By Ross Pike
What is the first thing you do when you seek the services of a new company? Chances are you look them up on Google. More than 60% of customers check google reviews online before visiting a business. Understandably, they want to look at the experience others have had with your company before committing to you.
This is why Google reviews are important and why you should make an effort to acquire them. The first thing that pops up when you search for a business on Google is the company’s ratings and average rating, and if they aren’t good, chances are potential customers will go elsewhere.
- 1 What are Google Reviews?
- 2 Why Google Reviews Matter
- 3 Receive and respond to Google reviews
- 4 Remove a bad review
- 5 Don’t leave Google reviews to chance
What are Google Reviews?
Google reviews are business reviews left by customers on the Google platform. When someone searches for a business in Google or searches for directions in Google Maps, reviews are one of the first things they see.
All you need to leave a review is a Google account and it’s a free service. Due to the popularity of Google as a search engine and Google Maps, these reviews are read much more widely than those on websites like Trustpilot.
Why Google Reviews Matter
Since Google is the most used and trusted search engine, people pay attention to reviews on the platform. Google reviews are important because:
- They raise the profile of your business online. People are more likely to visit your website or your business when they see good reviews.
- They are beneficial for search engine optimization. If Google sees that you have good reviews, your website will rank higher in search engine results because Google can see that you are popular and provide a good experience for customers. As a result, good reviews improve your relevance. Google’s algorithm aims to give searchers the most relevant results, so having good reviews will improve your ranking.
- The star rating based on your average rating will appear under your business name in your Google Business Profile. Having 4 or 5 stars will result in more people clicking on your business listing.
- Get essential feedback about your business. Customer feedback helps you understand how your business is perceived by others and identify areas for improvement.
- Good reviews improve brand confidence. People trust Google, so they also trust reviews found on your Google business profile.
It is important to check your reviews regularly. If you notice recurring customer service issues or other complaints, you can correct them to improve your customer experience.
Receive and respond to Google reviews
1. Set up a Google My Business account
The first thing to do is your Google Business Profile. Chances are if you’ve been in the area for a few years, you’ll already be showing up in Google Maps and local searches – you may even have some reviews already.
Once you claim and optimize your business profile, it’s easier for people to find you and leave reviews. Here’s how to do it:
- Do a Google search for your business name.
- Click on the button “Own this company?” knob. This will take you to the claims section for a Google business profile.
- Google must then verify your business. Once verified, you can make changes to your profile.
- You can add photos and a description of your business. Try to include a few keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business, but don’t overload it with keywords or use keywords that aren’t relevant. This can result in a fine.
2. Find customer reviews
Customers are usually only driven to write a review if they’ve had a negative experience; this means that getting a lot of good reviews is not something you can leave to chance. The first thing you should focus on is providing excellent service so that you get satisfied customers. Then ask customers if they mind leaving you a review on Google. This can be done by email or text message. It’s a good idea to include a link to your company profile to make things easier for customers.
Think carefully about your timing – don’t wait until weeks after a customer buys something from you or you may have slipped out of their minds. It’s a good idea to request a review just after someone has bought something from you. Approach them if you think they are free to write a review. Try first in the morning or last in the afternoon. Offer to provide a template for the assessment if needed.
You can also automate this process with your ecommerce platform so that a review request is automatically sent after a customer makes a purchase.
Finally, never buy reviews. If Google suspects you of this, you will be penalized and pushed down in the rankings.
More articles from AllBusiness.com:
3. Explain to customers how to leave a review
Some customers don’t know how to leave a review, so it’s worth explaining the process to them. They will have to:
- Log in to their Gmail account
- Search your business on Google or Google Maps
- Click on the reviews section
- Write a comment and select the number of stars
- Press “mail”
4. Thank customers for leaving a review
It’s a good idea to respond to reviews. Thanking a customer for a great review shows that you care about what customers think and that you are grateful for their business. If there are negative reviews, responding in an open manner that is not defensive will show that you are willing to set things right and admit your mistakes.
To make it easier for customers to leave a review, send them a link to your business page. You can do this by:
- A visit to the Google Place ID Finder
- Type your company name in the “enter a location” box
- Select your company from the drop-down list
- Copy your place ID link
Remove a bad review
You may receive a rating that you believe is unfair or incorrect. You can report this review by flagging it as inappropriate. Google will only remove it if it violates any of its policies, so don’t expect them to remove a review just because it’s negative.
If the review is just a frustrated customer, instead of reporting them, you can respond to the review, try to resolve the reviewer’s issues, and if so, ask the customer to delete or edit the review. Speed is of the essence, so be sure to check your Google reviews regularly.
Don’t leave Google reviews to chance
Google reviews are important. They give your business credibility, increase click-through rates and help your position in search results.
For these reasons, it’s critical to pay attention to your business’s Google reviews. Encourage customers to leave good reviews for you, keep an eye on your reviews and respond to them, whether they are good or bad.
About the author
Ross Pike is the Operations Director of Quadrant2Design, the UK’s leading independent contractor of exhibition stands. Ross has ten years of experience in design, production, marketing and operations in the exhibition industry.
RELATED: Why your branded search results are your most important digital asset