Reputation Defenders

The importance of Google Reviews for a Small Business

The importance of Google Reviews for a Small Business
Kim Calloway

10 min

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The importance of Google Reviews for a Small Business

Google reviews are one of the essential elements of online reputation management for small businesses. As we've discussed before, a solid online presence is essential to growing your business, especially if you're starting. Potential customers who see negative reviews will likely avoid your business altogether. But there are ways to help improve your Google reviews, even if you don't have a lot of experience managing them yourself.

In addition to building a great website, running social media campaigns, and creating quality content, you should also focus on improving your Google reviews. This includes responding to customer complaints, asking for positive feedback, and offering incentives to reviewers.

Google reviews provide insights about your business.

Google reviews are essential for small businesses because they provide insight into how customers feel about a particular store. If you don't care about your online reviews, you're missing out on an excellent opportunity to improve your reputation and grow your customer base.

Most people know that positive reviews improve one's chances of getting hired. But many people don't realize that negative online reviews hurt just as much—if not more—than positive ones.

A recent study found that even though most people prefer reading positive reviews over negative ones, they still tend to trust negative reviews more. There's a reason why Yelp is called "the world's largest review site." As of 2018, it had more than 50 million monthly unique visitors.

Benefits of Having More Google Reviews

A new study by Moz found that having more Google reviews is better for local businesses. It's the second most crucial factor behind citations in determining where a business ranks in search engines.

The study surveyed over 200 leading SEO experts across multiple industries. Here's what they had to say:

"Google reviews are still very much relevant today. They are the number 2 ranking signal in our analysis." – Chris Ducker, Senior Consultant at Search Engine Land
"Reviews matter for local businesses because they provide credibility to the listing. If there aren't any reviews, it makes it look like no one cares about the brand." - Dan O'Brien, Director of Marketing at WordStream
"I think Google is trying to encourage more reviews. I don't see why they wouldn't want more reviews. People love to give feedback." - Rand Fishkin, CEO of Moz
"Local review signals are key to helping consumers decide whether or not to buy from a particular business. And we see more and more of those signals being used by Google." - Brian Dean, Founder of Backlinko

Drown Out the Haters

Google Reviews are a powerful tool for both consumers and small businesses alike. While it might seem like a no-brainer to delete negative reviews, they are doing so could hurt your business. Google has found that deleting reviews hurts companies more often than it helps.

In addition to hurting your brand image, deleting reviews can make customers feel like they're being ignored. And while some people aren't bothered by a few bad reviews, others don't want to see anything negative about their favorite place to eat or shop.

So how do we drown out the haters? By getting positive reviews where they count most: Google.

The best way to ensure that your online reviews remain visible to Google Search is to keep adding new online reviews. This ensures that the latest review appears at the top of the list, even if it's a negative review.

More positive reviews

As long as you continue to add online reviews, the older negative reviews will slowly sink lower and lower in the rankings, making them harder to find.

Google Reviews are like the weather - it's hard to predict what they'll do next. But we know one thing for sure: if you want to drown out the haters, ensure you're getting positive feedback daily. And if you don't already, start scheduling regular reviews now.

Google Reviews are like water — no matter how much we try to ignore them, they keep coming. But what if you could drown out the haters? You can ensure your positive reviews rise above the noise with a little strategy.

The key is to build a solid review base early on and continue adding them over time. If you focus on getting reviews from people who already know your business, it will be easier to avoid negative reviews. And while it might seem counterintuitive, the best way to get more reviews is to ask customers to write them. This works because most people don't mind sharing their experiences online, primarily if it benefits others.

Ask your friends and family.

This is why I recommend starting by asking friends and family members to review your business. They're likely to love you anyway, but the extra push of being asked to do it makes it even better. Then, once you've got some reviews under your belt, you can turn to online directories like Yelp and Google Maps to find people who haven't heard of you yet.

Once you've built a strong reviews base, you'll want to pay attention to the newest ones. While it seems obvious, it's important to note that newer reviews are more favorable than older ones. So, whenever possible, ask customers to submit reviews within 30 days of making their purchase.

Remember that Google doesn't care whether you use automated systems or human agents to collect reviews. As long as you follow the rules, you can add reviews without worrying about the quality.

Social Proof

The Key To Local Ranking Success In Google Reviews.

When people are looking for a local business, they turn to Google. They want to find out what businesses are nearby, where they can buy products and services, and what online ratings those businesses have received. If someone is looking for a restaurant, they might type something like "restaurants near me." Or maybe they're looking for a place to rent an apartment. Whatever the case, most consumers rely on Google reviews to help guide them toward the best option.

Google reviews are critical because they allow shoppers to see how others feel about a particular business. This helps build trust in the business and ensures that the consumer knows precisely what they are getting into. For example, if a shopper sees many negative reviews, they probably won't want to go there. But if she reads many positive reviews, she'll know the establishment is worth trying out.

The same thing applies to businesses themselves. Small business owner wants their brand to stand out from the competition. They don't want to waste money advertising their business, so they turn to Google reviews to give them some social proof. After all, if other customers love the business, why wouldn't anyone else?

Reviews increase traffic

In fact, according to Search Engine Land, the highest-rated businesses tend to receive the most traffic. And while it isn't always easy to obtain a good review, it can pay off big time.

