Customers trust the opinions and experiences of others, which is why Google reviews are essential to your business’s success. Reviews help you get discovered through Google Search while they build trust and brand awareness at the same time.
Learn how to leverage, manage and respond to reviews on Google in our comprehensive guide.
Why Google Reviews Are Important
With over 90% share of the search engine market, Google is the most popular and widely used search engine worldwide. Many internet users have Google Search as their default site when opening their web browser, and it’s their preferred site for reading and leaving reviews.
In addition, studies have found that over 93% of today’s customers check reviews before deciding on buying from a business. That means reviews have a significant impact on your sales and revenue, which is why you need to work on regularly getting Google reviews. Read on to find out how to go about it!
Firstly, you should note that reviews on Google improve your search engine ranking in the following ways:
- Google Trusts Your Customers – Google considers reviews of customers as proof of the quality of a product or service. That’s why businesses with more positive reviews rank higher in Google searches.
- Google Provides Users With the Best Information on Any Search Topic – Google’s goal is to provide searchers with the information they seek. Reviews that include keywords relevant to your business make it easier for Google to grasp what type of services you provide.
- The More Reviews You Have, the Higher You Rank on Google – While a rating of 5 stars shows potential customers that people like what you offer, it’s not enough to rank high on Google Search. You also need a lot of reviews. Generally, the more reviews you have, the higher you rank on Google.
- Reviews Appear on Google Maps – Another perk of Google reviews is that they appear on Google Maps. And with a bit of effort, you can even land one of the coveted top three positions on Google’s local map. Simply follow these rules:
- Always keep your Google My Business Profile information updated.
- Keep all your information, including name, location/address, email address phone number, etc. consistent across your Google My Business Profile, website, social media channels, and listing sites.
- Have ample reviews and respond to each one of them within 24 hours
How Can I Get Google Reviews for My Business?
If you’re wondering how to ask for a Google review from customers for your business, check out our top tips:
Timing Is Everything
Anytime a customer purchases a service or product from you, send them a review quest within 24 hours. Don’t wait any longer, as customers are less likely to leave a review the more time goes by.
Keep It Simple
It’s not easy to get someone’s attention on the internet, and the same holds true for customers whom you ask to leave a review. That’s why you have to keep the review process as simple as possible.
Don’t ask for a review in person, as customers are unlikely to follow through. Instead, send a review request via email or text and customers can just follow a link to leave their review.
Empower Your Employees
Your employees can absolutely move the review needle in your favor. Empower them to interact with customers in a positive way. Customers often review their experience based on the way in-store employees treated them. Allow employees to send review requests to the customers, as they are more likely to respond if they’ve had a personal relationship.
How to Politely Ask Customers for a Review
If you feel uneasy about asking customers for a public review, don’t be. In fact, it’s a common practice amongst businesses and it can help you grow your visibility through Google Search.
Here’s a straightforward but polite email template you can send to customers:
Subject Line: How Was Your Experience?
We are always working on improving our products and services and would love to hear about your experience with us.
Please take a moment to provide your feedback at the link below:
(insert review request link to your Google Business Profile)
Thank you for taking the time to leave your review!
How to Respond to Google Reviews
Responding to Google reviews is a crucial part of managing your digital presence on the platform. When a customer makes an effort to leave feedback, they deserve to get a timely response from you.
What’s more, customers view review responses as a sign of trust, and Google profiles of businesses that respond to their reviews generally rank higher.
When you respond to a negative review in a constructive way, you show prospective customers that you care how they feel, that you’re professional, and that you’re willing to improve your services to offer the best possible experience.
Here’s how to respond to Google reviews:
- Go to business.google.com to login into your Google My Business account
- Hover to the three bars on the left-side menu and click on Location
- Now, select “Manage reviews” for an overview and choose a review to respond to
- Choose “View and reply”, then write your response
What to Write In Your Google Review Response
Regardless of whether a customer was happy with their experience at your business or not, you should always leave a review. Keep it professional and show that you appreciate their taking the time to provide feedback.
Here’s how you should respond to Google reviews:
- Thank the Customer for Leaving Feedback – Start by showing appreciation for their review. If they leave positive feedback, thank them for their kind words. It’s a great way to show that you value your customers and to boost loyalty.
- Encourage the Customer to Return – Once you’ve thanked them for their review, make sure they know that they’re always welcome to return and that you would happily serve them again. This helps boost customer morale and can lead to repeat purchases.
- Keep Your Response Short – Nobody likes reading long paragraphs so you don’t have to leave a lengthy reply. Instead, keep your response short, sweet, and professional.
- Respond Within 24 Hours – Check your reviews regularly and always reply within 24 hours. If you wait too long to respond, especially to a negative review, the customer may not change their mind about your business.
In Case of a Negative Review…
No business has 100% positive reviews. There are always some customers unhappy with their purchase or experience. If you’re wondering how to respond to a negative Google review, it’s simple: always keep it professional and friendly. Avoid getting emotional or taking things personally and never get into an argument with a customer or reviewer.
Leave your contact details to encourage them to contact you offline – this can help speed up a resolution. When you clear things up with unhappy customers personally, they may be motivated to edit or delete their original review.
While you cannot delete any reviews, you can report ones that were either not written by one of your customers or go against Google’s policy. It doesn’t guarantee that Google will delete the review, but it’s always worth a try.
3 Things to Avoid at All Costs with Google Reviews
With many businesses aware that Google reviews are crucial to their success, some use certain tactics that we recommend you avoid at all costs. Any of the following can result in getting penalized in your search rankings or your business becoming completely de-indexed from Google. Here are three tactics to avoid:
Do Not Provide Incentives
Google’s policy clearly states that you may not provide customers with incentives for reviews. The platform believes that incentives can prevent customers from leaving honest reviews and, instead, lead to bias. If you’ve been doing this, stop immediately. Otherwise, Google will penalize you in your search rankings once they find out about this.
Don’t Gate Your Reviews
Review gating refers to the practice of choosing specific customers and asking them for reviews since you believe they will leave positive ones. This is also against Google’s policy and can additionally hurt your reputation online. Plus, you never know who would be happy to leave a review and you don’t want to miss out on a chance at garnering as many reviews as possible.
Don’t Ask Employees to Leave Reviews
Employee reviews are generally biased and don’t actually provide users with valuable information as they don’t represent an actual customer experience. Don’t ask your employees to leave reviews – they likely don’t want to and this can hurt your online reputation as well.
Many people base their buying decisions on reviews they read online, which is why your Google reviews are so important. While you shouldn’t solicit reviews from friends, family, or employees, you should always encourage and respond to real customer reviews.
A positive review can boost your search engine ranking and a negative review can help you learn about blind spots or areas that need improvement.
Either way, try to garner as many as possible and manage them at all times to improve your search engine ranking and grow your business.