Whether you run a gas station, restaurant or law firm, learning how to leverage Google Reviews in your favor can be extremely rewarding for your website, and ultimately, your business. Even though they are primarily a way for customers to share information with each other about their experiences with a brand, that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage good reviews and manage poor ones to your advantage.

 

Many people rely on the comments and ratings of their peers when deciding whether to patronize an establishment or pursue a particular product or service. Google Reviews are one of the main sources for this kind of information and many of your prospective customers are likely to check them out to get a feel for what it’s like to do business with you.

 

Own Your Listing

 

Every business owner should take the time to claim ownership of their listing on Google My Business and optimize their profile so users know what products and/or services you provide and how to contact you. Verification requires you to prove that you are the owner of the business in question, and it may take some time for the site to finalize the process. By doing so, claiming ownership places you in a position to engage with customers, respond to reviews, petition against harassment and take advantage of other features that you can use to improve local SEO and user experience.

 

Goals and Milestones for Google Reviews

 

Marketing and customer survey data suggests that listings without reviews are at a serious disadvantage in the eyes of consumers compared to businesses that have many. It’s hard to have too many reviews, provided they are relatively positive, but you should try to set a goal to get at least 30 to 50 unique reviews as a starting point. It also helps if these reviews are current, as users see year-old comments as less useful than those from last week.

 

As you likely already know, the quantity of reviews is only part of the equation. Quality ratings, which are typically 4 stars or better, are incredibly important and influential in determining how users perceive you. However, it’s important to note that a perfect 5-star rating can actually work against you since it strikes users as unrealistic. The ideal rating to aim for is between 4.0 and 4.6 stars.

 

How Reviews Can Boost Your Business

 

Customer reviews are actually incredibly valuable for your customer service team, whether they are online or in-person. All successful business owners understand the importance of knowing their customers’ needs and how they respond to your products or services. Both positive and negative feedback gives you the chance to improve or capitalize on certain aspects of your business model to better service people in the future—leading to happier customers and higher quality reviews.

 

Managing Your Online Reputation for Improved Conversions

 

Your Google Reviews listing may not be the only place that customers go to evaluate your reputation, but it’s usually one of the first places they will check. This makes it a centerpiece for your digital presence. Considerate and helpful responses to reviews, both positive and negative, help viewers form an idea of how much you care about their satisfaction and how engaged you are with your customers. 

 

By providing a strong first impression, you can easily increase your organic traffic and improve the chances of them converting into a new customer. It’s a quick and free way to drive users to your site and enter them into the conversion funnel so you can keep them moving down the pipeline. 

 

Ranking for Local SEO

 

Since these reviews are integrated with Google Maps, they also have a lot of potential for boosting your local SEO ranking. Anyone using Google to search for nearby establishments is likely to stumble across your reviews if they find your listing and compare them to your competitors’. The higher quantity and quality of reviews you have—the higher your business will be listed in the search results, which means more clicks, visits and conversions. Win-win!

 

Tips for Managing Negative Feedback

 

No matter how many reviews you have or how good your rating average is, you can be sure that the vast majority of customers will intentionally seek out and read negative reviews. This means that the way you respond and handle negative feedback is critical to flipping the conversation to work in your favor. Try to reach out and solve customer problems when appropriate, but don’t be afraid to flag false reviews that are clearly left with malicious intent.

 

Make Reviews Part of your Online Marketing Strategy

 

As experts in website development, Comit Developers is poised to give your business a competitive edge beyond the borders of your website to ensure your online presence is primed for success. 

 

Contact us today to discuss a custom website strategy that works for your individual business needs!