The importance of Google reviews and how to get them.
Why does my business need Google reviews?
90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. While all reviews are important for a business, Google Reviews have the most impact because people turn to Google more than any other search engine or review site.
It’s all about Google!
Google is often the first place consumers look when they are searching for almost anything - a dentist accepting new patients, a good restaurant for an anniversary dinner, or even the best place to get the car serviced.
Google’s robust and ever-adapting search engine, maps, business listings, and reviews ensure that the searcher gets the information that he or she is looking for – information that is comprehensive, relevant and reliable. Google reviews follow the same stringent quality that all other Google products are known for. Bottom-line – Google reviews inspire trust!
Local search ranking and Google reviews
Local search ranking on Google (or SEO) is extremely important, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar store, or if your business provides a service to a certain locality. Your business needs to show up higher than your competitors’ if you want the customer to consider your business.
Google trusts its review platform and factors it into your overall ranking on the search engine. Simply put, more Google reviews = better local search ranking.
Quality, Quantity, and Frequency
Obviously, the quality of reviews is important for showing potential customers they can trust your business. If your business shows up high on search rankings, you definitely need to look good in order for the customer to choose you.
Of course, quantity matters as well. According to Brightlocal, top-ranking local businesses have an average of 47 Google reviews, while the typical business has around 39. The evidence is clear: More reviews help customers to discover your business.
But that’s not all. Businesses need to seek out reviews frequently. The more recent the review, the more relevant it is to the customer. Research shows that 92% of customers consult online reviews before making a purchase decision while 44% of customers consider reviews older than a month irrelevant.
How can I get Google reviews for my business?
Getting Google reviews for your business is actually quite simple once you have set everything up. The process really starts with claiming and setting up your Google My Business account.
Once this is done, all you have to do is ask your customers to leave their feedback on Google. Let’s break it down into two easy-to-follow steps.
Helping Customers Find Your Business on Google in 2 Steps
Google My Business is a free tool that helps you manage how your business appears in Google Search and Google Maps. Using this tool ensures correct information is available to your customers and as a bonus, helps to boost your business in local search rankings.
Step 1: Claiming Your Business Profile
If your business has been around long enough, you can find your listing with a simple company name search. Once you find it, all you need to do is claim the profile.
Google will send you a PIN to verify that you are actually the owner of the business. Most business owners choose to receive the PIN through mail, which takes a couple weeks depending on location. Email and phone verification are also available for select businesses.
Step 2: Updating Your Business Information
Now that your Google My Business account has been claimed, you can start adding information to your profile that will help more customers discover your business.
These steps will go a long way to make your profile look complete and trustworthy to both customers and Google’s ranking algorithm.
If you cannot locate your profile and have to create one from scratch, here is a quick guide to help you on how to setup Google my business page.
Tips to Maximize Google Reviews
Once you claim your profile, you are ready for more customers to discover your business through Google. However, before we jump into the process of getting more reviews, here are a few things that you should keep in mind:
Like everything else in the world, it’s about timing. Studies have confirmed that 70% of your customers will write you a review if you just ask them. We have found that the timing of these requests is just as important as making sure all customers get your request for feedback. Let’s say your client just got this gorgeous haircut that she absolutely loves. Now if you were to send her a request to write a review the very same day, there is a good chance that she will oblige. But the chances of her providing feedback will get significantly slimmer if you send this request a week or two after her visit.
Ask all your customers for reviews.
Make sure you ask all your customers for reviews - each one of them. Sometimes businesses like to cherry-pick their customers and request reviews selectively from only satisfied customers. This not only prevents you from getting well-rounded feedback on your business or services. but also impacts the number of reviews you get. In addition, Google does not support this type of review gating and recently updated its review guidelines to reflect this. Reviews are meant to describe authentic experiences from unbiased sources, so when you ‘gate’ reviews, they are no longer from unbiased sources.
Keep it simple.
When you keep the process easy enough, compliance and returns will be higher. The process of getting reviews needs to be easy for you as well as for your customers. Make sure that you keep it easy for your customer to write a review. If you ask them to look for you online and then write a review, you are asking them to do a lot of work and you may not get the results that you are hoping for. There are two ways to make this process easier for the customer.
Get new Google Reviews manually
If you are someone who prefers to do everything yourself, that’s great. All you need to do is look for the review link for your business on Google and send that to your customers via email or SMS. This makes it convenient for your customers to write a review by simply clicking on the link you send them.
Get Google Reviews automatically
In reality, you have a business to run. Sending review requests to all your customers manually every day can be a time-consuming process Consequently, this all too important activity will at some point fall by the wayside in favor of other priorities.
This is why we recommend that you automate the process of getting reviews. Let review generation be a part of what you do naturally as part of running your business like sending an invoice.
A review generation software can take care of all this for you. G4H, for example, uses deep-linking to route customers directly to the Google review form in one click. This makes the process of writing a review even easier than not writing one - especially when the customer is happy with their experience and likes your business. G4H takes care of this process not just for Google reviews, but also any other third-party sites you want new reviews on.
G4H is fully integrated with Google, so every step of the review collection process is automatic. In fact, G4H is one of the few companies who is integrated directly with Google's private API, which makes the collection process easier and review load times faster.
You have reviews - now what?
When your customers write a review for your business, they have invested time to encourage you or give you feedback. It is therefore only fair that you acknowledge that effort by ensuring that each of these reviews is responded to in a timely manner. In addition to acknowledging the customer for their input, your responses to these reviews also impact your SEO.
If the volume of reviews is high, you may feel that responding to each and every review is cumbersome. At G4H, we believe that managing and responding to reviews is almost as important as getting them in the first place.
Using G4H, business owners can conveniently respond to all reviews right from the dashboard. They can even set up rules to auto-post responses based on certain review criteria.
Wondering how to write an impactful response to a review. Check out these cool positive review examples.
Can I delete Google reviews?
The fact of the matter is - all businesses are likely to get a negative review at some point or another. Negative reviews hurt. But remember they also offer insight into things you can improve.
Responding tactfully to these negative reviews with a real promise to improve will help your business in the long run as it will demonstrate a commitment to taking customer feedback seriously. However, if the review is fake you can (and should) take action. Google will support you in case you have a solid reason to back your claim of a fake review.
Start collecting Google reviews today
Whether your business is lacking an online presence or you have so many Google reviews that you don’t know how to manage them - G4H is here to help. Getting more Google reviews is just the first step.
As new reviews start pouring in, you need a strategy in place to manage and respond to them in a timely manner to help you get new customers and retain the ones you already have. Click here to see how G4H can help your business be the best business.