There are glowing reviews, libelous reviews, straightforward reviews, funny reviews, and more. With Facebook as a notable exception, most review sites run on a five-star scale.
Intuition says that businesses should shoot for a five-star Google star rating every time, right? I’m here to tell you that might not actually be the case in terms of overall online reputation management. Below we discuss what the ideal Google review rating looks like.
Let’s start at the bottom and Work Our Way Up
According to recent public data from Google and others, the lowest rating that consumers consider engaging with is 3.5. That doesn’t mean your business should settle with this subpar rating. It means this is the minimum acceptable rating to people searching for you on Google. Of course people are looking for good ratings so if you are at the bare minimum you are still giving away most of the leads to your competitors who have better reviews/ratings.
For example, one study found that when businesses improve their rating from 3.5 to 3.9 stars, they saw an increase in engagement (a store visit, phone call, or directions request) by almost 120%. If improving your Google rating leads to more clicks, doesn’t a 5.0 lead to the most clicks? Logically that would make sense but actually the answer is no.
According to High-Level Marketing, when there are no negative reviews, 30% of consumers assume some or all of the 5 star reviews are fake.
It’s important to have a number of imperfect reviews containing feedback or complaints to demonstrate that real customers are sharing their honest opinion. This also demonstrates your ability as a business to take that frown and turn it upside down. Converting an unhappy customer into a satisfied one is something every business must do sometimes. Many times these can be used as opportunities to show that new customer you do care which leads to a great and lasting business relationship, great word of mouth advertising and repeat business.
Not only do negative reviews gain the trust of readers, but they can also help your business improve its service and resolve customer concerns. Many businesses are able to make improvements in efficiencies and other areas to make the customer experience better based on direct feedback especially if it is negative or constructive.
A study by the Spiegel Research Center determined that ratings of 4.4 – 4.8 are the most trusted. This is a great goal to aim for, and realistic as well. Mistakes happen in every business in every industry. It’s a waste of time to stress over a single negative review or an unattainable perfect rating. If you own a business for any length of time you will get a negative review even if you are doing everything right. It is simply the law of averages after a certain number of transactions there is bound to be some issue for at least one customer.
Instead of focusing on that one poor review make it all about providing great service. Most of the time your overall reviews and rating will reflect the effort you have put in. Even more important than your rating is the frequency of your reviews. Potential customers are interested in feedback from recent visitors from last week, not those who made a purchase or did business with you in 2015.
In fact, Brightlocal’s 2020 Local Consumer Review Survey found that 84% of consumers believe that reviews older than 90 days are not very relevant. Don’t let the negative review you received last year bother you. Put your time into collecting reviews from your current happy customers on a regular basis. You’ll set yourself up for long term success.
To increase your online rating and keep reviews coming in consistently feel free to check out erasemytrax.com we can help with removal of negative content on Google, bad or fake reviews, removal of mugshots and ripoff report plus much more to keep your online reputation looking good.
Google reviews can give businesses a big credibility boost without having to spend a dime. The many benefits of getting Google reviews include better ranking for local SEO, leveling the playing field, increasing your online reputation, and helping local SMB’s.
So what is a Google Review, exactly? Google reviews allow any good business to prove themselves to their potential customers. People are able to go online and list their thoughts about the company without having to download an app. The reviews level the playing field where marketing hype, expensive campaigns, and slick copy become less relevant as people in 2022 will always go to check online reviews before making a decision.
Of course, those same campaigns and slick copy can certainly have a huge impact. But they become less relevant in the context of Google business reviews. Since reviews serve as transparency and social proof rather than marketing. So you could say the reputation and reviews are backing up your marketing efforts as verification. Any searcher can type in a search query and stumble upon businesses with reviews from actual customers and make an informed decision on whether or not they should engage with that business—with positive reviews pushing them more towards conversion.
Another one of the benefits of reviews is that they provide the opportunity for a business to compete with the big boys in regard to local SEO. Big or small, the business who takes advantage of Google reviews is in a position to rank higher in local search results. If Google thinks that the local shop selling running shoes provides a better experience than your average retail giant then that local shop can end up higher in the local search rankings. That same example goes for the retail giant. Reviews always matter size of the business does not always matter. On Google searches positive reviews have unprecedented power. Power to quickly influence brand trust, local SEO, and feedback. Here are some of the best benefits of online reviews.
1. Google Business Reviews Increase Trust
Transparency is becoming more and more relevant for consumers. That relevance (and importance) placed on transparency can largely be accredited to the accessibility to vast amounts of information on any given business. Today, it’s not uncommon for a consumer to research a business before purchasing products or services. In fact, nearly 88% of consumers have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. A large part of this research is generally done through Google reviews.
To really hammer home the power of Google business reviews, the same survey reports a staggering 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more than they may have otherwise. This provides a great opportunity for local businesses to gain a competitive advantage over the next business by collecting Google reviews. Conversely, it creates a sense of urgency with how to respond to negative reviews, which will further build customer trust.
2. Google Business Reviews Increase Online Exposure Better Rankings
Google’s search algorithms are pretty complex everyone knows that. But there is one thing for sure: Google reviews have an impact on Google local search it has been proven many times. According to Moz, roughly 10% of Google’s entire search algorithm is driven by review signals like the ones you’ll find in a business’ Google reviews. These review signals are generally focused around review quantity, velocity, and diversity.
