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 about their experiences with a brand, that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage good reviews and manage poor ones to your advantage.
How Online Reviews Can Be Used for Your Business
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.
Why Google Reviews are Important
Customer reviews are 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.
Goals and Milestones for Google Reviews
Marketing and customer survey data suggest 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 work against you since it strikes users as unrealistic. The ideal rating to aim for is between 4.0 and 4.6 stars.
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 how you 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 left with malicious intent.
Maximizing Your Online Presence with Google Reviews
Simply having reviews online is great, but how can you take this a step further to respond to customer feedback and direct them to your store or website? The tips below will help you take that next step from simply having reviews online to taking control of your business’s online reputation.
Claim Your Google Business Profile Listing
Every business owner should take the time to claim ownership of their listing on Google Business Profile (Formerly Google My Business) and optimize their profile so users know what products and services they provide and how to contact them. 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.
Take Control of Your Online Image for Better Results
Your Google Reviews listing may not be the only place 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.
Boosting Local SEO with Google Reviews
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 the 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!
Make Reviews Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy
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Contact us today to discuss a custom website strategy that works for your individual business needs!