Table of Contents
What are Google Reviews?
If you want to visit a restaurant or are looking to avail a service what do you usually do? You go online and do a local search or search on Google Maps, right?
What Google shows you for these searches is not ranked randomly, the rankings are defined through an algorithm that weighs in various factors like proximity to your location, quality of your google business page listing, and your Google rating which is obviously aggregated based on the reviews your business generates.
While the proximity you do not have control over and there’s so much one can do to optimize the GMB listing to stand out from the competition the reviews you generate play the most important role in local rankings.
It’s not just the rankings these reviews matter because they give potential customers valuable insights into your business operations, and customers’ actual experiences with your company and these experiences and reviews matter, in fact if you are a local business you should think of them as social proof which can end up defining the success of failure of your business.
Let’s dive deeper into Google reviews, in this article we’ll cover:
- Why are Google Reviews Important?
- Advantages of Google Reviews
- How to generate Google Reviews for your business?
- Google My Business page and Google Reviews
- Deleting Google Reviews and a lot more.
Why are Google reviews important?
Google reviews improve local search ranking or Local SEO
According to Google’s local ranking factors, reviews accounted for 15.44% of how Google ranks a local business.
In 2015, review signals only accounted for 10.8% of ranking factors, whereas now it is at 15.44% and listed as number 13 of the top 50 local ranking factors. It should be clear that both earning positive reviews and responding to both negative and positive reviews can help you to rank higher in local searches.
Google reviews not only boost your local ranking, but also act as also social proof that customers love your service or product. Customers can look for your service on both google search and google maps and having reviews is impactful to their decision-making.
How exactly does google review impact search results? In google search, there are two types of searches: Local and Organic – A good google rating majorly helps you in ranking for local searches.
When a user searches for a type of business along with a location, Google understands this is a local search.
Since search engines want to give you the best local results, it will show up the results of a few businesses locally along with the reviews. Google understands from the reviews that this business is local and relevant based on these factors:
- Quantity of reviews
- Velocity at which you are receiving reviews
- Diversity of reviews
If you have 10 great reviews from 10 years ago, then who cares? Obtaining positive reviews is an ongoing process, and you should never stop asking for reviews. Recency matters, so be consistent and constant with your efforts.
Google reviews increase trust and credibility
As a local business, Google reviews play a role as important as a peer review or recommendations from friends. Research says well over 91% of buyers trust online reviews as long as they are authentic.
Google is the biggest source of traffic and customer acquisition, it is natural for people to value google reviews and look up to them before making a decision. Let’s talk a little about how google reviews increase trust and credibility:
- Reviews show customers you care about their opinions
- How responsive are you to their queries and needs
- How and what exactly do you do for your customers
- They provide valuable insight on your business operations and past customer experiences
Google reviews influence purchase decisions
Consider a typical buying behaviour of a customer. Let’s assume they are aware of the need, once they are in the consideration stage, they will look up businesses they find via a google search and if your business shows up but has no reviews, you fall off the consideration set. But if your business has google reviews (sufficient and positive ones), the customer may end up choosing you.
Positive Google reviews can give your business the boost it is looking for and at the customer end the confidence to make a decision. Be mindful of the fact that the opposite is equally true if your business has a low rating and recent negative google reviews.
Google reviews serve as a source of customer feedback
In enterprise businesses, it is fairly easy to get customer feedback but maybe not as straightforward for local businesses.
Google reviews can provide you with valuable customer feedback, and give you insights on which areas of your business need improvement. Moreover, it is also an opportunity to show others that you really care. How? By acknowledging the feedback and also acting on it to improve the customer experience.
Advantages of Google Reviews
We now know that Google reviews are important and can impact your business in a major way, but here are a few more benefits of google reviews-
- Drive conversions – A customer is more likely to make a purchase if they already trust your business
- Drive more walk-ins – Your google rating is definitely a major factor to drive more walk-in customers
- Build brand trust – Consumers prefer transparency and actual customer experiences go a long way in building brand trust
- Increase traffic – Good google rating inevitably drives more traffic to your website and offline store a good rating can also increase incoming phone calls
- Competitive Edge – A good google rating and constant review generation will give you an edge over the competition
How to get more google reviews for your business?
Now that we know what google reviews can do for a business lets look into how you can constantly generate more reviews for your business. Before you jump into these steps make sure that your customers know how to leave a google review.
Step-1 Google My Business and Google reviews
You would have understood the importance of reviews by now and the next obvious question in your mind is how do I get started? When a potential customer searches for your business, along with your business name and details, the reviews should also pop up. This is where Google My Business comes in. So what exactly is Google My Business? The short answer is – Google My Business enables you to create a listing for your business online. It helps customers find you via google search. Below is what a usual GMB profile looks like –
We’ve put together a step by step process on how you should go about building your Google my business page and then start collecting google reviews.
