GOOGLE REVIEWS: WHAT ARE THEY AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

We’ve been asked by a lot of our clients recently about Google reviews, so we decided to write this article explaining exactly what they are, why they’re important, and how to get positive ones.

THE BASICS

A Google review is essentially when someone leaves a little bit of feedback about a business with Google, scoring it out of 5 along with additional comments. The feedback is public and viewable to everyone.

Google collates all the feedback it receives for a business and provides an average, indicated through a simple star-style bar.

Now before we go on to why good reviews are important, it’s worth noting that people can only provide a review if the business has its own Google company page (‘Google My Business’).

If you’re a business owner who doesn’t have a Google + business page because you’re worried about the feedback, we understand.

But as we’ll explain later it’s important for your SEO and makes you far more visible online. So, if your business doesn’t have a Google + page, type in ‘Google My Business’ and make one today.

WHY POSITIVE REVIEWS ARE A GOOD THING (OBVIOUSLY!)

It’s not rocket science; a business with good feedback is far more likely to get clicks in Google’s search results. Good reviews add trust to the business and the product or service it provides. You already know this. You wouldn’t buy from a seller on eBay or Amazon who was badly rated, and if you saw a newspaper review of a restaurant showing a 1/5 you wouldn’t eat there (unless you’re a bit of a maverick!)

Google recognises good reviews too, and as a result they’re increasingly important for SEO. If you’re a business that has a well-reviewed Google + page, you’re more likely to appear above your competitors with average or bad review scores in local results.

So it goes without saying that positive reviews are VERY important!

WHAT ABOUT NEGATIVE REVIEWS?

If you’re a business that has a few bad reviews sadly it’s very unlikely you can remove them. Unless the comments are slanderous or abusive Google is very much a freedom of speech advocate; people have the right to say what they want.

If you are being targeted with abusive reviews you should contact Google. Their support team will be able to provide you with help and advice.

It’s also worth noting that you can reply to bad reviews. This gives you the opportunity to have your say.

When it comes to replying to negative reviews we recommend taking a slice of humble pie and providing a sincere apology. Let the person know their feedback is appreciated, and try and incentive them to visit you again. Don’t leave an abusive or dismissive reply, it doesn’t look good to anyone who might read the review.

Other than that, you’ve just got to counter bad reviews with good ones. Sadly that’s the tricky part.

GETTING POSITIVE REVIEWS

The one big issue about getting lots of positive Google reviews is that most people don’t generally provide them.

That means that you’re unlikely to get lots of good reviews unless you ask your customers or clients nicely.

Here are a few ideas we recommend:

  • Get in touch with your most loyal customers; they should be happy to provide good feedback!
  • Send a newsletter asking for feedback. What’s wrong with some honesty?
  • Ask people on social media? Although watch out, this might remind unhappy customers to leave one too.
  • Promote leaving a Google review at your checkout or shop floor
  • Turn a review into a competition. In exchange for a ‘winning review’ offer a giveaway or discount.

Getting positive reviews on Google is important, so make sure you’re proactive in trying to get them!

CONCLUSION

Google reviews are becoming increasingly important for businesses as they strongly influence potential customers and they’re beginning to play a big part in local SEO.

No one likes bad reviews but they aren’t the end of the world, if you work hard to get positive reviews (and listen to the feedback) you will slowly build up plenty of positive ones. The process just takes time.