Reviews in Google, all about the effect, collecting and managing them (Guide)
Perhaps one, if not the most important aspect of your Google My Business (GMB) profile are the reviews. The reviews that everyone reads, that every company tries to keep as good as possible. And which you therefore often find on most websites. Besides Google My Company there are also many third-party providers for review solutions. This while you can do all this for free with your GMB profile.
Haven’t created your profile yet or still have questions about managing your GMB profile? Then take a look here!
Reviews are also a hot topic these days. You may have read the news reports. The importance is now being realized by most entrepreneurs and agencies, resulting in a huge flow of paid and fake reviews. Even governments are guilty of it. This is even going so far that it now seems to be included in a special law, which prohibits fake reviews. Read here the article about fake reviews from the NOS.
With this article, we are going to give you enough tools to start collecting and managing Google Reviews successfully and improve the position of your branches and locations in local search results.
Google Reviews - how does it affect your business?
Google reviews are hugely important for your local search results (local SEO) and numbers of customers or contact requests. They are directly part of Google’s algorithm – logical too. Are you at the top? Then you’re already getting more traffic! Read more about that in the next chapter.
Besides the direct effect, of course, potential customers read the reviews to form an image of the product or services to be provided. Imagine; you own a restaurant (chain) – then people are definitely going to read reviews to see if the food and service is good. The same goes for take-away chains. How are the delivery times, how is the food and service? Or you own a garage or a garage formula – then you like to see reflected in the reviews that people drive away feeling satisfied and safe. Preferably with the feeling that people have not paid too much 😉 So it is obvious that for every industry, every chain etc. it is important to collect (good) reviews. The reviews should give an overall picture. Still no company is perfect. Only positive reviews are rare!
Google reviews as a ranking factor for local search results
Reviews, together with the distance to potential customers, prominence / presence / (local) relevance, determine which profile in the local pack (thus in all likelihood the best result for the customer) comes first or which company profile is activated immediately. In short: reviews contribute greatly to the local rankings of your business in Google, in percentage terms (not officially confirmed) you can expect somewhere between 20-30%.
Numbers of reviews are also important; however, the key formula behind this is not yet known to us. It seems that a certain constancy of new reviews is valuable. Everyone gets chances from Google. Reviews from local guides seem to carry more weight than those from someone who has been somewhere sporadically.
In addition to the numbers and the average rating, the interaction is also important. This provides an image of authenticity towards Google. Thus, this is user generated content for Google; and thus an even more important factor. So an opportunity for entrepreneurs to create interaction and a bond with customers!
Collecting Google reviews
Before you dive into the process of getting your ad on Google Maps, below are some more benefits regarding advertising within Google Maps.
Collecting reviews is a tricky business. First of all, it’s not easy to find the link to collect reviews. You can find it here, in your GMB profile (on home):
Click on that. Then you will see the following screen:
You can share this link with customers. The options to share it via Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter are already listed immediately – as well as sharing it via Email.
Then it is also difficult to get people to leave reviews. Especially since you often do not have an immediate ”relationship” with a customer. It is wise to hint at physical locations to review opportunities on Google. Actively approaching customers after an X period or a certain action is also possible. However, the willingness is often low when there is nothing in return, so be original with that! Much nicer is of course to automate this from a ”customer relationship”. As soon as a customer has ordered something, has visited you – after a few hours or a short period – send an automatic email with the question to leave a review. Including of course the link to your Google Reviews.
Fortunately, Google itself is also active; when people seem to become more active and Google is allowed to track his or her location, active push notifications often follow to write a review. This is because your reviews have already been read ”so many times”. Personally, I love doing it; leaving reviews. Some have literally been read >20,000 times. That also shows the impact of Google reviews and thus the level of importance. So let’s all honestly review the entrepreneurs we visit as well!
This also goes directly beyond local search results. It is for many new customers a validation of the expectation pattern.
In fact: Third party review platforms are included as a ”side-note” when there are enough of them.
Google's policy on reviews (why don't reviews show up in my Google profile?)
Google has a strict policy when it comes to reviews. The total policy can be found here. Especially with everything concerning fake reviews, with which business and even governments are portrayed – or broken down – a bit too positively.
Responding to reviews in Google
As mentioned earlier; collecting reviews is one thing and difficult enough. It is an additional opportunity for business owners to create interaction with customers. Responding to reviews is therefore very important for your rankings. When you don’t respond it doesn’t look like you are active towards customers to Google; so why would you get high in the rankings?
When you actively deal with reviews, receive feedback – and also respond in a substantive and useful way, this is seen as very positive by customers and by Google. Often there is already a threshold taken to review – given that most people are not really often intrinsically motivated to do so.
I received a negative review, now what?
This is, of course, very annoying. Dive in; is it true what has been said here? Verify that. Is it correct? Take it. Thank you for it and indicate that you would like to repair the negative part, for example a next time customer X comes along. And so you immediately take the opportunity to invite them personally.
Is it not true? Is it a fake profile? Does it violate Google’s policies? Check this (read on). See if you can report the review. If not, respond to it and indicate that it is not correct and thus already hint towards the fake review. The point here is that other people who view reviews can already filter out the fake review.
Positive reviews on Google
Positive reviews on Google are, of course, the nicest. Thank people for that too. Again, remember, they’ve already taken the trouble to thank you – again, invite them for a repeat visit at a tactical moment by means of a thank you note. It is seriously difficult to collect many reviews – every review counts 🙂
How do I centrally manage all Google Reviews?
You can manage the reviews of your business in your Google My Business profile. Under the heading reviews. This is good to do when you have one to five branches. Do you have more branches? Then it’s useful to use Erli for this. To manage the reviews centrally, from one place. This saves time, but also ensures that no reviews are missed and that you can get the most out of them in terms of interaction and rankings. Please contact us at the bottom of the page, Erli would love to help you!
Reporting fake reviews to Google
It is possible to report fake reviews to Google. However, this is an agonizing process. The fact is that many more reviews are written by your customers than end up showing up in your profile. This is due to Google’s extremely strict policy. So when a fake review comes through, it is a trigger for Google to take action. Also under the motto: no you have, yes you can get – just try to get the review out.