How to setup your Google My Business profile?
In order to start collecting google reviews, you need to first set up your google my business account and claim your business on google, which is similar to the way you claim your business on Yelp. Follow these steps to setup a GMB profile:
- Sign into Google Business Profile Manger
- Add your business
- Enter your location
- Fill in your contact information
- Verify your business
Once your business listing is set up on google my business, you will be able to do the following –
- Your business will start to appear on google maps and also start showing for local searches.
- Displays important information like business name, business hours, and contact details.
- Displays photos of your business.
- Allows you to monitor how and when people are searching for your business and how many views did your listing gain etc.
Step-2 Optimize your google my business page listing
- Mention complete information about your business
This will decide a potential customers first impression about your business, make sure to Include every information possible.
- Add Photos
Give a visual touch to your listing. Let them know what to expect when they visit your business.
- Increase engagement on your google my business listing by updating it regularly
Just the way updating regularly helps you increase engagement on your social media pages, posting on GMB would also help customers to engage with you. Now since GMB isn’t exactly like your social media pages, the type of content you post on GMB would also be different.
- Regularly Update the Question and Answer section
You want the people that answer questions about your business to know everything about it and give correct and coherent information, so the best thing you can do is to come up with ‘Frequently asked questions’ and answer them yourself. This will ensure that only correct information is passed on to your customers and potential customers. It’s a good thing to include relevant keywords about your business in this section.
- Use relevant keywords
In your business description make sure that you use relevant keywords. One of the great features of Google My Business is that it lets you see what are the keywords that people are searching for when they look up your business. You can use this knowledge to your advantage and use these keywords in your business description along with the keywords you want to rank for.
- Be proactive with reviews
There are two things to keep in mind when it comes to reviews:
- Ask for as many reviews as you can! The number one way to build trust among your customers is to let them know what others think about your business. Make a list of your loyal customers and reach out to them to leave reviews for your business.
- Reply to the reviews that you receive. Whether the review is positive or negative, it is imperative that you reply to them. Replying to the reviews sets up a precedent as to how seriously you take your customer’s opinion.
Many potential customers notice how a business responds to a review, so make sure that the manner in which you respond to the reviews is respectful and appropriate.
Useful Hack - Create a google review link for your business
Want to make it extremely easy for your customers to leave you a review? you can create a dedicated review link and share it with your customers on email or text. Here’s how–
- Sign in to Business Profile Manager.
- Open the profile you want to manage.
- In the left menu, click Home.
- In the “Get more reviews” card, you can copy your short URL to share with customers.
On your mobile device,
1. Open the Google My Business app My Business.
2. If you have multiple profiles, open the profile you want to manage.
3. Tap Customers and then Reviews.
4. In the top right, tap Share Share.
5. Copy your short URL to share with customers.
Step-3: Use a solid Online Reputation Management platform
Once you have claimed and optimized your business listing, it is time to reach out to your customers and start generating Google Reviews for your business. According to recent statistics, nearly 77 percent of people are usually willing to write a review for a business. However, only 10 percent of customers end up leaving Google reviews ultimately. One of the main reasons for this gap could be that the review process was too cumbersome or time-consuming.
So, you need to ease out the process and make it seamless for your customers to leave reviews, and one way to do so is to integrate your system with an online reputation or review management platform. Text messaging automation for reviews and reputation offers you the ability to do just that and helps your business generate 3X more google reviews every month, view all the reviews on one single dashboard and even analyze the review metrics.
Dr. Mary Tilak and Associates, one of Emitrr’s customers, registered 10X growth in their reviews, and this is what they have to say:
Useful tips on generating more Google Reviews
Be careful with the timing
When customers purchase your product or avail your services, make sure that you ask for a review on the same day itself. Since the customer’s experience with you is still afresh, he/she will be more likely to leave a review, so ensure that you don’t delay in asking for a review.
Your message could be as simple as, “Hey, Brenda! Thank you for your purchase. To enhance our services, we would love to hear your feedback. Thanks!”
Not only that, but you can ask for customer feedback when they are at the facility. You can encourage them to write about your services on Google. Doing so will add more promptness and will increase the chances of landing a couple of reviews.
Simplicity is the key
It’s great if you have provided your customers with stellar customer service. Just make sure that the review leaving process isn’t too cumbersome for them. If your review mechanism involves a lot of steps, then you need to change it right away as the customer doesn’t have a lot of time to follow that process to be able to leave a review. What if a customer first happily agrees to leave a review, and changes his mind after seeing your process? You just lost yourself a valuable review! Don’t let that happen. Provide your customers with a link that directs them to the review page.
