Google business reviews improve search rankings, build trust, and drive revenues.
How do I increase my Google reviews? It’s a critical question businesses should be focused on for one key reason: Customers rely on reviews to make their buying decisions.
While the shopping landscape has changed, shopping habits haven’t. Consumers are always looking for ways to reduce uncertainty when making a purchase and they trust what other customers have to say about a business.
In the past, shoppers turned to family and friends for direct word-of-mouth recommendations. Today, thanks to the reach and amplification of digital channels, online reviews carry more weight than ever.
A few fast facts about the influence of reviews:
- 92 per cent of consumers read at least one review before making a purchase.
- 88 per cent of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 97 per cent of consumers say customer reviews factor into their buying decisions.
- Reviews for local businesses influence up to 10 per cent of their search rankings.
Google reviews in particular can affect your site’s position on search engine results pages (SERPs) because they influence how Google evaluates your search relevance.
In addition to helping potential customers find you, your business profile on Google also shares Google reviews left by existing customers. These reviews appear next to your listing in maps and search results, and help build your presence, credibility; and relevance all things Google wants to see when determining search rankings.
It’s also what shoppers want to see. Two out of three customers report positive customer reviews are an important factor in selecting an online business or store. The more reviews, the better. According to BigCommerce, 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6 per cent increase in conversion rates.
Often, the simplest solution is the most effective. If you have a good relationship with your existing customers, reach out and request a review. Google offers these tips to get you started:
- Train employees to encourage customers who have had a positive in-store experience to share a review online.
- Include requests for online reviews in your email signature, as part of email marketing campaigns, on receipts, in social media posts, and in marketing materials.
- If you’re not sure what to say, Google offers these three suggestions:
- “Please support us with your reviews and photos on Google.”
- “Thanks for being a valued customer! We’d love to hear about your experience. Please leave us a review on Google.”
- “Reviews are really important to us. We’d love to hear about your experience.”
Fast facts: BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2022 found that:
- 74 per cent of consumers left reviews for local businesses in the last 12 months.
- 67 per cent of consumers will consider leaving a review for a positive experience, while 40 per cent will consider leaving a review for a negative experience. Some 33 per cent will consider both.
- 88 per cent of consumers say they would be “likely” or “highly likely” to leave a review if the business went above and beyond to ensure they had an exceptional experience.
- 80 per cent of consumers say they would be “likely” or “highly likely” to leave a review if they initially had a negative experience that was turned into a very positive experience.
Make it easy for customers to leave reviews
Create and share a Google review link with customers Even better, create a reviews page on your website and make sure it’s listed on your main navigation page. Include a call to action (CTA) on the review page encouraging people to share their experience with your brand. Don’t stop there. If you’re already asking customers for their feedback via a survey or poll, add a CTA to review your business.
Tip: Let customers know how long it will take to leave a review. If it only takes two minutes, this could eliminate any initial hesitancy they might have.
Use Google’s tools
Google’s marketing kit helps you create printable posters, social posts, business card templates, and other materials that you can use to ask customers for reviews and promote your business.
You can also create a custom short URL. This will allow customers to visit your business profile and leave a review with one click.
Be prepared to respond
Google recommends responding to reviews as a best practice that goes a long way to earning customer loyalty and strengthening relationships. Good or bad, be sure to respond within 24 hours that’s when most customers expect to see some sort of reply or acknowledgment. This is especially important when responding to negative reviews.
Show appreciation and be specific about it. Thank the reviewer for spending the time to share their experience and reference that experience in your response. This is an opportunity to build a more personal connection and to encourage them to come back.
Be brief, polite, and professional. This is not the time to argue. Apologize and thank them for the feedback and do not get into any detailed exchange. If it’s appropriate, ask to continue the conversation offline so you can understand what went wrong and figure out how to fix it to prevent future problems.
Fast fact: A study of tens of thousands of hotel reviews and responses from TripAdvisor by Harvard Business Review found that hotels that responded to reviews received 12 per cent more reviews and their ratings increased.
Share positive reviews
Highlight and post the positive reviews on your website and social channels. This helps build credibility and encourages others to share their positive experiences with your brand. On Google, you can showcase positive reviews by marking them as helpful. This will give them prime positioning on your page and entice more people to read them.
Incentivize customers to review your business
Use discounts, special offers, gift cards, and contests to encourage customers to take the time to write a review.
The power of Google business reviews cannot be overstated. They help build visibility, engagement and, trust, and ultimately they can help grow your customer base. If you haven’t already, it’s time to make Google business reviews part of your marketing strategy.
Download the Search Engine Marketing Handbook to learn more about improving your search rankings and attracting customers to your business.