If you’re here, you know that Google reviews are important for any local business. Potential clients are comparing your business with others in your area, and reviews are a great way to stand out. The Google My Business platform has stood the test of time and has become an important component for any local SEO strategy. Additionally, Google reviews aren’t losing any importance in 2020 and are a major contributor to attracting new business.
Think about this: when you shop on Amazon, what is the one thing you do before you check out? I bet you read the reviews.
Am I right?
I certainly read the reviews.
Before I even click into a product, I look at the star rating, as you can see above. At a quick glance, I can see if other people like the product, and can immediately determine if I’m interested in learning more. If there’s a low star rating, it’s safe to assume the experience or product itself isn’t worth my time.
I also look at the number next to the stars. I like to know how many people reviewed the product. Why? Because if only one person rated it five stars, then I don’t really know if the product is that great. One person isn’t enough to convince me. I need at least 3-5 people to confirm it’s either good or bad. If there are dozens of reviews, or even hundreds, and the rating is still 4 or 5 stars, then I know I can trust that business.
The same is true for Google reviews.
Let’s do a quick test to truly understand what we’re dealing with here. Let’s say I’m in Nashville, and searching for a plumber. These are the first two results along with a map that show they’re about equal distance from where I’m located.
If you are in the market for a plumber, which one would you call? While they both have high scores, I can see that TN Plumbing Solutions has a bit lower of a score, but has many more reviews, whereas GNC Plumbing only has one review. It’s likely that I’ll call the first option, because in a split-second, I can see their reputation is clearly high. (This is also why they appear number one – more, better reviews are one of the indicators that help you outrank your competition!)
As we’ve talked about before on the blog, Google has shifted the way we operate online. We’ve now got tools provided to us through web search that allow us to make a decision before ever clicking through to a business’ website. We can read reviews, call the business, see their location and pictures all from the SERP. As a result, Google reviews are the initial deciding factor for local businesses. If your star rating and reviews are positive, more people will pick up the phone and call or take the plunge to click into your website.
You could have the most well-designed logo or the neatest profile photo for your business. But, if your ratings and reviews are terrible, customers are way less likely to contact you for anything.
When it comes to your local presence on Google and your local SEO, you MUST focus on getting peer endorsements in the form of reviews. It’s the No. 1 deciding factor from the beginning for acquiring new business from Google traffic.
You can’t get around asking your customers/clients to review you; it’s that simple. You must ask someone to leave a review if you’re going to get a review. You can ask for a review in a multitude of ways:
Take any and every opportunity you can to ask a customer to review you. While it seems easy to say, it can feel awkward to ask a customer for a review. Look for customers you have a close relationship for to cut your teeth on it, and normalize it as part of your business, and soon enough, it will feel natural.
Refer to the video above and show your customer how to leave a review. Some will know how to do it, no problem. Others will have no idea how to leave a review on Google. Remember, the process goes like this:
The key here is showing a customer that they must sign into Google and navigate to your business listing on Google to leave the review. Sometimes that’s difficult for people to do, so show them how. You can also provide them a direct link to your Google Maps listing, which will prompt the review panel to open.
Yes you can. Follow these easy steps to find the web link to your review section:
1. Search for your business on Google (you may have to do this away from your location for the GMB info to show on the right hand side)
2. Click the reviews section within your GMB information
3. Click “Write a review”
4. Now select the entire link at the top and copy it. This link is what you can provide to people.
Of course, you can shorten the link using a URL service like bit.ly.
This is the gateway to getting more Google reviews – the link that immediately sends someone to the review section of your GMB (Google My Business). Otherwise, they could get lost along the way and we certainly don’t want that.
Remember, we all get busy. We all forget a few things. When you ask someone to leave a review, remember that they probably have 10 other things on their to-do list for the day. It may take them a week to get around to writing the review. They may forget altogether. Make sure you follow up with them within two weeks and remind them about leaving a review. We all need a nudge from time-to-time.
