Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, Google Reviews can have a significant impact on business success. Google Reviews can assist with search engine optimisation, improve your credibility and boost your digital presence, and best of all it’s completely free.
This makes obtaining Google Reviews a great option for any business with a smaller marketing budget looking to boost their online presence. Since any business can obtain Google reviews, it allows you to compete with other well-established companies and can give your business a competitive edge.
In this post, we’re going to explain what Google Reviews are and also look at 5 ways they can help your business become more successful.
What is a Google Review?
Google Reviews allow customers to publicly post feedback on Google about their experience with a business. This feedback is displayed in Google Maps, within the Google My Business platform. It doesn’t matter if you’re a real estate agent, a clothing store or a hotel – your business listing can display this feedback as reviews from the general public.
Google Review Listing within Google Maps
All of these reviews are publicly displayed and consist of a star rating from 0 to 5 with optional accompanying text that summarises their experience with your business. These are then displayed in your business listing on Google so that the public can read about other peoples experiences with your business and evaluate if you’re a business worth enquiring about or not.
Some of the statistics on the influence of reviews are very compelling…
86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)Source: BrightLocal
People are far more likely to rely on your services or visit your store if you’ve been given lots of positive reviews.
93% of people say that online reviews can actually influence their buying decisions.Source: Podium
If you’re thinking of visiting a local restaurant that has an average 1 star rating, then you’ll probably want to avoid them in favour of another restaurant with a higher rating.
Google Reviews essentially provide your business with a form of social proof. Sure, a business can thrive with lots of great website content and advertising, but word of mouth is arguably one of the strongest tools available to you as a business owner.
Let’s dive into more details regarding Google Reviews and how they can positively impact your business.
1. Google Reviews Build Your Brand’s Reputation
Positive reviews can help to build your brand’s reputation and help you establish yourself as a trustworthy business. Whether it’s in the food you serve, the products you offer or the services you provide, positive reviews are a great way to build your brand’s reputation.
On the opposite side negative Google Reviews can lower your reliability and trustworthiness, which just goes to show how much of an impact Google Reviews can have on your business’s success.
85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as word-of-mouth recommendations.Source: BrightLocal
Potential customers are looking at reviews for things such as customer service, the overall quality of the product and reliability. If they see many positive reviews, then they’re more likely to choose you over a competitor in the local area with fewer reviews or a lower star rating.
Over time, Google Reviews will become a major factor that contributes to your brand’s reputation. This is especially important if you’re a relatively new startup that is trying to solidify a position in the industry or local market.
2. Receive Valuable Feedback
Reviews are a great place to receive feedback from your customers. If they were unhappy about a certain member of staff or choice of products available in your store, you’ll likely hear about it in Google Reviews. If you want to grow your business and improve your reputation, then it’s important to listen to this feedback and act on it when possible.
You can also get an idea of how well your business is performing by looking at your reviews. You’ll see what you’re doing right, what you can improve on. Of course, a single review usually isn’t enough to gauge how well you’re doing. It usually takes several reviews to really see how or where you can improve your business.
Over time, you’ll likely see some negative reviews, some of which are unwarranted or simply untrue. These could be from unhappy customers that had a disagreement with you or, in some cases, people looking to sabotage your business for one reason or another.
In cases like this, you can ask Google to flag inappropriate or malicious reviews. However, for negative reviews that have legitimate complaints, these will not be removed by Google, so it’s often better to read them thoroughly and respond.
Since your response to negative reviews will also be visible, it will give your potential customers a chance to see your side of the story.
94% of consumers state an online review has convinced them to avoid a business.Source: ReviewTrackers
3. Google Reviews helps you Compete with More Established Businesses
One of the greatest benefits of positive Google Reviews is the ability to compete with other local businesses on an equal footing, even if they’ve been around for much longer than you. Whether someone sees your business on Google’s “snack pack” map listings or on Google Maps itself, they’re presented with important information that describes your business. Your Google My Business listing includes your store name, pictures, opening times and most importantly, your star rating that is dictated by your Google Reviews.
People love to find new hidden gems and local businesses. They enjoy exploring their options and having a choice when it comes to obtaining products or requesting services. If you’re able to establish yourself as a great choice for the products or services that you offer, then you’ll have the same chance of prospering and seeing success as a business that has been around for longer or is larger than you.
4. Increase Exposure and Local SEO
Positive Google Reviews are great for SEO. Having higher star ratings and positive feedback helps to increase your authority as a business and having these reviews displayed on your website will also help increase visibility by search engines.
Google’s search algorithms are complex and take countless different factors into consideration. Everything from your website’s usability on a mobile device to speed and metadata will have an impact on your discoverability.
Google Reviews are said to account for almost 10% of the algorithm. Reviews alone won’t boost your exposure and help you achieve the coveted number one spot on Google search results. However, they should be treated as a vital component in helping you achieve higher rankings.
Reviews can also help you establish better local SEO. Local SEO focuses on searches performed by people that are physically closer to you. Since Google’s searches are heavily driven by intent, it means your business will be easier to discover by people searching with “near me” terms. For example, if your bakery has positive reviews, then it is more likely to appear higher on searches when people type in “bakery near me” and are close to your location.
If you’ve ever searched for nearby businesses with Google, then you may have noticed that every query brings up three results at the top of the page which are accompanied by a map with website links and directions.
This is known as Google’s “snack pack” map listings, and getting on this list can be incredibly beneficial for local SEO, since this appears above organic search results. Since Google Reviews help the search engine determine which businesses are popular, your store has a higher chance of appearing in the snack pack map listing if you have more positive reviews.
Google Snack Pack
Google Reviews have the power to become a critical component of your SEO strategy. With the right approach, you can draw in larger local audiences and improve your overall exposure on the internet, leading to a more successful business and improved click-through rates.
5. Google Reviews helps Convert More Customers
The end goal of any form of advertising or brand building is to attract more people and convert them into paying customers. Given the power of positive reviews and how effective they are at convincing people that you’re a business worth taking notice of, Google Reviews can become a huge factor in your business’s success.
Having multiple, positive Google Reviews, will make it much easier converting customers and bringing in larger audiences. This means more paying customers, more profit and a stronger reputation.
Although SEO and solid web design can help with your discoverability, it’s ultimately not going to matter if you can’t convince your target audience to become paying customers. Positive Google Reviews provide a source of information that is relatable, trustworthy and transparent. It’s often enough to convince people to become paying customers and your rating is often the first thing that people look for when they search for local businesses.
Getting Google Reviews
Now that you understand the power of Google Reviews, it’s a good idea to learn how to get them in the first place.
Creating your Google My Business account is the first step. Then the most effective method is to use are strategies such as sending follow-up emails or just asking for them.
There are some strategies such as buying reviews, although this method is not recommended as they are easily spotted as fakes and search engines may remove them or potentially blacklist your business. In short, take the ethical route and build up a natural collection of reviews instead of trying to take a shortcut.
Google Reviews are an incredibly powerful and important component that can lead your business to success.
AOG Design have helped many businesses with effective strategies with obtaining Google Reviews, so when your ready to grow your online reviews please get in touch.