Encourage your employees
Customers are more likely to leave reviews when they have a one-on-one relationship with your employees. If your employees have had a face-to-face interaction with your customers, then you can allow them to send review requests to the customers through text. Doing this will increase your chances of securing a review.
Note: Buying google reviews could tempt you, but it’s advisable not to do it!
3 things to avoid while getting more Google reviews
While collecting more Google reviews for your business, you will also come across certain tactics that are frowned upon and considered to be illegal. You need to be aware of such tactics and never make them a part of your review generation strategy. Here’s what you must avoid at all costs:
- Providing incentives – Google penalizes businesses that provide incentives to their customers for writing positive reviews for them. It is against the policies of Google as when a business offers an incentive to a customer in exchange for a positive review, there is an element of bias that further acts as a hindrance for other potential customers to make informed buying decisions.
- Gating reviews – Review gating is another practice that entices a business to only display positive reviews and hide negative ones to portray themselves in a positive light. Google and the FTC keep a close eye on businesses that demonstrate reviews that are too good to be true. Do not engage in such a practice as not only you will be heavily penalized but will also witness your online reputation go down the drain.
- Asking employees to leave reviews – Asking your employees to pose as customers and leave Google reviews is a bad idea. Since these reviews are biased and do not reflect true customer experience, you are merely fooling your potential customers and tricking them into buying your service or product. It is simply unethical and shouldn’t be on your list of tactics to get more Google reviews.
How to respond to Google Reviews
When a potential customer is looking for a service and comes across a new business, he/she will naturally go to reviews left by past customers. What the potential customer will also notice is whether you have also responded to the google reviews. Always make sure to respond to reviews, irrespective of their nature.
Here’s how you should respond to positive reviews:
– Acknowledge their feedback. Say “thank you”.
– Motivate the customer to revisit or repurchase your product or service.
– Make sure that your response is crisp and tight.
Here’s an example:
Here’s how you should respond to negative reviews:
– Respond calmly; do not get into an argument with the customer.
– Do not wait for too long. Try to respond within a 24-hour period.
– Leave your contact information so that your team can look into the matter and resolve the customer’s concern.
Here’s an example:
How to use Emitrr to get more Google reviews?
You can use Emitrr’s reviews and reputation management capability to collect more reviews and monitor them. With Emitrr you will be able to send text-enabled review requests to your customers by simply typing in the message, selecting the list of contacts to send the review requests too, and finally hitting send!
Useful Hack - set up a google click to message in your GMB profile
Google’s click-to-message allows customers to contact businesses through their google my business profile. Up to 89% of customers prefer texting if given an option. By setting up google click to message, potential customers who search for your business through their mobile devices will be able to send you a direct message upon opening your google my business profile. Suffice to say having a channel of communication just while a customer is searching for a business will make it easier for them to reach out to you. It looks something like this:
The steps to follow to set this up are:
- Log into your Google My Business page
- Select Messaging in the left menu and add phone number
- Verify the code
- Customers can now search and text your business
How to Delete a Google Review?
Speaking to customers, made us realise that there are times when there are reviews, that do more harm to your business than benefit:
- A nasty review from a competitor
- A fake review
- Or simply a negative review due to some misunderstanding
There are two ways you can go about deleting google reviews.
- If you wish to delete a review your business has received
- If you wish to delete a review that you have written
Sometimes businesses may come across some competitors who use malicious means to tarnish their competitor’s reputation. One of the ways in which they do this is by leaving a particularly nasty review about the business. These fraudulent reviews need to be deleted as they do not reflect genuine feedback from a customer. In such a case, you need to take steps to repair this damage.
Usually, deleting negative reviews is not recommended as it might come off as review gating. Review gating is the process of filtering out negative reviews of a business and only displaying the positive ones. This is done by businesses to portray a clean image. An important thing to remember here is that review gating is illegal. According to google policy If Google finds out about a business that is quite actively soliciting negative reviews and only posting positive reviews, then Google will delete ALL the reviews.
However, deleting reviews received is an altogether different scenario. So, what are you to do if you come across a fraudulent review from a competitor? What steps must you take to counteract this attempt?
How to Delete a google review on your business page?
The unfortunate part here is that you cannot simply ‘delete’ a review. If you have identified a review that is fraudulent or malicious what you can do is flag that review as inappropriate. This will prompt Google to review it. The review will be removed by google if it falls under any one of these categories:
- Spam and fake content that is posted to manipulate ratings. This includes posting multiple times, including from different accounts.
- Off-topic posts that are general in nature, such as political commentary or personal rants.
- Promoting actions be taken or items purchased that fail to comply with local legal regulations. Such restricted content includes promoting alcohol, gambling, guns, pharmaceuticals, adult services, and more.
