As a business owner, you know that Google review management is important. Google reviews and professional responses can make or break your business. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips to manage Google reviews, as well as software that can help make managing your online reputation easier for you.
What is a Google Business Profile?
It is a business page that Google lists in the search results. Most likely, you have searched the Internet for a business or a service before, making a profile appear on top of the search results. If you are shown in the top three, your profile is ‘ranked’, this is also called the ‘local pack’.
‘Ranking higher’ on Google is your best chance of getting new customers, as the first result gets an average of 31.7% clicks overall.
There are also different types of searches. People can type in your company name to make your profile appear on top of the results. However, they can also search for a brand or keyword related to your business to make your profile appear on top. For example, someone might type in ‘grocery store’ or ‘local hotel’.
In summary, potential customers will sometimes use keywords instead of the business’ name. For these kinds of searches, you want to appear in the search results.
What is local SEO?
Google Business Profile optimisation, also called ‘local SEO’, is search engine optimisation for your local business. The goal is to get your business listings showing at the top of search results and on Google maps. Since more than 46% of searches on Google have local intent, Google Business Profile optimisation has become a key component of any digital marketing strategy.
There are two types of rankings in Local SEO: Whether your Business Profile appears on top of the Google search results/Google maps, and normal organic ranking, i.e. your location-specific webpage appears on top of the search results.
Local SEO involves optimising these two aspects, so you can be found easier and deliver a positive brand experience.
How do online reviews lead to business growth?
Online reviews play an important role in any business. They help customers choose which businesses to go with and can have a huge impact on the trust in a company.
According to Soci, conversion improves by 2.8% for every 10 new reviews earned by the business. The maximum gain in conversion rate, for businesses who earned 45 new reviews in one month, was 11.2%.
According to Webfx, a whopping 91% of consumers (18-34 years old) trust a business with positive reviews.
Do Google reviews lead to a higher ranking?
In short, yes. Google reviews help with ranking your business. No matter if it is a positive or negative review. They say “all publicity is good publicity”, well negative reviews can send a positive signal to google too. An increase in website signals and customer actions supports a better ranking.
Google is a complex system that is constantly evolving, and many different factors come into play when trying to get your business to rank high in local SEO.
What are the 7 local SEO ranking factors?
To enhance your Google Business Profile, Whitespark has created a comprehensive list of seven local search ranking factors that must be taken into account. These include everything from the searcher’s distance to your business to the content displayed on your website. With each factor contributing in some way towards optimising your Google Business Profile, it is essential for users to understand their importance and meet as many criteria as possible.
- Google My Business / Google Business Profile Signals
Proximity, Categories, Keyword in Business Title, etc.
First and Third Party Reviews, Review Quantity, Review Velocity, Review Diversity, etc.
Presence of NAP, Keywords in Titles, Domain Authority, etc.
Location Data, Internet Yellow Pages, Name Address & Phone Number NAP consistency, Citation Volume, etc.
- Personalization of potential customer
Search History, Search Location, Device, etc.
- Behavioural Signals
Click Through Rate, Mobile Clicks to Call, Dwell Time, etc.
Inbound Anchor Text, Linking Domain Authority, Linking Domain Quantity, etc.
When it comes to Local SEO, it’s important to recognise that there are two distinct types of rankings: 1) Your Business Profile on the top of Google search results, and 2) The organic ranking for your location page.
Whitespark surveyed top experts in Local SEO to determine what’s working to drive rankings and what’s not.
To maximise the times that you appear in search results, a major effort is done to optimise factors that influence the ranking. With ‘review signals’ in second place (17%) GBP reviews are important.
Where can I see my Google reviews?
To view your Google reviews, you can simply log into your Google Business Profile (google.com/business). Navigate to ‘reviews’ on the left side. On this page, you will see a list of the reviews that have been left for your business, as well as their rating and a summary of what was said in each review.
Does the amount of reviews impact local search rankings?
Short answer: Yes, Google reviews do impact your local SEO rankings. The quality and quantity of online reviews have a strong correlation with higher search rankings.
To demonstrate this, one business rewarded their employees with a weekly lottery when they managed to get a review from a customer. And this was the result:
From a position of 8-10 in the local search results, they achieved 4-2 place in the results.
This means that businesses who actively are managing Google reviews see improved visibility in local search results and an increase in website and store traffic as a result.
How Often Do You Need New Reviews?
It depends on several factors, for example, the number of competitors in your location or how frequently your competitors have reviews. We have seen positive results with once or bi-weekly acquisition of reviews.
Why is Google review management important?
One of the most important aspects of local SEO is online reputation management, i.e. monitoring and managing your online Google reviews. Whether you get positive reviews or negative reviews, it is crucial to respond to each review in a timely and professional manner.
Let’s look at the numbers:
- If a business responds to 100% of its reviews as opposed to none, the study of Soci finds that conversion rate improves by 16.4%.
- A whopping 89% of consumers are ‘highly’ or ‘fairly likely’ to use a business that responds well to all its online Google business reviews.
- If a business doesn’t respond to Google reviews, 57% of people say they are ‘not very’ or ‘not at all likely’ to use a business.
Most people (67%) only consider writing a review if they had a positive experience, while most unhappy customers (fewer than 40%) will write a bad review following a negative experience.
A happy customer wants to help others make better buying decisions or reward a company for a good performance.
In other words, if online reputation management leads to more customers, it usually leads to more positive reviews than negative reviews.
