We’ve been asked by a lot of our clients recently about Google reviews, so we decided to write this article to explain exactly what they are and why they’re important for your online PR. And, we’ve also got a few tips to help you get positive ones.
A Google review is essentially when someone leaves your business a little bit of feedback on Google, scoring it out of 5 along with additional comments.
Google collates the feedback and provides an average, indicated through a simple star-style bar.
Now, before we go on to why good reviews are important, it’s worth noting that people can only provide a review if the business has its own Google company page (‘Google My Business’).
If you’re a business owner who doesn’t have a Google + business page because you’re worried about the feedback, we understand.
But, as we’ll explain later it’s really important for your SEO and makes you far more visible online. So, if your business doesn’t have a Google business page, type in ‘Google My Business’ and make one today.
WHY POSITIVE REVIEWS ARE A GOOD THING (OBVIOUSLY!)
It’s not rocket science; a business with good feedback is far more likely to get clicks in Google’s search results. Good reviews add trust to the business and the product or service it provides. You already know this. You wouldn’t buy from a seller on eBay or Amazon who was badly rated, and if you saw a newspaper review of a restaurant showing a 1/5 you wouldn’t eat there (unless you’re a bit of a maverick with nothing to lose!)
Google recognises good reviews too, and as a result they’re increasingly important for SEO. If you’re a business that has a well-reviewed Google business page, you’re more likely to appear above your competitors with average or bad review scores in local search results.
This also makes Google reviews really important for your online PR. Reviews build-up over time and represent what the public really thinks about your business. When online, we all depend on the reviews of others to support our decision making for purchasing from a business, so a negative review is definitely bad PR! So, it goes without saying that positive reviews are VERY important!
WHAT TO DO ABOUT NEGATIVE REVIEWS?
We’ve found that businesses only seem interested in Google reviews after they’ve seen a bad one.
If you’re a business that has a few bad reviews sadly it’s very unlikely you can remove them. Unless the comments are slanderous or abusive, Google is very much a freedom of speech advocate; people have the right to say what they want.
If you are being targeted with abusive reviews you should contact Google. Their support team will be able to provide you with help and advice.
But, it’s also worth noting that you can reply to bad reviews.
This gives your business a BIG opportunity to save the situation, create some good will and improve your online reputation (to a certain extent) in the process.
When it comes to replying to negative reviews we recommend taking a slice of humble pie and providing a sincere apology. Let the person know their feedback is appreciated and new measures are being put in place from the feedback received. Try to encourage the person to visit you again.
HOWEVER, don’t leave an abusive or dismissive reply. It doesn’t look good to anyone who might read the review in the future and it won’t do any favours for your online PR.
Other than that, all you can do is counter the bad reviews with good ones. Sadly that’s the tricky part.
GETTING POSITIVE REVIEWS
The one big issue about getting lots of positive Google reviews is that most people don’t generally provide them (unless they’ve got something negative to say).
That means that you’re unlikely to get lots of good reviews unless you ask your customers or clients nicely.
Here are a few ideas we recommend:
- Get in touch with your most loyal customers; they should be happy to provide good feedback!
- Send a newsletter asking for feedback. What’s wrong with some honesty?
- Ask people on social media? Although watch out, this might remind unhappy customers to leave one too
- Promote leaving a Google review at your checkout or shop floor
- Turn a review into a competition. In exchange for a ‘winning review’, offer a giveaway or discount
Getting positive reviews on Google is important, so make sure you’re proactive in trying to get them!
Google reviews are becoming increasingly important for businesses and their online reputation. They affect your SEO and change how potential customers view your business – so we can’t emphasise enough how crucial they are!
No business likes bad reviews but they aren’t the end of the world and if you work hard to get positive ones (and listen to the feedback) your business will really benefit. It just takes time and a bit of effort.