What are Google reviews and why are they important?
Google is the biggest search engine in the world. It’s how millions upon millions of people discover their new favourite things. It’s how they get answers to important questions and find solutions to problems instantly. But when you’re presented with a plethora of options with each search there’s one sure-fire way to discover which solutions are reputable, and which might not meet everyone’s standards.
It’s no secret that online reviews are a big deal and Google Reviews are one of the major players. But what sets them apart from other online review platforms and how can you make the most of them?
Let’s explore what Google reviews are and how to get more of them if you’re currently lacking in this department.
What are Google reviews?
A Google review is a rating given by a customer and displayed on Google’s public platforms for others to see. They are voluntarily given, unpaid, and show what previous customers think of that company. They’re shown on a business’s Google Business listing, which is the special call-out on the right-hand side of a search result, or on a Google Maps listing.
Google reviews give customers a third-party platform to leave feedback about the Customer Experience. This can include pictures, stories, complaints, praise, and star ratings so that other consumers can assess the brand in question before investing in it themselves.
The advantages of Google reviews
Google reviews are a key driver of business growth because they help with search engine ranking, click-through rates, and customer conversions. Over 89% of consumers read online reviews about a brand before making purchase decisions and with 59% of users opting for it, Google is the most popular review platform.
Google reviews are also important because they say something about your brand before your website has had a chance to step in. For example, if someone were to search ‘cafes near me’ Google would bring up a list of the nearest cafes. All show the same level of information on Google Maps; one image, their name, location, their review rating (star rating), and the number of reviews. So when you’re comparing three or more cafes with only this information what, out of all of that, tells you which is the best? That’s right, the number and rating from previous customers.
Therefore, being visible and well-represented on Google Reviews is a vital component of success. There are 5 core benefits of cultivating Google reviews, so here’s what you need to know:
Increasing brand trust
Advertising is everywhere these days but did you know that positive online reviews convert more customers than marketing campaigns? That’s because once marketing has captured a prospective buyer’s interest, online reviews have the power to transform that interest into trust.
A fellow customer’s review is objective and relatable whereas brand advertising has an obvious agenda. Customers know that advertising can be misleading so they prefer to seek out first-hand information directly from their peers. The information in these reviews can help to determine if a brand’s claims are credible and worth investing in.
Optimising local search ranking
Google reviews also determine how a business ranks on search results by compiling real-world information from existing customers. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) determines where a brand is ranked in local Google results based on common search words, relevance, location, and popularity.
Online reviews feed into this by contributing data to the Google algorithm. In other words, the more reviews your brand receives, the more likely it is to rank highly in a local Google search.
Increasing click-through rates
With more Google reviews comes more engagement, especially when the majority of reviews are positive. With better searchability and more trust, buyers are more likely to consider engaging with a brand’s website, leading to higher traffic and more conversions.
If you want to increase your online exposure, encouraging Google reviews should be part of your strategy. Even if your website is world-class, people won’t visit it without a compelling reason. Google reviews provide exactly that, by demonstrating that fellow consumers have tried and tested the brand and confirm that it is worth investigating.
When customers are leaving positive feedback, it’s always a good idea to highlight it on your website. When a person is on your website and considering making a purchase, a section of customer testimonials can dramatically influence their decision. Linking to positive reviews and showcasing your happiest customers is a great way to prove your brand's worth and nudge new customers to invest.
These testimonials are called ‘social proof’ and give prospective buyers the certainty they need to trust a brand’s promises. This is your chance to turn happy customers into brand advocates who spread free and effective word-of-mouth marketing to anyone who visits your website.
Building a feedback loop
Even if your Google reviews leave room for improvement, you can leverage them for positive growth. Every review provides valuable insights into what’s working and what isn’t, direct from the source. You can use these insights to demonstrate your willingness to listen to customers, make improvements, and better understand your target audience.
We recommend implementing a strategy that closes the customer feedback loop which means asking for feedback, acting on the responses, and assessing the results. In doing this, customers will see that you value their input and be more inclined to continue investing.
3 steps to get more Google reviews
So you know Google reviews are important but knowing how to optimise them is another story. To get more reviews, we recommend following these best practices:
Verify your Google Business Profile
Customers can only leave reviews about your business if you’ve set up a Google Business Profile. To do this, you need to follow these steps:
- Search your business in Google and claim ownership.
- Update information about the business, such as contact details, address, and hours of operation.
- Add a link to the brand website and social media pages.
- Upload high-resolution photos of the business, products, and services.
Once you’ve done this, your customers are more likely to find your business profile when they look for it. Not only does this increase the number of online reviews you receive, but it also boosts traffic to your website. For digital dominance, this step is a must.
Value all reviews
Remember that all reviews are important, whether they’re good or bad. Good reviews attract more customers by building trust and giving social proof while negative reviews provide an opportunity for improvement.
When you receive a review, you should always:
- Respond to every review publicly. Never ignore customer feedback because it will do more damage than good.
- Be compassionate and patient.
- Accept responsibility for mistakes.
- Acknowledge what the customer is saying and offer a meaningful solution.
- Thank the customer for their input.
- Follow up the review with relevant action, such as resolving the customers’ complaints.
Learn how to respond to negative reviews by reading our article.
Ask customers for reviews
While the majority of customers are willing to leave reviews, only 10% do, largely due to not being asked in the first place. When a brand does reach out to a customer, as many as 76% will oblige. To ask for reviews, you should:
- Use automation to trigger review requests at key moments such as after a purchase.
- Incorporate a link to your review page in customer emails and product pages.
- Make the review process as simple, accessible, and rewarding as possible.
- Direct customers to your review page when they respond to customer feedback surveys.
- Target the happiest customers by sending review requests to those who give the highest ratings in internal feedback.
No matter what your customers have to say, you need to optimise your Google reviews.
By using the Review Tui software, you can harness the power of reviews and customer insights with simplicity and efficiency. The software includes:
- Survey building tools
- Automated surveys and review requests
- Built-in analytics
- Integration with HubSpot
- Adaptable campaign links
To get started, sign up for the platform or download our guide where you’ll get all the tips you need to implement an effective customer feedback strategy.