You should never underestimate the effect online reviews have on the success of your business.
It’s estimated that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust a close acquaintance. With an influence like this, it’s clear to see why online reviews are so important.
The three most important business review sites are Yelp, Facebook, and Google.
Since Google sees an estimated 1.2 trillion searches per year, it’s arguably the most important business review site on the planet. Knowing this, you would be a fool to not make your Google business reviews look as positive as possible.
But what if you’re completely clueless as to how Google business reviews work?
If that’s the case for you, this article will help. This is your complete guide to Google business reviews.
How Can Google Business Reviews Help Your Business?
While they can help your business simply by showing consumers you’re a highly-rated company, there are a number of other ways that Google business reviews can help as well.
They are as follows:
Google’s review section is essentially a survey platform for businesses everywhere. Without even prompting your customers, you are given loads of useful information about both the positive and negative aspects of your business.
This certainly beats sending out tons of surveys, most of which will go unanswered.
Having Google review information at your disposal allows you to make necessary changes so that you can please as many customers as possible. Without these reviews, you’ll essentially be shooting in the dark, attempting to make changes without any statistics to back up your decisions.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, refers to how well your company’s website ranks in Google and other search engines when compared to other company’s in your industry. In this day and age, it is absolutely vital in the online marketing process.
It’s simple: good SEO will lead more traffic to your company’s website, and will, in turn, secure you more sales.
A number of factors contribute to your SEO. When it comes to Google, your company’s Google business reviews play quite a large role.
Getting huge amounts of 5-star reviews will help to propel your company’s website to the top of Google’s search rankings.
On the other hand, getting numerous 1 and 2-star reviews will cause your Google search rankings to plummet.
Ensuring that your Google reviews are, in large part, positive is absolutely vital to the success of your SEO. It’s your responsibility to make sure that they are.
Appear on Google Maps Searches
Let’s suppose you’re a fast food restaurant located in Topeka, Kansas. As a fast food restaurant, you want to be noticed by as many potential customers as possible.
One of the best ways to do this is by showing up locally on Google Maps when potential customers type in something like “fast food restaurants in Topeka Kansas.”
As with Google’s search listings, Google Maps’ listings are heavily influenced by Google business reviews.
So, if you’ve got tons of positive reviews, you stand a good chance of appearing as one of the premier restaurants on Google Maps. If you’ve got negative reviews, however, you stand a rather poor chance.
Businesses that show up on Google Maps get noticed more than businesses that don’t.
In essence, if your business shows up on Google Maps, it will get noticed, and it will make more sales.
One of the best ways to build trust with your customers is by regularly tending to their questions and concerns. Google’s reviews offer you an excellent platform on which you can do this.
If a customer leaves a bad review, you can communicate directly to that person through Google. This allows you to right any wrongs, show that you care, and forge healthy business-customer relationships.
By doing this, you won’t only be building trust with those who you directly communicate with. You will also be building trust with anybody else who reads the dialogue between you and your concerned customers.
If a consumer trusts a company, that consumer will do business with that company.
When it comes to online marketing, there’s no better traffic than direct traffic.
Direct traffic is traffic which comes to your website because it’s impressed with your reputation or work. It’s traffic which comes ready to do business.
Google business reviews are a great way to attract direct traffic.
When you rack up a great overall rating, customers will take notice, and will click on the link to your website based solely on your online reputation.
Having a poor overall rating, on the other hand, will have the exact opposite effect. No one wants to do business with a company who has a bad reputation.
Maintain a positive rating on Google, and you will attract direct traffic.
Managing Your Google Business Reviews
As you can see, your Google business reviews are vital to the overall success of your company. Ensuring that your reviews are positive is a necessity if you want to be as successful as possible.
Want to have maximum control over your reviews? If so, there are a few things you must do.
Claim Your Business on Google
Whether your business is claimed or not, it will typically show up on Google’s reviews.
What you need to do to ensure that you have as much control over your business’ web presence as possible is to claim your business on Google.
To do so, there are three things you must do.
Find Your Listing
First, you must sign into Google My Business and either find or add your business listing. If you already have a Google My Business account for your business, you just need to make sure your business is listed or is ready to be claimed.
Once you have claimed or listed your business, you need to edit all of the pertinent information that goes along with it.
