Word of mouth has always been a powerful asset for business owners. We trust our fellow community members to steer us towards high-quality companies we should spend our money with. And, of course, the internet makes this process easier than it’s ever been.
Google reviews offer a snapshot of what your local community thinks about a restaurant, shop, or service. It’s growing more and more important to garner good reviews online, specifically on Google. In fact, 79% of buyers report that they trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend.
⇮ How wild is that?!
Clearly, there are other review websites out there where customer crawl for the best business. Yelp definitely opened up the doors to new possibilities! However… who’s using Yelp now? Unless you’ve got the app or you directly want to only use Yelp for reviews, you’re probably just going to do a Google search. I mean, who wouldn’t? It’s the most common search engine to use these days and it has reviews pulled up right there on a business profile!
Google reviews are important. But how much of an impact can they truly make? Let’s take a look at how they can benefit your business - whether small, medium, or even large.
Need a game plan for reviews? Contact us to develop your review processes and increase your local SEO.
Why Are Google Reviews So Important?
Google reviews can give your business a boost in more ways than one. You might be surprised at what you can gain from customer feedback. But before you can start to collect reviews, you’ll need to create a Google Business Profile (GBP) account.
This will allow you to show up on Google Maps and Search and have a profile for customers to leave their thoughts. Once you have your GBP account established you can start to reap the benefits of collecting Google reviews.
Related article: Google Maps vs Google Search, Where Are Your Users?
Once you start collecting reviews, you can see benefits such as these:
Puts Your Business On the Map… Literally
As we mentioned before, once you create a GBP account, your business will appear on Google Maps. Appearing here is instrumental in running a successful local SEO campaign. Maintaining a spot on Google Maps and collecting reviews there can attract new customers to your business.
Now, some quick facts!
- “Near me” searches have doubled in the last year .
- 86% of individuals look up the location of a business using Google Maps.
People in your market will be searching here before picking a place to do business with. And most of them will also look at reviews while they’re there too.
Good Reviews = Credibility
A collection of glowing Google reviews automatically shows potential customers that you have the credibility to back your business up. We are social creatures. We innately want to know what our fellow humans' experience is in uncharted territory –i.e. your business– so we can see if we should dare to tread there too. Good reviews satisfy our need for validation when seeking our goods and services from a new company.
Google Reviews Boost Local SEO
Local SEO is a huge part of running a successful small to medium-sized business. Yes, it’s also good for larger companies too! This offshoot of SEO aims to help display your GBP profile higher on Google Maps as well as help you rank on the SERPs (search engine results pages) higher than your local competition.
Yeah, even Starbucks can be outranked.
There are many moving parts involved in SEO. According to Moz, review signaling accounts for around 15.44% of your ranking power for local SEO. However, take this with a grain of salt. Based on our own research of helping local clients rank on Google through GBP, we’ve found that the weight of reviews is significantly less than you’d think.
Yes, reviews are a ranking signal, but you’ll probably notice a lot of businesses are ranking above you WITHOUT reviews or with nasty reviews. This is because of many factors, most likely the business name or proximity to the customer’s search. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re getting phone calls, quite the opposite.
Reviews substantiate a business on a directory such as Google Maps. Better reviews, filled with information (so not just a star rating) are more important to customers. They tell a story of another customer’s experience, which leads to a higher conversion rate.
In local SEO, it’s okay to be ranking, it’s better to be getting conversions to coincide with that visibility.
Positive Google reviews are a great tool to boost your standing and even get you into the Local Map Pack. You know, that area in Google Search that shows the top 3 businesses for a local keyword query. Yeah, that Local Map Pack!
Identify Your Growth Edge
No one wants to see a negative review on their GBP account! But criticism can help you identify where you need to improve as a business.
In short: Hear your customers out.
If they had a bad experience, listen to their concerns with an open mind. Is there anything you or your employees could have done better? If they identify a problem area, find ways to address it so you never have to worry about upsetting another customer for the same reason. Of course, some reviews will be more constructive than others. Use your discernment to take stalks in the criticism that matters.
In the end, how you handle it (and you SHOULD handle it) matters to that customer and other customers. Plus, if you don’t respond to it, it could damage your ranking.
Google Reviews Improve Click-Through Rates
Click-through rates are another vital piece of SEO. The more people click on your landing page from Google, the more “juice” you’ll earn towards ranking. The more traffic you garner, the more relevant and credible search engines will deem you.
Google reviews can help you achieve a better click-through rate. As potential customer searches Google Maps, they can see every business’s average rating. If they see that you have a good rating, they just might decide to click on your website link to learn more. Or they’ll straight up call you!
Offers Better Communication With Customers
The internet makes it easy as pie to connect with your customers. Building relationships is a huge part of maintaining a business. Every review you receive is another opportunity to strengthen your customer communication. Good or bad, a review gives you an inside look at how people are perceiving your business. Having this information can help you accommodate your customers’ needs more effectively and strengthen your relationship.
How To Maximize Your Google Reviews
Now that we have a good understanding of how Google reviews can benefit a business, you might be wondering how to get them. Well, there are quite a few effective ways to garner reviews on your GBP account. Here are just a handful that we recommend.
Ask Your Customers to Review
You would be surprised how far simply asking for reviews can get you. It’s easy to assume those you ask might blow you off but statistics actually suggest otherwise. Believe it or not, 7 out of 10 consumers will actually leave a review for a business if they’re asked to. So don’t be afraid to ask for a review when you gain a new customer. They might just be willing to.
Reply to All Reviews
You can reply to every review individually on GBP. You should reply to as many reviews as possible – both negative and positive. This signals to the customer that you are an engaged business owner. Thank those with positive reviews and try to address concerns in a professional tone. Don’t be rude when replying to a review – even if it’s bogus. When you reply to your reviews, other customers will see that you care about feedback and might be more primed to leave their own thoughts too.
Maintain a Top-Tier Business
Good service will always win the day. You probably already put this into practice but it’s always important to keep in mind. Each successful transaction and each exemplary display of customer service really do add up. If you consistently go above and beyond to be the best in your business, you will eventually see reviews to back that up. Conversely, if you provide bad service, you can almost guarantee that you’ll earn a negative review.
And there you have it! Now go out there and get those reviews!
Need more guidance in the world of digital marketing? Get in touch with Beyond Blue Media today to find out how we can help navigate marketing with you! 🚀