How To Get Google Reviews
Content is king and your business’ online reviews matter. Now more than ever, it’s important for businesses to get Google reviews. That’s because customers want detailed first-hand information from their online peers, whom they trust, to help them make decisions and become informed about the customer experience.
Let’s talk a little more about Google reviews! We’ll cover:
- Why Google reviews are important (the benefits of getting reviewed)
- How Google reviews help with rankings
- How to get more Google reviews for your business
- A few simple how-tos on leaving and deleting Google reviews
- All about Google My Business
Why Are Google Reviews Important?
Here are three reasons why Google reviews are so important:
1. Google reviews improve local search ranking. One of the biggest benefits online reviews bring to your business is a boost in local search ranking. Knowing how to improve local SEO is important because if customers can’t even find your business when they are looking, how can they possibly make a purchase from you?
Having Google reviews helps with rankings and revenue. Online reviews on your Google Maps listing help your business stand out from the crowd. That’s impact. More importantly, it means your business is highlighting the fact that you offer a great service or product, and that customers love you.
2. Google reviews increase trust and credibility. This might sound strange, but a vast majority of 18-34 year olds (91% to be exact) trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends. That is, they do as long as the reviews meet certain criteria like (1) authenticity, (2) being in the right industry, and (3) having multiple reviews on the same site.
Because Google is one of the most used and trusted search engines, people are willing to give that same trust and credibility to Google reviews that they give to reviews from trusted peers.
3. Google reviews influence purchase decisions. Online Google reviews can be just what a consumer needs to push them from consideration to purchase. A lot of times when consumers are reading Google reviews, they are looking for confirmation that they are making the right decision.
Positive online reviews can give just the validation consumers are looking for when making a choice. However, the opposite can also be true. If your business has a low star rating or a lot of recent negative Google reviews, customers could be pushed toward the competition instead. In fact, Podium found that “3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would consider engaging with.”
Do Google Reviews Help with Rankings?
Yes! Google reviews can really help with rankings because they give businesses a big credibility boost by:
- Influencing brand trust
- Increasing online exposure
- Driving local SEO
- Providing essential feedback
- Improving click-through rates
- Converting more customers
The bottom line is, utilizing Google reviews is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business.
How Do You Get More Google Reviews?
Hopefully by now you realize the importance of collecting more Google reviews, but you might be wondering how to get started. Below is a step-by-step process for setting up your Google My Business page and optimizing it to collect online reviews.
Step 1: Claim Ownership of a Business
The first thing you need to do is claim your Google business listing, which will allow you to update it with correct information and make it stand out from the competition. This is done by using Google My Business as explained in detail below.
Step 2: Make Your Listing Look Good and Stand Out
Once you have the ability to update your listing, you should put in the effort to make sure it’s attractive and filled with relevant information that will entice searchers to click on your listing. Since Google reviews help to make your listing stand out and bring real customer feelings to the forefront, at the very minimum you should do the following:
1. Add relevant information about your business. When you fill out your business description, it should include all the information about your business that customers might find relevant. You can include keywords, but make sure you don’t use this field as an opportunity to stuff keywords. Oftentimes, Google views this as spam and your local search ranking could suffer as a result.
2. Include up-to-date hours of operations. One piece of information customers are looking for when they Google your business is whether or not you are currently open. Because of this, you should take the time to update your hours of operation whenever a change occurs. It is also important to include any variations, for example, if you have special holiday hours.
3. Upload high-resolution photos. One thing many businesses neglect to do is upload enough photos to make their listing stand out among the competition. Pictures on your Google My Business listing help tell a visual story about what it’s like to do business with you and will help you garner more interactions with online searchers as well. Google has found that listings that feature photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions from Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to a business’ website.
Step 3: Use a Good Online Review Management Platform
Once your business listing is claimed and you’ve taken the time to optimize it, now it’s time to start collecting Google reviews, which you shouldn’t let come in organically. You should make a proactive effort to ask all of your customers to write a Google review of your business.
Do you know that 77% of consumers say they are willing to leave a business review, but only 10% actually do nearly all the time? One of the main reasons for this is that customers want to leave a review, but the process can be difficult and cumbersome. They don’t know where to leave a review or there are too many steps to take, and they ultimately bail.
To prevent this from happening, you need to make the process as frictionless as possible. This can be accomplished by implementing an online review management platform that streamlines the invitation process and makes it ridiculously easy for your employees to invite customers and for your customers to leave reviews.
A good online review management platform utilizes text messages as the primary channel for invitations. Doing this results in a significantly higher response rate and enables you to collect more Google reviews than traditional email-based platforms.
Step 4: Get More Google Reviews
Implementing an online review management platform is a good place to start, but if you really want to see the online reviews roll in you should consider doing the following:
1. Determine the right timing of the invitation. In our experience, the best time to ask for a review is when there’s some downtime in the sales process. For example, in the auto industry, a good time might be after the sale is completed and the customer is waiting in finance. Your customer is just sitting there anyway, so why not ask them to leave a review and walk them through the process?
2. Set the expectation for the review. After you’ve determined the right time to invite the customer, now you can start setting expectations for what you want them to do. When setting expectations, you should let the customer know:
- Why online reviews are important for your business
- How they will be receiving the invite (text or email)
- When they will be receiving the invite
3. Eliminate barriers. The harder it is for customers to leave reviews, the less likely they will leave one. That’s why you need to make it as easy as possible, and if you’ve implemented an online review management platform as mentioned previously, you’re headed in the right direction.
Google My Business
Google’s business directory tool, Google My Business, is a free platform that does all the following:
- Allows businesses to appear on Google Search and Google Maps
- Features business names, locations, and hours
- Provides a way to manage how a business appears, including by using photos
- Allows for monitoring and replying to customer reviews
- Gives insights on how and where people are searching for a business
- Shares updates about a business
- And much more
In short, you definitely need to know how to get your business listing on Google My Business and how to optimize your listing! With just a few minutes and a few steps, you can have your business show up in searches from local customers who are trying to find you.
How to Leave a Google Review
Customers leave Google reviews because they want to express the emotional experience they had with a business. Other reasons are to express appreciation, to help the business improve itself, and to help other customers make informed decisions.
Knowing how to leave a Google review is as simple as it is important. After you search and find a local business, scroll down and click Write a Review. Select a certain number of stars and write out the details of your experience with the business. Click Post.
How to Delete a Google Review
There may be a time or two when someone leaves your business a particularly nasty (or even a fake) review and it’s worth it to know what you can do in that circumstance. Typically, you don’t want to delete negative reviews because that makes it look like you have something to cover up. However, there are a few things you can do to properly delete a Google review.
First, you can respond to the negative review. Second, you can flag the review as fake, inappropriate, or promoting a competitor. It will then be reviewed by Google for removal. Third, you can report the negative review to Google Small Business Support who will make a decision about removing it.
Ultimately, having a few bad reviews mixed in with all the good reviews isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it shows that you are a real business with real customers.
Google reviews should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. They help increase your visibility, build trust and credibility with consumers, and push consumers through every stage of the buyer’s journey. If your business is taking proactive steps to secure reviews, it should see an increase in traffic both to its website as well as to its physical location.