Information you’ll edit includes everything from your business name, to its address, to relevant contact information, to hours of operation, and other things of that ilk.
After you’ve edited your business information, you need to prove to Google that you are, in fact, the owner of your business.
This can be over the phone, by text, or by mail. Google will send you a verification PIN number which you will enter into the verification box.
Get Positive Reviews
The key to getting Google business reviews to work for you is to get as many positive reviews as possible.
While you could conceivably wait it out and just hope that your customers will go out of their ways to give you good reviews, you’d be best served by being proactive.
There are a number of different things you can do to get positive reviews. You could:
Add a Google Reviews Page to Your Website
If you just got done doing business with a customer, there’s a decent chance that said customer will be on your website.
In order to take advantage of this, you need to make sure there’s a Google business reviews page on your website. It’s possible to create a link which allows customers to review your company once it has been clicked on.
This won’t get a review from every one of your customers, but it will almost assuredly snag some that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Ask at the Right Time
While you may not like the idea of asking your customers for reviews, the truth of the matter is that it works. The key, however, is to do it at the right time.
Let’s say you’ve just finished offering a customer above-and-beyond service. At this point, said customer is beyond satisfied with your company. Chances are, if you ask this customer to give you a review while he or she is in this positive state of mind, he or she is going to give you a positive review.
Don’t wait until a day, a week, or a month later. At this point, the customer will have completely forgotten about you and your service, and will likely not feel compelled to leave a review at all.
Strike at the right time, and reap the rewards of a positive review.
Hand Out Review Request Cards
Another idea you can use to help you get positive Google business reviews is to pass out review request cards to your customers.
By printing the name of your company on a card and requesting that the recipient of the card leave you a review on one or several review sites, you will greatly increase your overall review rate.
It might also be wise to print the link to your Google reviews page on the card so that the card recipient can get to it as easily as possible.
Offer Exceptional Service
There are two surefire ways to get reviews: offer horrible service, or offer exceptional service.
Clearly, you don’t want to receive public reviews from customers who experienced horrible service from your business. The only solution is to satisfy your customers as much as possible.
Be personal. Answer any and all questions that come your way. Address any concerns. Let your customers know that they truly matter to you and they will return the favor with positive Google business reviews.
Delete Inflammatory Reviews
Fortunately, as a business owner, it’s possible to alter some of your Google business reviews. This allows you a little control over your online reputation.
Every once in a while, a business will receive a review that is inflammatory in some way. If this review is not factual and is written solely to hurt a business, said business can flag the review to be monitored by Google.
If Google decides that the review goes against their policies, they will delete the review so that it can no longer be seen by the public. This can take anywhere between 1 day and a week, so the key is to be patient while Google settles the situation.
What Shouldn’t You Do to Get Positive Google Business Reviews?
While there are plenty of things you can do to get positive Google business reviews, there are a couple of things which you shouldn’t do.
Not only are these things ethically reprehensible, but potentially damaging to you in the long-term.
So what shouldn’t you do?
Don’t Manipulate Customers
One of the worst things you can do when trying to get positive reviews on Google is to manipulate and pressure your customers into giving you a good review.
For example, telling customers that you’ll give them gift cards in exchange for good reviews is unethical. It’s essentially bribery, and will almost certainly hurt the reputation of your business in the long run.
This is different from an ethical approach. An ethical approach would be to give out gift cards as a promotion, but then to let your customers decide what type of review you should get after the fact.
Don’t Create Fake Reviews
Unfortunately, there are businesses that try to game the system by creating fake Google reviews. They do this either by themselves or by hiring freelance writers to do it for them.
In either case, it is highly unethical, and can very easily get your company penalized in the long run. Not to mention, if found out, it will cause a serious hit to the reputation of your business.
There is only one way that you should ever get positive reviews on Google, and that way is organically.
By satisfying your customers on a consistent basis and reaching out for honest reviews, you will receive the positive Google reviews you’re looking for.
Hire a Proven Professional to Manage Your Google Business Reviews
Are you looking to rack up as many positive Google business reviews as possible for your company? Need help setting it all into motion?
If so, we here at Top Spot can help you. We possess all of the knowledge and resources needed to solidify your company’s positive reputation on Google.
Don’t let a lack of positive reviews drag your business down.
Contact us today!