Google Reviews Guide
Google Reviews Guide
Table of Contents
According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 99,000 searches every single second, to put it in perspective, that is over 8.5 billion searches in a day. Suffice to say, Google is an integral part of our everyday life. To appear in these search results, what you need to focus on, other than optimising the page for the relevant keyword is ‘reviews’. According to TrustPilot, 89% or 9 out of 10 consumers look up reviews on google and other search engines before finalising a service/product. This tells us how critical google reviews are to a business. Google reviews help your future and current customers make a decision and choose the right service provider.
Since we are in 2022, now more than ever, it’s important for your business to be present online and have reviews. From the above-mentioned stats, it is evident that google reviews are of importance to your digital presence. Customers want to make an informed decision based on the reviews. Google reviews help them learn more about your customer experience, service quality, and professionalism to say the least. This article aims at explaining the importance of Google reviews for your small business and how to get more reviews. The channels across google such as Google My Business, Google Maps, and Google Click to message are important spaces for reviews, we will be discussing those as well.
In this article about google reviews, we will cover
- Why are Google reviews important? The benefits
- How do Google reviews help with the ranking?
- How do you get more Google Reviews for your business from your customers?
- All about Google My Business and its relevance with Google Reviews
- Operational aspects of Google reviews: Deleting a google review.
Why are Google reviews important?
Below are some of the reasons why google reviews are important for your business.
1. Google reviews improve local search ranking or simply put Local SEO
The most important and biggest benefit of google reviews is a boost in your rankings on google search or simply put, a boost in local search rankings. We very well know the importance of local SEO rankings, if potential customers search for you and cannot find you, how can they possibly become paying customers
Google reviews not only boost your local ranking, but it is also social proof that customers love your service and product. Customers can look for your service on both google search and google maps and having reviews is impactful to their decision-making. But how exactly does google review impact search results? In google search, there are two types of searches: Local and Organic.
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.
2. Google reviews increase trust and credibility
As a small 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 them
3. Google reviews influence purchase decisions and convert more customers
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.
4. 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 small businesses. So how can small businesses use google reviews as customer feedback?
You will learn if a customer had a positive experience and what exactly led to that. This can help you double down on that feature/service aspect.
Negative feedback tells you where you need to improve. 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
How do Google reviews help with local SEO ranking?
If you are still thinking about how Google reviews help with ranking, here is what research says:
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’s 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.
Apart from the facts, it is also important to note that reviews improve click-through rates and conversions which also impact your ranking.
Google My Business and 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 for you is – Google My Business enables you to create a listing for your business online. It helps customers find you via google search.
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 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:
1. Sign into Google Business Profile Manger
2. Add your business
3. Enter your location
4. Fill in your contact information
5. Verify your business
Once your business listing is set up on google my business, your business will start to do the following:
- Allow your business to appear on google maps and search based on user search query.
- Displays important information like business name, business hours, and contact details. Contact details are specifically useful as it allows customers to get in touch with you.
- 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.
How to 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.
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.
Relevance of Google My Business to Reviews
Simply put, you cannot collect reviews if you don’t have a google my business profile. It is very similar to the way you cannot collect payments if you don’t have a bank account. Consider Google my business as that bank account where you store reviews but are accessible to the public.
How to get reviews for your GMB profile?
Use a review platform to grow your reviews
Once you have set up your profile, you need to focus on growing your reviews, and it’s not an easy job to get reviews organically, hence you need to make a proactive effort to grow your reviews. But how do you do that organically? The easiest way to do that is to identify software that can text your customers for a review. Note that texting is of prime importance here because emails might get lost. Texting is instant and the most preferred means of communication. Research says only 15% of the customers or even lower actually leave a review. The intent to leave a review is there but the process is what leads to a drop in conversions. Avoid adding too many steps or making it complicated. Use a simple straightforward method to capture reviews.
This can be accomplished by implementing an online review management platform that makes it easy to invite and collect customer reviews on google, Facebook, or yelp.
How to get more reviews?
If you want to grow your reviews, train your team to learn that timing and recency bias matter. The best time to ask for a review is when your customer expresses they are happy or satisfied with the service. But more importantly, focus on building a relationship before asking for a review. Here is a good example: After serving your customer, nudge them: “Hey, we hope we got your 5 stars today?”, based on the reaction, reach out via text for a review.
Another important thing to note is that if they are happy with the service, ask them for a favor and let them know you will be reaching out for a review, when you will reach out and why this is important for your business.
Ease the process of gaining reviews
As highlighted above, make sure your process to collect reviews is super easy, and try to do this over text as much as possible. Asking for reviews through texts is beneficial as:
1. We have our mobile all the time
2. We are on the move most of the time
3. Emails get lost.
How to set up a google click to message?
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 which was sent
- 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 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 the 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. Maintain your 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 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;
1. 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.
How to get more google reviews for your business
#1: 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 patient feedback when your patients 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.
#2: 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.
#3: 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.
#4: Respond to 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.
An example: “Hey, thank you for your feedback. We would love to hear from you again!”
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.
An example: “Hey, we’re sorry to hear that. Please let us know how we can help.”
While you can count on the aforementioned tips to get more google reviews from your customers, there are some practices that you shouldn’t resort to.
Google Maps Marketing
Google Maps Marketing is a strategy through which your google my business listing will rank on google maps. To do so business owners need to add relevant information about their business, like those discussed above on their profile listings. In short google maps marketing is improving the visibility of your business on google maps. This will help your customers to find your business easily on google maps.
How is google maps marketing beneficial for your business?
Google Maps Local 3-Pack is what you need to pay attention to. This includes the first three search results considered most relevant by google based on users’ location. In short, these are the top 3 winners in the eyes of google. You may be able to get your business in the local 3 pack for relevant search results. This increases visibility and increases the likelihood of consumers visiting your business and making a purchase.
What is the Importance of Google Reviews in AdWord Campaigns?
Just like the local 3 pack in google maps which are selected based on the best optimization of GMB profiles, the ads which have the best optimization in terms of the number of reviews received to get the most leads. The ads that have a lot of great reviews get the leads above the ads that don’t.
How to use Emitrr to get more 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!
Emitrr also helps you schedule automated review request campaigns to save your precious time.
How to create a google review link for your business?
We just discussed text review requests. These texts need to contain a review link for your business, only then will your customer be able to follow it and leave your business a review. So how can you get your business’s review link?
1. Sign in to Business Profile Manager.
2. Open the profile you want to manage.
3. In the left menu, click Home.
4. 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.
Google reviews FAQs
1. How do you review a business on Google?
2. Can you write a Google review without having an account?
3. How do I leave a Google review anonymously?
4. How long do Google reviews stay posted?
5. Is a Google My Business Profile free?
Reviews should be the number one marketing priority. They are an organic and long-term source of customers. Keep in mind to proactively invest in reviews and grow that number regularly. If you’d like to learn more about how companies grow google and yelp reviews, you can also listen to our podcast here.