Google offers businesses a wide variety of tools to improve their online presences. While many businesses use the search engine’s feature for hangouts for business, many marketing teams are starting to use Google Reviews as well. After all, consumers typically read a company’s reviews before purchasing their products. It’s natural to want to know what other people think about something before we buy it. Therefore, reviews can either make or break a business.
Consumers are savvy about reviews too. If we see one bad review in a sea of overwhelmingly good reviews, we tend to be more skeptical of the reviewer than the business. Or if reviews are generally positive but there are very few of them, we take the input less seriously. That consensus means a lot. As customers, we appreciate the help and tips we get from reviews and understand their importance, but we can struggle with the same concept when we put on our business owner or manager hats. We can get too busy running businesses to spend much time asking people to leave a Google review.
There is obviously a disconnect there. If we see the value of reviews as consumers, then we need to make sure they’re available for our customers. If you don’t have the time to invest in the process, then there are Google review services and platforms to help save you time.
Why Google Reviews Matter
Google reviews serve as a vetting process that potential customers can use. They lend a business a degree of legitimacy for people who have not yet purchased from them. They also raise Google local listings. It’s the digital age’s version of word of mouth, and it can be a major source of new business, especially for small businesses.
Google reviews are so important, in fact, that consumers sometimes trust an overall positive rating from a bunch of strangers more than they do a personal recommendation from one person they know. If a business has satisfied that many people, then the perceived risk of buying from them is diminished. In other words, with strong Google reviews, you can gain a potential customer’s trust before they buy from you.
Getting Reviews For Your Business
So this is the question, then: how do you get your customer reviews on Google? It is a process that can take time and effort. Since you are busy running your company, it might not seem like a priority, but getting reviews for your business should be an important part of your marketing strategy.
The first thing you need to do to start getting reviews for your business is to claim your business listing on Google. Once you do, you can start managing your listing, including your reviews. How do you claim your business? Go to business.google.com/add, and follow the instructions. Or you might Google your own business, then, in your business listing, click on the link that’s provided for claiming your business.
Second, you need to start asking people to leave a Google review. As common as reviews are, many people forget to sit down and write them. So, it’s important to ask. There are a number of ways to do this and a number of different audiences you can reach out to. The first people to approach for reviews are your regular customers. These are the people who will not only be willing to write a positive review but also are more likely to leave a Google review in the first place.
One great way to approach people is to print cards stating something like, “Review us on Google.” Something that simple can go a long way. You can have a stack of them on the counter at a physical location, and you can put them in a bag or shipping container with each purchase. Another tactic is to add a request for reviews to mass emails and newsletters.Also, consistently talk to everyone you feel comfortable asking for a review. The more reviews you have, the more legitimate your company will be in the eyes of potential customers. Don’t forget about people like distributors and neighboring businesses who could also have something good to say about you.
A word of warning, though: Google advises against offering anything in exchange for a review. This is a good policy to follow, since you want your reviews to be unbiased feedback about your business and products.
Why You Should Respond To Google Reviews
You might be asking yourself what to do about negative reviews. There are two ways to counter them. First, make sure you ask everyone who has had a positive experience to leave a Google review, because that input will compensate for lower-starred reviews. Second, you should always respond to reviews. You can thank people for leaving a positive review, and address any issues raised in negative reviews. This is a tactic that businesses use when learning how to get Amazon reviews and Google reviews alike.
When a potential customer sees responses to negative reviews, that tells them that you engage with your customers and are willing to take care of them. It also shows that you aren’t hiding anything. And who knows? You might get a second chance to please a dissatisfied customer.
Do Google Reviews Help Ranking?
Google reviews do help with search rankings. They can help your business rise in organic search results. This particularly helps in local SEO in which customer locations are added to the ranking. Positive reviews can signal search engines to increase your ranking.
How Long Do Google Reviews Take To Show up?
It can take a few days for a review to show up. Google first screens each review or post for inappropriate content, and this can delay reviews from showing up. So, if a customer says they posted a review, give it a few days before you look for it—and remember to thank them when you see it.
Managing your online reviews is a great way to thank your current customers and to win new customers along the way. It adds legitimacy to your business’s online presence. Make sure you find ways to actively work on getting reviews, and remember to respond to them. If you need help with the process, you can turn to experts like Podium or platforms to make it all easier.