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In one of his keynote speeches, the author Brian Solis once proclaimed that we’re entering “a new era of marketing and service in which your brand is defined by those who experience it”. Referring to the way that we all share our customer stories online, Solis encourages us to think about how the reputation of a business depends on reviews as much as it does on advertising.
Think about it this way: if you saw a tweet which explained in great detail the terrible service a company provided, would you consider shopping with them in future? Probably not, right? Whether it’s a friend or a stranger, our trust in businesses is influenced by what other people have to say about them.
This aspect of human behaviour is something that Google Reviews has taken on board and turned up a few notches. Google your local pub or nearest Indian restaurant, for example, and you’ll be able to see what people are saying about them the moment you click for more information.
With this in mind, would it be possible to go a step further with Solis’ suggestion? Might we, with a little poetic license, rephrase his argument to suggest that we’re coming into “a new era of marketing and service in which your brand is defined by your Google review section”?
The following statistics from Review Trackers should put this question to bed. Indeed, they revealed last year that:
Clearly, Google Reviews are a big deal and businesses can’t afford to ignore them. But do they have benefits beyond acquiring new customers?
The SEO community largely agrees that receiving and responding to Google reviews signals to the search engine that your business is active.
Experts also claim they’re particularly great for local SEO. A 2017 study found that Google Reviews which featured keywords would increase the chances of that business featuring in the top three of the Google Maps listings (the 3-pack).
Clearly, Google Reviews are good for a business on and offline. The question is, how to get more?
In an ideal world, good service and great products alone would be enough to guarantee a steady stream of five-star reviews. In the real world, however, people often require a little incentivising.
Some of our clients have had success simply by asking customers if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review if they’re pleased with the service.
Take our client Aylsham Roofing, for example. Providing roof repairs across Norfolk, their roofers are able to ask clients to leave a review once the job is completed to their satisfaction.
Due to the nature of their industry, it’s great that they have a solid review section which confirms their expertise and reliability. Indeed, someone wanting their roof repaired will definitely want to know that they can trust the company they’re paying. By reading their current host of positive Google Reviews, it’s safe to say that prospective clients will be assured that our client is the best fit.
“But what about businesses who don’t see their clients face to face”, I hear you ask.
Another example should help to settle this one. Our client Alsico specialises in workwear and sells to consumers online.
Whilst they might not deal with customers in a brick and mortar environment, Google has provided a solution to this in order for online businesses to build their reputation. You’re now able to share a link to your Google review form, this can be shared to your socials, via Whatsapp or email. You can find this in the Home section of your selected Google My Business listing.
Ultimately, there’s no big secret to getting more Google Reviews. It really is as simple as being straightforward with your customers and explaining the value of their feedback.
It’s an age-old truth that much as you try, you can’t please everyone. No matter how good your business is, you’ll inevitably receive some unfair criticism at one point or another.
When the cynics strike, the best thing you can do is respond. Calmly and professionally. By offering a measured explanation that addresses any unreasonable claims, you’ll demonstrate to people reading your reviews that the negative review is nothing more than a storm in a teacup.
Doing this will also illustrate that your business takes feedback seriously and is committed to resolving issues.
In order to read and respond to your Google reviews, you’ll need to log in to your Google My Business account.
Along the left hand side of the page you’ll see a menu that gives you the option to open a ‘reviews’ tab.
From here, you’ll be able to see which reviews you’ve responded to and those which are still waiting for a reply.
Whether good or bad, it’s best to reply to every review you receive in order to signal to Google that you’re an active business and website owner.
It really is that easy to manage your Google reviews.
Yes and no.
Yes, because a reviewer can withdraw their review. If they’ve left a one star review, for example, they can choose to remove it if they receive a positive response from the business owner.
In this way, it’s possible for a Google review to be deleted.
But for a business owner to delete a review they disagree with? That’s a little harder. This is because Google wants to present users with the most accurate information possible. If business owners could remove reviews at will, they’d only keep the best ones up and paint a flattering picture of their products and services.
This means it really is important to reach out to anyone leaving poor reviews if you want to keep your review section free of eyesores.
However, if you find that a reviewer remains firm in their one or two star response despite a reasonable response, or if you’ve found yourself on the receiving end of what looks like a spam review, there’s still hope.
By clicking the three dots which appear next to the review you can flag it as inappropriate. To explain why you feel the review should be removed, you’ll be asked to choose from the following options:
Once you’ve submitted this information, a rep from Google will take a look at the review and decide whether to remove it or not.
This process requires a bit of patience – it can take anywhere between two to seven days for the guys at Google to make a decision.
Unfortunately, no you can’t turn off Google reviews for your business. By signing up to the Google My Business platform you accept that users will have the ability to leave reviews for the world to see.
The only way to switch off Google reviews for your business is to delete your Google My Business account altogether. Doing this would do a lot more harm than good.
As previously mentioned, there are broader benefits of Google My Business that make it a valuable tool.
Perhaps the greatest reason for keeping the account alive, though, is that business listings appear above organic search results. Failing to compete means that your site stands to lose a lot of relevant traffic. A lot of relevant traffic is, of course, what drives sales.
At Nu Image, we’re passionate about every business we work with and strive to find new ways to shout about them. To find out how our digital marketing agency can help to improve your online traffic, get in touch with us today on 01603 859007.