If you’re new to Google reviews and having your business/organization on Google then you may wonder where the reviews actually show…
Google reviews will show in two prominent places:
When searching for a business/organization by name, and they have a Google My Business listing, then you will see their listing and any reviews for them directly in the search results. You can also be searching for something local, such as “local hamburger joint,” and see Google reviews for those listed in Google’s search results. We call that section of maps listings in Google the “local pack,” and you can immediately their star rating, which is derived from their Google reviews.
Google reviews can also be seen directly in the Google Maps app. Since Google My Business listings are connected to Google Maps, whenever you search for a place or click on a location, you will have the ability to see their Google reviews. If they don’t have any, that will be listed as well.
When you think about it, the reviews of your business/organization can be seen by millions using Google Search and Google Maps, which is why it’s so important to have Google reviews in order to stand out from the crowd.
One way to gauge whether you’re ahead or behind is to see how many reviews your competitors have. If they have more, then you have some work to do. If they have less, then give yourself a pat on the back, but don’t stop there. Keep striving to get more Google reviews.
In short, no.
And while that’s frustrating at times because you may get a bogus review that completely throws off your star rating and your public appearance, it’s an important step in Google providing accurate information. Imagine if the plumbers shown above were able to delete any review that wasn’t favorable? Their ratings would be biased and would lead to many more bad interactions, with no path for improvement or accountability.
But, for honest and reliable businesses, there are step you can take.
What can you do to dispute a bogus or bad Google review?
1. Flag the review as inappropriate
2. Get support through your Google My Business dashboard
3. Legal removal through Google
What do we recommend you do?
First, if it is a bogus Google review or malicious, make sure you flag the review. Second, respond to the review anyway, and respond that day if you can. Even if it is bogus and fake, offer to make amends and fix the situation. This will reflect well upon your organization and help those who see the bad review.
Third, if the review isn’t removed by Google after a week or more, follow up with them through the support section of your Google My Business dashboard. Try to email or call the Google My Business support team regarding the issue and plead your case.
If you realized halfway through this post that you don’t have a Google My Business profile, don’t worry. We will walk through that process here.
First, getting Google My Business is completely free.
All you need is a Google account (typically a Gmail account) and start the signup process here: https://www.google.com/business/
Step 1: Click Start Now
Step 2: Add your business name and address
Step 3: “I deliver goods and services to my customers” – if you don’t do business with customers at your address (if you use a residential address), then you need to check this box because you’ll be able to hide your address while still being listed in the area. This is called a “service-area business.”
Step 4: Add the rest of your business information and make sure your contact information is accurate.
Step 5: Go through the verification – this can be a quick verification phone call or it could be a postcard in the mail. Either way, follow the verification method because you need to be verified for your business listing to go live.
Step 6: If you get a postcard for verification, don’t forget to go back to Google My Business and enter the code.
Step 7: Once you’re verified, fill out as much information on your listing as you can, including hours, and subcategories.
Step 8: Pat yourself on the back, you’re now listed.
There might come a time when you receive a bad review on Google. While we wish a bad review wouldn’t pop up, it certainly can. And while we wish we could remove bad reviews, we can’t on Google.
YES, you absolutely should address them.
Do not let a bad review linger on your Google My Business profile for everyone to see.
Part of being a great company, in spite of a poor review, is doing everything you can to address it with professionalism and class. Don’t shy away from the opportunity to do something good here.
It might be uncomfortable to say “sorry” to someone who dropped you a bad review and whom you had a poor experience with yourself. But this isn’t the moment to be emotional. Be empathetic and be sorry for the way they feel. This goes a long way.
Offer to right the wrong. I’m sure you already offered to right the wrong before the review popped up, but offer again here for everyone to see as well.
Here’s an example of how we did this very thing:
Right this very moment you need to see how many reviews you have on your Google business listing. Go ‘Google’ your business and see. Set a goal of getting 5 or 10 reviews. Make a list of customers you can ask for a review. If you can’t think of 5 happy customers, then ask someone in your business who interacts with customers on a regular basis. Put together a list and then ask them, show them, and remind them. You will get reviews, and you’ll be on your way to getting your business more leads.