If you have suddenly started obsessing about your business’s Google reviews, you are not alone. Successful businesses (small, medium or big) have been using the power of Google reviews for quite some time now. Don’t worry, it’s never too late to get on board. So, “How do I keep track of my reviews on Google?” you ask. We have answers.
In this blog post we will look at:
- Why are Google reviews important?
- Asking for Google reviews
- Responding to negative reviews
- Remove Google reviews
Why are Google reviews important?
Before we dive in, let’s take a second to understand why Google reviews are important. Your business is your baby and you want everyone to know about, purchase and love your product or service. Right? That’s totally understandable, and Google reviews go a long way in helping you achieve this.
Here are our top three reasons why Google reviews are so important:
- Reviews impact decisions: It’s basic consumer behavior to check reviews on Google before making a purchasing decision. Almost 91% of millennials (your customers and a group of people who like to spend money) trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family.
The days of asking your neighbor for a recommendation are long gone. Heck, I don’t even know who my neighbors are. Consumers are wary of businesses with no reviews and are most likely to choose a business with a high star rating and a healthy number of reviews. According to the Spiegel Research Center, displaying reviews increases conversion by a stunning 270%.
- Reviews are social proof: This ties in with the previous point about recommendations. If we aren’t asking each other for recommendations, who are we asking? We are asking the trusty ol’ world wide web. Reviews are social proof that your service is outstanding and when it comes to search engines, Google has the most credibility. So much so that the words “Google” and “search” are used as synonyms. I mean, who hasn’t said: “I’m going to Google that”? I know I say it 10 times a day.
- Google reviews improve your search rankings: Another great way to make sure that you are the go-to business for a search query is to be high up on the search rankings. 3 out of 4 people never scroll past the first page of results. These are not just random statistics — don’t we all feel that the further you go down the search pages, the less relevant the content gets to your search query? Chances are your customers feel the same.
Also, Google changes in 2020 indicate that the algorithm is now paying close attention to user-generated content (like reviews) when it comes to picking up signals for ranking. Businesses with positive reviews will continue to rank higher in regular and local searches. Websites that get reviews and comments will also rank higher in searches. This makes Google reviews more important than ever.
Asking for Google reviews
Now that we are all on the same page about the importance of having reviews on Google how do we get more reviews? Well, the simple answer to this question is: ask.
Let’s dig a little deeper to understand how exactly you convert your happy customers into reviews. Here is a step by step guide to asking your customers for Google reviews:
Set up your Google My Business profile
Claim your Google My Business (GMB) profile today, if you don’t already have one. It’s the first thing that your customers see when they search for your business. The best part is that it is 100% free. Google does not charge businesses for their listings. Now you really don’t have a reason to not claim it. Having a GMB profile makes your business stand out in local search too.
Get the short link
It’s quite a simple thing to do and makes a huge difference too. A short link makes it easy for you to share our Google My Business profile with the world. Check out our step-by-step guide to understanding what the GMB short link is and how you can claim it.
Send review requests
Now we get to the asking part. Happy customers are almost always happy to leave reviews when asked. As a business owner, you need to make this process as easy as possible to make sure that you have a steady stream of reviews. This means creating a GMB page and sending review requests to start with. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind while sending review requests:
- Timing: Timing is key to sending out review requests. We recommend that you send a review request close to when the transaction occurs. Imagine you have a happy customer at your spa today. If you send them a review request a week later, they probably don’t remember much about the visit and are less likely to write a review.
- Audience: Don’t just ask your happy or regular customers for reviews. Ask all your customers. Review gating is discouraging negative feedback. Google and Birdeye are both against it. If you thought: My reviews on Google should all be positive; you thought wrong. It actually helps to have some negative feedback on your reviews. This is because no product or service is 100% perfect and customers are aware of this. This is why customers don’t trust five-star reviews.
How to respond to negative Google reviews
First off, negative feedback is always disappointing. As a business owner, you put in a lot of effort to make sure that your product or service satisfies the customer. It can be terribly disappointing when this doesn’t happen.
When you receive a critical review or a negative review, it can be quite tempting to defend yourself or tell your customers how they are wrong. But, don’t do that.
Here are a few tips to respond to negative reviews:
- Take a deep breath. This too shall pass.
- Be polite. We cannot stress this enough. Your future customers are reading this and they do not want to see you being rude to a paying customer, whatever the reason. The customer is always right and all that jazz.
- Don’t ignore it. It can be tempting to just close your eyes and hope the review goes away. But negative feedback is also another chance to win over your customers. Respond to the review and address the issue. When you respond and try to address your customer’s dissatisfaction, you have a shot at making them edit or remove the harsh review.
- Hit ‘em with facts. If you have a different version of how things happened, air your story. But remember, do it politely. I cannot stress this enough because nobody wants to do business with argumentative business owners.
- Sometimes businesses get hit by fake reviews, which are different from negative reviews. Knowing the difference between the two can help you deal with both effectively.
Remove Google reviews
Can I remove my reviews on Google? Every business owner has thought this, especially when they get hit by fake reviews or when a difficult customer leaves a harsh review that totally misrepresents the situation. The short answer to this question is — well, you can try.
It’s definitely not as simple as logging into your Google My Business profile and deleting reviews that you don’t agree with. Google doesn’t allow this and for good reason. If this were possible, every business will have a five-star rating and only glowing reviews. Kinda beats the point, eh?
But there are still a couple of things you can do as a business owner to remove a Google review:
- Flag it: If you flag a review as inappropriate, an independent moderator will take a closer look at the post to check if the writer is someone with a conflict of interest or by a fake profile. If others flag the post too, it will get more attention from Google, which might lead to its removal.
- Report to Google Small Business Support: If flagging the review is not getting the desired result, you can dial up the urgency by a notch. By contacting Google’s support for businesses, you can bring attention to unfair reviews. You can choose to receive help via phone, webchat or email. Typically, you should hear back within 24 hours.
If you require urgent help, it also helps to tweet to the company @GoogleMyBiz. After someone contacts you, the responsibility is on you (the business owner) to convince Google’s support team about how the review was unfair. Sometimes this gets escalated to a specialist for review.
How can Birdeye help
With Birdeye, you can maintain consistent listings across 150+ sites, including your Google My Business page. You can also send automated Google review requests to all your customers, monitor their responses, respond to the reviews, and post them to social media — all from a single dashboard. Curious to find out more? Check out our free demo.