
- Find the review you would like to engage with and hit “reply”.
Unsure on how to get in and manage your Google My Business profile? Check out our quick guide on how to access Google My Business.
When it comes to the response itself, a different approach must be taken depending on whether the review is positive or negative. In both cases, it is important to respond promptly and with a clear plan. Additionally, avoid using cookie cutter responses and make every interaction unique.
Responding to Positive Google Reviews
Responding to positive reviews is the easier of the two. In your reply, thank the customer by name and show your appreciation. By responding to happy customers, you validate their decision to leave the review, and may increase the chance that they refer your business to someone they know.
Responding to Negative Google Reviews
While responding to negative reviews is not as easy, it is very important for reputation management. Consumers appreciate when businesses respond to negative reviews; Review Tracker found that 45% of consumers are more likely to visit a business that responds to their negative reviews.
Before responding to a negative review, be sure to internally discuss the comments that were left. When responding, be empathetic, direct, and accessible. If possible, offer a solution to the problem that may have caused the negative review. Always avoid being defensive or rude to the person that left the review. By successfully responding to a negative review, it may lead to a customer editing their review and improving the rating.
Need Help With Google Reviews?
With the impact that Google reviews can have on your business online, you may be looking for the help of a digital marketing agency. Whether you want to improve your local SEO, run a social media campaign to get more reviews, or just need help crafting the perfect response for your brand, J. Fitzgerald Group can help. Contact us today to get started.