- Illegal or depict illegal activity, such as copyrighted content, endangered animal products, graphic violence, human trafficking, etc.
- Terrorist in nature.
- Sexually explicit or in any way sexually exploits children.
- Offensive, obscene, or profane.
- Dangerous, considered harassment or intimidating, or incite hatred.
- Impersonating others or having false representation.
- Dishonest or biased. This includes posting reviews of your own business (or having a current or former employee do it for you) and trying to manipulate a competitor’s ratings.
How to flag a Google review?
- Flagging reviews on desktop
Follow these steps to flag an inappropriate or fraudulent review on desktop
- Sign into your Google My Business profile
- Choose ‘Reviews’ in the menu
- Look for the review you wish to flag, select the three vertical dots next to it and then choose ‘Flag as inappropriate.
- Google will take a few days to review it and remove it if it finds fit. Other people also flagging the comment as inappropriate might help with your case.
- Flagging reviews on mobile
- Open your My Business app.
- Go to “Customers” and then “Reviews.”
- Find the offending review, tap the three vertical dots next to it. and tap “Flag review.
- Flagging reviews through Google Maps
- Go to maps.google.com.
- Find your business listing.
- Go to the review you want to flag.
- Tap the three vertical dots (“more”) and then click “Flag as inappropriate.”
How do you deal with a Google review if Google does not delete it?
Ironically, the thing about negative reviews is that it helps demonstrate to the customers that your business is genuine. Any business will be branded ‘too good to be true if it receives only positive reviews. Considering that the same experiences can differ from person to person, it is only normal that a business might receive positive and negative reviews. So inadvertently, negative reviews could also help your business.
68% of people trust a brand more when it has a mix of good and bad reviews. (Trust Pilot, 2018)
The best way to go about dealing with negative reviews is to respond to them. Some stats that will help you understand this better:
Suffice to say, it is important that you respond to all the reviews received by your business. When dealing with negative reviews, however, follow these steps:
1. Stay calm: Yes, it might be frustrating to see clearly malicious reviews. However, what you need to remember is that other customers who view the comment may not know this. They will see it as an upset customer who is dissatisfied with your service. Customers also look at how businesses have responded to negative reviews and therefore you need to be careful about what you write.
2. Apologize: Do not pinpoint, instead calmly clarify the situation. Offer to resolve their issue and apologize. If needed, assign a team member to handle the customer grievances.
3. Request more positive reviews: Try and get more positive reviews that would basically flood the negative reviews.
How to delete a Google review you wrote?
It’s possible that you rethink a review that you wrote for a business some time ago. Is there a way to delete this review? Yes, there is. Follow these steps to delete a review you wrote
- Go to maps.google.com.
- Click the Menu button (three stacked lines in the top left corner of the screen).
- Click “Your Contributions,” then go to “Reviews.”
- Click the three dots next to the review you want to delete, and then select “Delete Review.”
While negative reviews help maintain a balance and let customers know you are a genuine business, it is important to get rid of the ones that are fake, here is how:
- Flag the review to google as fake, or a competitor review
- You can also report it to google small business support
- Also, make sure you carefully read the guidelines and if there are reviews that are racist or particularly harming in nature, you can get them removed.
Google reviews FAQs
- How do you review a business on Google?
First, You need to log in to your google account. Search for the business you want to review on google. Click on the number of reviews. Select write a review in the top right-hand corner.
- Can you write a Google review without having an account?
Yes. Just connect your existing email ID to google and start leaving reviews.
- How do I leave a Google review anonymously?
Unfortunately, Google no longer allows adding reviews anonymously.
- How long do Google reviews stay posted?
Google reviews will stay posted indefinitely unless deleted by the writer.
- Is a Google My Business Profile free?
Yes, it is. So, go ahead and create yours today.
- Can I buy Google reviews?
Absolutely not. Buying fake Google reviews is illegal and engaging in the same can invite trouble.
About 89% of users read reviews online before buying a product and 81% of consumers use Google to evaluate local businesses. Considering that the consumer journey begins with Google reviews, it is important to pay attention to what people write about your business. If potential customers come across your business, the first thing they are going to do is assess the reviews you have on your Google Business Profile.
A significant part of evaluating a business is done by reading its reviews, and since Google is the largest review portal, knowing how to generate and manage Google reviews is absolutely essential. In order to acquire new customers and add significant value to your business, it is important that you leverage Google Reviews into your digital marketing strategy. So, make sure that you leave no stone unturned in portraying your business in the most authentic way possible.
Are you looking forward to generating more Google reviews, managing your reviews, and enhancing your online reputation? Emitrr is all you need! Book a demo right away and see how you can amp your business’s online presence!