How can I increase the number of new reviews my business receives?
The most common way to get more reviews is by asking the customers. Best practices to get more reviews are: To encourage employees to ask for customer feedback after a positive interaction, or to ask customers by email for a review after the interaction has finished. You can even automatise this by generating an automatic link to your business profile.
These are the steps to create an automatic link to your business profile to leave a review.
Step 1: Log into your Business Profile (google.com/business)
Step 2: Type your business name on Google.
Step 3: Scroll down, and you will see one option ‘ask for reviews’, click on it.
What are the Google review guidelines?
Google has created some review guidelines, outlined in the ‘Maps User Contribution Content Policy’.
In general, the policy is: The reviews should be genuine and polite. Now to summarize this a bit further:
- Can I ask customers for reviews?
Yes, and you are now allowed to ask for reviews in bulk (e.g. email list)
- Am I allowed to offer incentives in exchange for reviews?
- Is there any way to stop customers from writing a negative review?
No, you cannot prevent negative feedback.
- Can employees write Google reviews?
No. Google sees this as a conflict of interest.
- Can you get fake Google reviews removed? How do I deal with unfair bad reviews on Google?
Google uses an automatic spam detection filter, in addition, if something is clearly fake and unrelated, you can contact Google to remove it. You can also ask the Google customer service team to remove a bad review if it is inappropriate. For example, if it involves harassment, hate speech or personal threats.
- 6. Can Google reviews be removed by the owner of the business?
No, not without help.
- Can I ask the customer who wrote the bad review to delete it?
- Can you pay to remove bad reviews?
You are allowed to contact the reviewer and see if there are other ways to resolve the conflict.
- What happens if I do not follow the policy?
Google can remove reviews, and ultimately, it can ban businesses from using Google Business Profiles.
How do I remove negative Google reviews?
As mentioned in the Google Review Guidelines, there are a few steps you can take. First, try reaching out to the reviewer directly via email or phone to see if there is any way you can resolve their concerns and address any issues. If that doesn’t work, you may be able to contact Google directly to request that the review be removed. There is no guarantee that a negative review will be taken down, as it is up to Google’s discretion whether or not they think it violates their review guidelines, for example, if the review is not relevant or involves harassment.
What are review response best practices?
There are several best practices that you, as a reputation manager, can follow.
Reviews should receive a prompt response, good or bad. You should own your mistakes, and address any concerns or issues directly and effectively. Most importantly, thank your customers for their feedback. It is crucial to be proactive in reaching out to reviewers who may have had a negative experience with your business, rather than waiting for them to leave a negative review.
Here are some templates for inspiration:
Positive Google review
Hello [Customer name],
Thank you for the complimentary words about our team. We appreciate you choosing to work with us on [product delivered]. We hope to be of assistance again in the future should you need[service provided].
Best regards, [Your business name] Team
Negative Google review
Dear [Customer name],
We are sorry that your experience with us didn’t quite match your expectations with [product delivered]. We would love to know why so that we can deliver a better experience next time. You may reach us anytime at our email address [enter email address] or phone number [phone number]. Again, thank you for your feedback!
Sincerely, [Your business name]
How does the Google review algorithm work?
A common question asked by customers is how are Google reviews calculated because it does not reflect an average. The truth is Google uses an algorithm and an average to determine how many stars are displayed.
How do I manage Google reviews?
Take these steps to manage your Google reviews manually.
Step 1: Go to Google Business Profile (google.com/business) and sign in.
Step 2: Click ‘reviews’ from the left menu.
Step 3: Choose a location group.
Step 4: When you find the review you would like to reply to, click ‘reply’.
Step 5: Write your reply and click ‘post reply’.
Disadvantages of managing your reviews manually?
If you have multiple locations, managing reviews can be time-consuming and confusing, and keeping track of the login details for multiple locations can be a challenge! You also have to open each location manually to see if there is a new review.
How our Google review management software works?
To address the above-mentioned challenges with your business listings, we have developed a review management tool, GMBapi.com
It is a Google review service software that can help you manage multiple locations from one dashboard, allow you to post across all your locations, manage your online reputation effectively, and report on performance.
In our Google review manager:
Step 1: Navigate to reviews.
Step 2: Select All locations or a specific location.
Step 3: Click on ‘reply’.
Step 4: Type your message and click x.
What does our review management software report on?
GMBapi.com’s review management software reports on all KPIs that matter for multi-location businesses. Also, the review management software focuses on making it time efficient to manage your chain’s reputation across a large number of physical locations.
For both the latest reviews, and the aggregated reviews per location, our review management software reports on the number of reviews, average ratings, response percentage and response times.
Sentiment analysis functionality
We also have sentiment analysis functionality that can report on the sentiment around specific topics, such as “service” or “price”. That is available for the entire chain or per location – but it needs a large number of reviews in order to make sense.
How to measure if your Google review management works?
There are several ways to analyse whether your management of reviews is successful or not. If your strategy is working, you should gain more revenue and more store visits.
One metric that might be of interest to you is the amount of ‘Direction Requests’ your locations receive. You can see this metric in Google Insights as well as Google analytics.
GMBapi for Google review management
We use reporting to see if any review management efforts have any effect at all. Besides, the tool not only saves you time with posting updates, monitoring reviews, and responding to Q&As, but it also gives you the ability to track performance, report on it, and do A/B tests to see the impact of your actions.
Making us a valuable partner who doesn’t just do business but builds real connections.