Google is the largest search engine in the world. Per Internet Live Stats, it processes over 40,000 search queries every second. And now it’s undeniably tied to almost any decision made on a daily basis. Especially when it comes to Google business reviews and ratings.
Why Google Business Reviews and Ratings Matter
Think about it. Any time you’re looking for a new restaurant or local service, you probably use Google. Let’s say you’re looking for a coffee shop near you and five come up in a local search for your area. Which one do you choose?
If the choice comes down to a 3-star coffee shop with two mediocre reviews and a 4.5-star bistro with rave reviews about the barista, the choice is pretty simple.
And you’re not alone. Per Vendasta, 92% of consumers now read online reviews, and star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business.
What it means for your business.
For starters, if your business can’t be found on Google then you simply aren’t maximizing your online reach. Additionally, reviews and ratings can play heavily into your discoverability, especially for local searches.
A positive Google business review and high rating can boost your credibility, and even boost your SEO. But, how can small businesses organically generate more Google reviews and boost ratings?
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
As a business owner, one of the first things you should do for your online presence is claiming and verify your Google My Business listing. Doing so will not only jumpstart your organic rankings, it will help immediately increase your visibility on Google Maps, Local Finder, and Local Pack.
If you’ve already claimed your listing, great. But even if you haven’t, optimizing it shouldn’t be a labor-intensive process.
All you need to do is complete all the information Google asks for:
- Business address
- Hours of operation
- Phone number
- Website (with link!)
- Any photos
- Menu (if applicable)
- Ensure all information is correct!
It’s important to note that other people (strangers!) can suggest changes for your listing. This means some of the information on your listing could be misleading or inaccurate.
Any errors will inevitably frustrate new and existing customers. For example, if the hours displayed are incorrect, some people might show up at your door expecting you to be open when you aren’t. This could certainly lead to more reviews, but definitely not the kind you’re looking for!
Claiming your Google business listing and ensuring all of the information is accurate is an important step towards helping your business to stand out against any competitors!
Make It Easy For Your Customers To Leave Reviews
Now how can you actually generate more Google business reviews and ratings? First, eliminate any possible friction that exists between your customers and leaving a review in the first place. After all, they should want to leave a review.
In the eyes of a good business owner, every customer served should be a forever customer. One way to remain in regular contact and drive traffic to your business’ website is to utilize a regular email newsletter. And with every customer, your email list should grow.
Any email campaigns sent out should remind your customers to review your business on Google. If it’s not directly addressed, they probably aren’t going to do it. So it’s okay to give them a gentle nudge from time to time, especially if you provided excellent service!
But you can’t just ask people to review your business and expect to have glowing reviews each time. You’ll also need to manage your reputation (more on this in a moment).
It’s important to remember that engaging with your customers and encouraging them to leave a review is only one part of the equation.
Respond To Reviews
The second half is actually responding to reviews. Be proactive and try to respond in a timely manner. Now, not all reviews require a response.
The occasional “thank you”-type response to a glowing review is great. But negative reviews in particular should always be addressed. If left behind unanswered, they can be damaging to your reputation over time.
Responding to a negative review means interacting with an unhappy customer. It might feel awkward, but really it’s an opportunity for you to grow and learn from any potential mistakes.
But no one enjoys conflict, and these situations can get tricky. So, how should you go about answering negative reviews? Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
- Keep your response short and professional.
- Acknowledge the customer’s concerns and apologize (the customer’s always right, after all!).
- Share the standards you typically hold yourself to and what customers usually experience when visiting your business.
- If necessary, offer to move the conversation elsewhere (i.e. phone or email).
The good news about negative reviews is that:
- Constructive criticism can help you improve.
- If you are successful in dealing with the situation, your biggest haters will become your biggest supporters.
- And a negative review with a tactful response shows growth for any future potential customers who may come across it. It may make all the difference in someone’s decision in choosing your business.
Use a Review and Reputation Management Service
Review and reputation management can be a full time job in itself. If you’re struggling to drive and maintain positive Google business reviews and ratings, consider outsourcing for review and reputation management.
Luckily, Multiverse Media Group offers a full-on review and reputation management service. Our comprehensive approach will help build customer trust and credibility for your business.
Which will help your local search rankings (and how you fair against the competition) and lead to more web traffic, leads, and conversions. Not to mention the customer loyalty that will naturally build.
What does review and reputation management look like with MVMG?
A cohesive brand foundation that includes the creation, branding, and full optimization of popular review sites (not just Google), for max customer visibility and impact.
We make it easy to add and update customer contacts to input into our system, streamlining the entire process of our app. Negative reviews are re-routed for response and resolution before they’re posted to any channels.
Monthly reports will help you track your reputational improvement and gain insight on any customer trends to further help your business growth.
The best part? You get to sit back, relax, and focus on what’s most important to you: running your successful business.
Why wait? Get started with MVMG’s review and reputation management service today and improve your Google business reviews and ratings!
How Google Reviews Can Affect Your Business
Reviews can affect your search engine optimization (SEO). Search rankings influence online visibility. In the case of business owners it’s the difference between getting lost in the crowd or toppling the competition in search result pages.
Ratings and reviews also affect consumer purchasing decisions. The 4.5-star bistro will almost always beat out the 3-star coffee shop.
In that vein, striving to get as many five-star reviews as possible is of utmost importance. If you’re service is already excellent and you go above and beyond to offer a quality experience, you’re already home free. All it takes is a little proactive encouragement on your part to try and drive that completed positive review.
As a local business building an online presence, there are few things more important than building a positive reputation through Google business reviews and ratings. Positive reviews (and the right interaction with any negative) can increase your authority and credibility, and even boost your visibility in search engines.
You can take steps on your own to build a strong core audience for your business. But it takes time and practice to organically grow and manage your customer engagement. Particularly engagement that drives more reviews and ratings.
So if you’re ready to take the next step in building your online presence and dominate local searches, reach out to us at Multiverse Media Group today. Let’s grow together!