Getting Google reviews is a great way to boost your business’ online presence, increase your local search rankings on Google, and defend and promote your business in a competitive market. Best of all, every business can get in position to get reviews on Google for free. All you need to do is claim your Google My Business page and customers can begin posting reviews on Google about your business.
What better way is there to promote your business to others, than having customers share their experiences online? While you can and should do your own marketing, when customers market for you, as is the case with reviews on Google, it is far more powerful. There are a number of benefits to getting Google reviews.
Getting reviews on Google will help boost your local search rankings on Google. Google has very complex algorithms for their search, and they do not disclose their algorithms since they are Google’s “secret sauce.” However, the experts at Moz believe 7% to 15% of all search results algorithm comes from review signals driven by Google reviews. Specifically, Google looks for a balance of three review signals including quantity, velocity and diversity of reviews. While you should deploy multiple tactics for increasing your SEO, getting reviews on Google is something you can control that has a direct impact on your SEO.
Today, consumers everywhere demand transparency and honesty from the companies with which they choose to work. Transparency builds trust. When shopping for anything, consumers research companies, brands and products online and often seek to read reviews from other consumers who have done business with the company, brand or purchased a specific product.
90% of consumers say online reviews have an impact on their purchase decisions, and for 92%, they will only consider engaging with businesses who have a minimum rating of 4 stars. They'll even spend up to 31% more if they're assured they'll have a better experience. That is the power of online reviews, and those on Google are the most powerful of all.
Developing consumer trust builds confidence in choosing your business, brand or product. When consumers see other consumers loving your company, as expressed in your reviews on Google, it gives them the confidence they need to buy your product or service. Don’t worry if you don’t have a perfect 5-star rating. In a study by The Spiegel Research Center, they found that purchase likelihood peaks between 4.0 and 4.7 stars. Consumers like to see the good and the bad on display, and it demonstrates transparency and authenticity.
But what if you can increase your review star-rating? In the Harvard Business School study Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com, Harvard found that a one-star increase in the Yelp rating (e.g. from 3.5 stars to 4.5 stars) for independent (non-chain) restaurants increases revenue by 5-9%! And the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration study on Hotel Performance Impact of Socially Engaging with Consumers, found a one-star increase in the TripAdvisor rating (e.g. from 3.5 stars to 4.5 stars) for hotels increases revenue by 39%! And the value of 1 additional review increases revenue by 0.5%.
The first thing you need to do in order to get any reviews on Google is to claim your GMB listing. Here’s a Google help document explaining how to claim your listing.
Now that you have a GMB listing, ensure all your relevant business details are added. If you don’t include relevant information, it may not be all that helpful to those who see your listing. Remember, the objective is to inform and educate people about your business who search for it on Google. Make certain to give your business a proper description, hours of operation, images, and all other details that help people understand more about what you do.
Getting reviews is a continual process. Have you ever looked up a business and read their reviews, only to find the most recent review was from 5 years ago? If your reviews are not fresh, they’re not relevant and can hurt your chances of influencing visitors to consider your company.
Whenever you solicit a Google review, it’s always a good idea to explain to your customers why you want them to post a review. Let them know you want their honest review of your business so others can learn from it. You should never pay customers to post a Google review for 2 primary reasons: First, it is against the Google terms of service for text reviews, and second, it defeats the point of using reviews to develop trust and transparency with customers.
So how exactly do you solicit a review? When you speak with customers, ask them to post a review on Google. Place a link in your email footer to your GMB review page to entice customers to post their review. Place a sign in your store reminding customers to post a review on Google. Google even has stickers and tools for you to solicit reviews. There is no single magic bullet to get more reviews. Build the process of asking for reviews into your regular business processes, and manage it just like you would any other. It takes work, but the work will pay off in the long run.
One sure fire way to get more Google reviews is to use a reputable review and feedback service. Unlike manual solicitation, using a service like LoyaltyLoop will automate the process and help you deploy a system that regularly engages customers to request a review. This will ensure a balanced approach to having quantity, velocity and diversity of reviews. Look for a service that makes it easy for your customer to post a Google review, and easy for you to monitor and track activity.
If you've ever been approached by a company that tells you they'll sell you Google reviews, or you're thinking of buying Google reviews - don't! As tempting as it may be to simply pay someone to create a pile of fake reviews for you and short-circuit the natural process, buying google reviews is a terrible idea. The very premise of reviews is to get authentic feedback from real customers and to build consumer confidence in your business a brand. Buying Google reviews will do the exact opposite - fake reviews will cause you to lose trust in consumers and tarnish your business and brand.
Right now you may be thinking - who will ever know if I'm buying Google reviews? Well, for one, Google will. Buying Google reviews is a violation of the Google terms of service, and Google takes it very seriously. Not surprisingly, Google has algorithms to detect if reviews appear authentic or not. If they sense you may be buying Google reviews, not only will they go after the source company generating the fake reviews, but they'll likely take action against your company too. They can remove your GMB listing, or demote your company in search results, or take other actions against you. There is also legal precedent for state regulators taking action against companies with fake reviews too - check out Operation Clean Turf.
Not only will Google know, but there's a good chance your real customers will know too. The unscrupulous companies sell reviews create fake Google accounts under which they'll post their fake reviews. Customers who know your business may smell a rat when they start reading reviews that do not equate with their experience. The bottom line, buying Google reviews is a very very bad idea.
Delighting your customers is the best way to get more reviews on Google and any other review platform. Creating lasting, wonderful customer experiences, for growing numbers of happy customers is the best way to generate more and more reviews. There's no trick or gimmick, just honest work building great products and services that delight your customers.
Google reviews are public, and it’s a good idea to reply to your customers who post a Google review. You don’t need to reply to each and every reviewer, but it’s a great habit to reply to many, and to reply in a timely manner. You can even set your Google My Business account to send you an email notification whenever a new review has been posted.
When replying, don’t inject any personal information about the reviewer other than what is public on their Google account such as their first name. You want to thank the person for posting their review. Keep your reply short and friendly. Reply more as if you’re a friend and not a salesperson. As you reply to reviews, other visitors will see that you’re active and paying attention to what your customers have to say.
If you get a negative review, you should definitely reply, but be extra careful. Do not pick a fight with the customer on Google. Remember, your reviews and your replies are seen by everyone. Be supportive, appreciative, and helpful to the customer. If your company made mistakes, be honest and take responsibility for it and make apologies as required. If the review requires a more detailed explanation or discussion, do not do it in your reply but rather take the conversation offline to address the customer’s issues in private by letting them know you’ll be calling or emailing the customer personally to address their concerns. Never get hostile, rude or emotional in your replies as the world is watching.
For more details on replying to Google reviews, here’s a support document from Google.
The short answer is no. There is no way for you to delete a Google review, even if fake, inappropriate or from a trolling competitor. However, there are ways for you to manage the situation and possibly get Google to remove it.
The first thing you should do is respond to the reviewer in a kind, courteous, non-hostile way. Be nice, direct and perhaps the reviewer will choose to remove it him or herself. If the review is clearly fake, inappropriate, or is from a competitor promoting themselves, you can flag it to be reviewed and hopefully removed by Google. Keep in mind that Google will only remove a review if it violates their policy on Prohibited and Restricted Content. Flag a review from inside your GMB account. Look for the 3 dot drop-down menu next to the review in question. Click the dots and then choose “Flag as inappropriate.” If that doesn’t work, your last resort is to contact Google My Business Support from inside your account. Click Support, then Contact Us where you can describe the problem and submit your request.
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