Everything you should know about Google reviews

Digital360 on 22 September 2017

Managing Google reviews and star ratings are an important part of digital marketing for SMEs. When used correctly, Google reviews can have a powerful impact on a business’s online reputation.

Ideally, you want your business to rank on Page 1 of Google search results. But it’s unrealistic for most SMEs to even consider the mammoth task of perfecting over 200 ranking factors that are likely to change anyway. While SEO takes time, you can start getting online reviews today. Great reviews make your business look better than the competition in search engine results.

The first step is creating a Google My Business account. Google My Business is a free, location-based search platform that makes it easy for customers to find you when they use Google services, such as Google Search. What’s more, Google My Business has made it possible for customers to interact with businesses online, giving them the power to review and rate your business.

While this open communication has its benefits, negative ratings and reviews can also be damaging. So, how do you optimise Google reviews, and what do you do when a negative one appears? Here are 5 tips towards optimising Google reviews for your business.

1. Don’t underestimate the power of Google reviews

When it comes to digital marketing, Google is still one of the best and most powerful platforms to focus on. And online reviews are increasingly important part of a customer's buying behaviour. According to Review Trackers, Google reviews 'are likely to affect the way people find you, and the nature and tone of the review will determine whether the customer will engage with your business or not.'

2. How Google reviews can impact your business

Google reviews have an enormous amount of power. According to the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey conducted by Moz, review signals make up 13 per cent of Google's total ranking factors in local search results. These review signals include, review quantity, review velocity and review diversity. This figure may sound low, but the largest ranking factor, Google My Business signals, so proximity, categories, and keywords in business titles, make up 19 per cent of total ranking factors.

3. Verify your business

For your business information to appear on maps, search and other Google services, you must verify your business with Google. You can do this by listing your business on Google My Business, making it easier than ever for customers to find you.

The most important aspect of verification, however, is ensuring that all the information you enter is 100 per cent correct, such as opening and closing times. Incorrect or misleading information is frustrating for Google users, and will only deter customers from using your products or services.

4. Integrate your online review platforms

Google My Business revolutionised the way SMEs could market themselves online with Google search. Basically, Google My Business allowed for an integrated approach to local search marketing, streamlining the process of managing local business data, reviews and social interactions across multiple sites. With some basic technical knowledge, your all your online platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, will appear alongside your business information.

5. Manage your Google reviews

Online review management and reputation management have become central to an SME's modern digital marketing strategy. So, what do you do when a bad review pops up? It is very difficult to remove online reviews, unless the reviewer takes it down themselves. The trick is to encourage positive reviews of your business and keep your average scores and brand sentiment as high as possible.

You can manage negative reviews online by:

  • Responding promptly – This ensures the matter is solved immediately, and shows the plaintiff and the online public that you take complaints seriously.
  • Responding in writing – This demonstrates that you regret the plaintiff did not have a good experience with your product or service.
  • Providing an opportunity for private contact – This ensures that all parties may come to a resolution. Taking the discussion offline will avoid any unnecessary back-and-forths.

Staying on top of your online reputation

There are digital agencies in Melbourne who can deliver key insights into how your customers are behaving online. What’s more, a digital agency will be able to deliver real data to uncover what is affecting your business’s bottom line.

If you’d like to find out more about digital services for your business, contact one of our digital specialists in Melbourne.