Google Reviews Don’t Just Affect Your Online Reputation – Reviews ARE Your Online Reputation

How important are reviews and what is the impact on your web marketing?

There are many marketing benefits to be gained from lots of positive reviews. (These are defined by Google as reviews with 3 ½ stars out of 5.)

  1. Positive reviews make it easy for shoppers to select you over your competition
  2. They add keyword-rich content when you post them on your site
  3. They can generate referrals from one customer to another
  4. They add credibility to your website
  5. They allow you the opportunity to address poor reviews before they begin to tarnish your reputation
  6. Your paid search ads (Google AdWords) will display the bright orange stars to viewers on the search result pages. This has a huge influence on the click-through-rates because the ads practically jump off the pages.
  7. Your natural (organic) listing may also display the stars, making even lower position results stand out
  8. Provide improved rankings on the search engines
  9. Populate the Internet with positive reviews
  10. Become one of the most influential and trusted service providers in your community.

In order for your business to begin to see these some of these benefits you’ll need a minimum of 30 reviews in the previous 12 month period. And you’ll need to ensure at least 30 reviews in any given 12 month period moving forward.

Make it easy for your customers to post reviews

Simply send them an email with links to your review sites. This way, your customer is already at their computer, ready to write a review right when they receive your request. The link prevents them from having to search for your business’ review page.

Most business owners struggle to get customers to leave reviews. The good news is that is has become easier than ever for you to leap ahead of your competition.

But it begins and ends with you… website operators who get it and fully understand the value find a way to get them. And, if you get it, getting reviews is really quite easy.

Don’t be tempted to incentivize your customers to leave reviews

Google says this can be construed as a “bribe”. Here’s what Matt McGee from Google has to say:

“Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased. Even if well-intentioned, a conflict of interest can undermine the trust in a review. For instance, do not offer or accept money or product to write positive reviews about a business, or to write negative reviews about a competitor.

Please also do not post reviews on behalf of others or misrepresent your identity or affiliation with the place you are reviewing.”

The benefits to an aggressive Google Reviews process for website operators are enormous. Failure in this arena will become progressively more costly in the coming months and years.

Your competition is just beginning to catch on so you still have the opportunity to gain a substantial edge in winning the trust of more new customers than ever.

90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. “According to a new survey conducted by Dimensional Research, an overwhelming 90 percent of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.”

If you ignore these facts, you do so at great peril.

Consumer reviews are gaining importance in landslide proportions so now is the time to act.

How to Respond to Google Reviews

Responding To Google Reviews

How to respond to Google reviews is one of the most popular and commonly asked questions by business owners. Reviews that customers leave for your business on Google can dramatically affect whether they choose to use your services or your pick your competitor instead. Positive reviews make it easier to obtain new customers or clients because it gives you immediate credibility. When people have great things to say about their overall experience with your company, potential customers/clients are more inclined to pick you. They also help your business appear higher in the search results, allowing you to capture a larger percentage of the people who are searching for the products or services that you offer. Responding to Google Reviews is an important step that many business owners neglect. However, it can make a real difference in how your company is perceived online. This process is about more than just hitting the ‘Reply’ button and typing in whatever comes to mind. You need to have a well-planned strategy in place to address both positive and negative reviews. Responding in the right way can make a big difference in your online reputation. Responding to Google reviews the right way is important for your business and online reputation as well as your local SEO, so keep reading this blog for more insight on how to do it the right way.

1. How To Find Google Business Reviews

The first step according to our SEO Experts is to check whether or not you have any reviews to reply to. Accessing Google Reviews for your business is a relatively straightforward process. Here are the steps that you need to follow:

  • Visit business.Google.com and log into your My Business account.
  • Click on the menu and choose the option that says ‘All Locations’
  • Next, to each of your business locations, there is a link that says ‘Manage Location’. Click on the link for the business that you want to manage.
  • Click on the ‘Reviews’ link on the following page. Then, click on the area where it says “Manage Reviews’.

That’s all there is to it. Once you are logged in and have navigated to the right place, all that is left to do is to begin evaluating your reviews.

2. Check All Of Your Google Reviews

You need to set aside time to read through all of your reviews, classifying each one as positive or negative. Chances are, most of the reviews will be positive. There may be a few, however, that are negative. Read the negative reviews closely, looking for any discrepancies or oddities that could indicate that they are fake. In today’s cutthroat business world, there are people out there who are willing to pay people to leave negative reviews for their competitors. There are also people out there who write negative reviews for fun. Identifying fake reviews is important. If you spot any that you know for a fact are fake, flag them. After that, you should have a combination of both positive and negative reviews left to respond to. In some cases, there may also be neutral reviews that are neither positive or negative. Determining how to respond to each review is an important part of maintaining your company’s reputation. Keep reading for some helpful tips on how to respond to Google reviews appropriately and addressing each situation.

3. Positive Review Responses

As long as you have been doing everything right with your business, you probably have a lot of positive reviews. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t just let these reviews sit unacknowledged. Instead, you need to go above and beyond to let the people who left the reviews know how much you appreciate their effort. Someone took the time out of their busy day to say something nice about your business. The last thing that you should do is ignore their comment. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Reply to positive reviews within a reasonable amount of time after they are left
  • Let the customer know how much you appreciate them leaving a good review
  • Speak from the heart – your authenticity will shine through

4. Responding To A Negative Review

Unfortunately, not all reviews are positive. Every business gets negative reviews at one point or another. These reviews can be difficult to read and can trigger a variety of emotional responses. No matter how they make you feel, however, you should never ignore them. Instead, you need to respond to the person who left the review to let them know that you take their concerns seriously. By responding, you can address any areas where your business fell short and can tell your side of the story. You also may be able to salvage your relationship with that particular customer. Here are the steps you should follow:

  • Let them know that you hear their concerns and that you are aware of the problem
  • If it was your fault, claim full responsibility for whatever happened and issue a heartfelt apology
  • Explain what went wrong
  • If necessary, offer compensation

It takes Work

Reputation Management on the Internet takes a lot of work and presents some unique challenges. However, it is an incredibly positive way to control how people see your business. Most people rely on reviews when deciding which companies they want to do business with. By responding thoughtfully to all of the positive and negative reviews that your company receives, you can have a say in how people perceive your business.