A well-balanced combination of these three review signals can help catapult your local business towards the top of Google local search results. This helps your business get found much more easily and quickly than utilizing only traditional SEO activities like keyword research and blogging. While still important, as a local business it’s critical that you don’t rely only on traditional methods and neglect other mediums like Google reviews.
With proper execution, Google business reviews can be one of your most successful marketing tactics. This is partially because Google business reviews allow your business to show up in the “Map Pack.” The Map Pack (shown below) consists of a group of businesses near the location from where you’re searching. The map pack displays the name and link to the business, the address and phone number, and the total number of Google reviews in addition to the average rating.
3. Feedback Loop and Customer Intelligence through Google Business Reviews
One of the most valuable advantages of Google reviews is the feedback loop and customer intelligence you can gain. Every Google business review you collect can, and should, serve as a customer survey response for you and your staff. In addition, each Google review will generally tell you a few things:
Customer Feedback Loop for What You’re Doing Wrong
By reading negative reviews on Google, you can quickly see what areas you need to improve upon and which areas you should be praising. There is a simple process for any business to utilize when looking to get the most from their feedback loop.
The first step is to monitor and watch for a Google review after a transaction has occurred. You can either use an online reputation management company to monitor reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook or you can monitor these sites manually yourself. The major advantage to using a service is that reviews won’t slip through the cracks and jeopardize this entire process. A good reputation management company can inform you when any action takes place that would affect your rating.
The second step is to respond to the Google review. If the Google review is negative, you should always leave a response doing your best to resolve any issue. In general, it’s wise to apologize and provide a way to right any wrong they believe your business has committed. Keep in mind the old rule that the customer is always right.
Last of all is the process alteration. This is where you can patch up faulty processes or send praise to the areas that are performing well. By altering these processes, you are, in theory, testing new processes to make your business run more smoothly and efficiently. For many of our clients, this is a major value-add and competitive advantage over the next business in their industry. Through Google reviews and other review sites alike, they are able to optimize various areas of their business to provide a better customer experience and be found more easily on Google.
4. Improve Click-Through Rates to Your Website with Google Reviews
Any smart business knows that it’s vital to get customers to click on your link when it shows up in Google search results. You may spend all the time and money in the world on your SEO strategy, but if people aren’t actually clicking on your business, all the effort is in vain. Luckily, having Google reviews is an excellent way to increase the click-through rate when you show up in a search engine. Your Google review rating will show up next to your business name in Google, so a good collection of positive ratings will increase clicks through to your site.
5. Google Reviews Convert More Customers
Once customers have clicked through to your page, you’re nearly to the end goal. Customers who come to your site need to be enticed to purchase something from your business. While a user-friendly site experience and smartly designed web page are extremely important, Google reviews can be powerful enough to do the conversion alone. For this reason, any business with a strong rating on Google should be advertising that rating all over their website. This rating will increase customer trust even if they’ve never read your online reviews because they trust Google.
How Does a Real Business Benefit?
Now that you’ve learned about the key benefits of using Google reviews, you may be wondering if real businesses are experiencing these benefits. In short, the answer is yes. Here are some examples of real businesses benefiting from online reviews:
Kahan Jewelry company in New York has a 4.7 star rating on Google and almost 100 Google reviews, which has led to increased traffic to the site. Customers report this is directly because of the reviews they’ve read online.
USA Furniture has garnered 9,517 new reviews online, resulting in a huge increase in web traffic and inbound calls from customers searching online. They spend less online on paid search results and other marketing efforts because of their presence on Google reviews.
Smith carpet cleaners has greatly improved their customer service and business thanks to the feedback of 13,000+ online reviews.
Pryor Pest Control has grown their business into a new market thanks to all the customers who choose them because of their positive online reviews.
How to Start Getting More Google Reviews
Are you convinced to start focusing on earning more Google Reviews? If so, you probably want to get started as quickly as possible. You may even be convinced to buy online reviews just to get an immediate boost. But before you jump into action, remember that the best businesses have real reviews they’ve gained slow and steady over time.
Customers can often spot fake reviews or incentivized reviews from a mile away, and so can search engines. If you do hire a reputation management or review management company make sure they do things ethically. Stick with tried and true methods like simply asking customers to review your business, sending email blasts, and advertising your Google Review page to customers. You can even transfer a written offline review to an online one if it is done correctly. In the end you will be happy that you did things the right way.
Collect Other Online Reviews
While Google reviews is the main heavy hitter when it comes to online reviews, there are other platforms businesses can focus on to see the benefits of online reviews. Yelp is one such site where businesses can send customers to leave a review, whether they own a restaurant, dental office, dry cleaners, or any other service. Yelp is locally-based and introduces their audience to the best businesses in town. Facebook is another great site to focus on getting reviews, since the social media powerhouse makes it easy for friends to share their reviews on the platform. Almost every niche has a ratings platform that is looked at by potential customers the site Healthgrades comes to mind for people searching for doctors or medical clinics.
Any e-commerce business should certainly make an effort to garner a host of positive reviews on Amazon. Many customers rely on Amazon reviews to make their purchasing decisions, even if they end up buying the product elsewhere. So you have to identify the reviews people pay attention to in your niche other than Google and make sure you have a good rating there with many reviews.
Google business reviews can drive three core areas of your business: brand trust, local SEO, and feedback. If you’re not currently utilizing Google reviews, you’re potentially missing out on advantages that your competitors use. Google reviews do not cost you anything. For many businesses, this marketing channel can provide incredible return on investment. With just a little time and resources put towards Google business reviews and other niche relevant review sites you can see incredible results in a relatively short amount of time.