For instance, let's say a business receives ten stars out of five. Customers who look up that business will now have access to information about it, including its name, address, phone number, hours of operation, payment options, etc. These are all great resources for the consumer.

While it seems simple, obtaining a few stellar reviews takes work. It would help if you thought about what types of business reviews you want to attract. Are you targeting a specific audience? Do you want to appeal to men or women, or both? What kinds of comments do you want to encourage?

To increase your chances of receiving positive reviews, try incentivizing customers to write reviews. Offer free items, discounts, coupons, or even gift cards. It could take a little extra effort, but it will pay off.

How to Manage Google Reviews

Google reviews are one of the most powerful tools for driving traffic to your site. They're also one of the easiest ways to improve your local rankings. But there's a lot of confusion about what those reviews mean. Some people think that claiming your business listing isn't enough to start building up positive reviews.

If you want to build up reviews, you'll need to do three things:

  1. Claim your business listing
  2. Ask customers to review you
  3. Respond to reviews

Let's take each of these steps one at a time.

Step One: Claiming your business listing

When you claim your business listing, you tell Google that you own the business through t

his tool Google My Business. When someone searches for your business, Google will display your listing as the first result.

To claim your listing, register on Google My Business. Then scroll down to the bottom of the Google My Business page and select the checkbox next to "Claim my business."

Step Two: Ask for Reviews

Google provides a convenient copy-and-paste link that lets you quickly request reviews from your client's inbox. You can even choose whether to include a note asking for feedback. This is super helpful because it saves you the trouble of reminding your clients to leave a review after the fact.

If you're looking for a little extra help, plenty of third-party tools out there will automate this process for you. For example, Reputation Defenders Reviews allows you to set up automated emails to be sent to your clients once a certain number of reviews have been submitted. They also provide the ability to track each review individually, which is excellent for keeping tabs on what's being reviewed and where you stand on the overall rating scale.

Step Three: Respond to All Reviews

To build trust with your customers, you must respond to every review that mentions your brand. This is because negative feedback is often overlooked, while positive feedback is usually seen as "gold." However, responding to negative reviews is just as important as responding to positive ones. If you ignore complaints, you risk losing credibility and damaging your reputation.

The best way to respond to customer reviews is to write a short comment acknowledging the issue raised by the complaint and offering to resolve it. You should include clear instructions for the customer to contact you directly regarding their concern. Asking for a follow-up email address or phone number is also a good idea.

Once you've responded to the complaint, continue to monitor the thread. Read any replies posted by the reviewer and try to engage them further. A quick response is likely to help maintain goodwill and increase the chances of future positive reviews.

More people are calling businesses directly from Google Local Listings.

About 8 to 10 months ago, we began seeing a new behavior among some of our clients. They noticed that they received more phone calls directly from Google Local Listing than from their websites. Many of these customers had never been to their websites before contacting them via phone.

We believe this shift is due to the increased importance of local listings and reviews in today's digital landscape. As consumers become increasingly reliant on mobile devices for everything from finding directions to ordering food, it makes sense that they would turn to trusted sources like Yelp and Google to find information about local businesses.

In addition, there are now several ways for consumers to discover local businesses online. For example, they can use Foursquare, Facebook Places, and Instagram apps to check into businesses, review stores, and post photos of themselves enjoying a meal or drink. These activities help build trust and credibility with potential customers, ultimately leading to more sales.

The bottom line is that Google Local Listings and Reviews are becoming increasingly important to consumers. Suppose you haven't already begun to optimize your Google Local Listing on Google My Business. In that case, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to increase traffic to your website and boost your conversion rates.

People are searching for "business name + reviews."

Google is making it easier for consumers to find local businesses via search. The number one way people use Google today is to look up local information, whether they're looking for a doctor, dentist, mechanic, or pizza place. Of course, we've been hearing about this trend for some time now, but most people don't realize just how much of a role review sites play in helping Google understand where to show those listings.

In fact, according to research conducted by Moz, over 50% of local queries include "reviews," and nearly half of those searches come directly from Google Maps. So if you want to rank well in Google Maps, you'll need to ensure your site is optimized to provide high-quality reviews.

If your competitors have better reviews, you are losing business.

If you're not getting calls, emails, or messages from people asking about your products or services, there could be a straightforward reason why - your reviews aren't good. While some businesses might think having many reviews is essential, it isn't. Most people won't even bother contacting you if you don't already have at least four out of five stars. To put it another way, if you don't already look like a great place to do business, no amount of reviews will change that.

In addition, if your reviews are low quality, you will not get called, emailed, or messaged very often. People don't want to waste their time calling companies with terrible customer service. This doesn't mean you shouldn't try to improve your reviews because you should. You have to make sure you're doing it the right way.

Great reviews make people feel like they'll get a higher level of service.

The power of a positive review is well known. Reviews help consumers make purchasing decisions and give businesses a chance to build brand loyalty among customers. But many don't know that there are ways to use negative reviews too. Negative reviews can serve as a powerful marketing tool for small businesses, helping to generate awareness about problems and issues with a company.

Some research suggests that negative reviews can be more effective than positive ones. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people tend to believe that negative reviews reflect the true nature of a business better than positive reviews. In addition, negative reviews are much easier to write than positive ones, making it less likely that someone will post a fake one.

In Conclusion

There's no doubt about it; Google Reviews is one of the most powerful tools we have today. But do you know how to use it properly?

Updated

November 16, 2022

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