Google Reviews are seriously so important. It’s not just because a bad Google Rating makes you look bad either. That is a really good reason though. Google Reviews actually contribute to how you show up on Google Maps, Google Local Listings, and even in the SERP. On top of that? Your Google Rating will affect your click-through rate… duh.
The odds are kind of slated against your business though. Due to the general nature of humans, we’re more inclined to leave a bad review than a good one.
Humans focus on the negative. Don’t believe me? Compare how many times you’ve told the tale of being cut off in traffic with how many times you’ve excitedly reported that someone let you in in traffic…
When we have a bad experience, we feel a kind of injustice — whether it’s warranted or not. So, the experience stays with us longer and we feel like we need to do something about it.
When we have a really positive experience, we kind of accept that as the norm, what we deserve, the expectation. So, we won’t hold onto that experience and we won’t feel that same burning desire to leave a review.
Many of us love a bad Google Review. There’s an unbelievably strong percentage of us who see a low Google Rating and rub our hands together excitedly before we filter the reviews by Lowest – Highest. And, while bad reviews are almost too entertaining, you really, really don’t want to be the business in question.
One or two bad reviews can be laughed off, but several bad reviews are going to be detrimental. Particularly, if everyone’s citing the same issues… like bones in your pizza.
what the fuck is going on at this pizza place pic.twitter.com/WFQ7g6YbxD
— nico (@poko_hahaha) June 22, 2020
These reviews… aren’t ideal either.
— bad google reviews (@bad_goog_review) October 16, 2019
— Great Bad Google Reviews (@GreatBadReviews) November 22, 2019
You obviously don’t want negative Google Reviews because it’s a pretty bad look. But, making you look bad isn’t all that bad Google Reviews do. Google wants to deliver a really good service to its users. That’s why they have algorithms and parameters that ensure the sites and listings you see are super relevant to your search, of a high quality, and are typically filled with valuable content.
Google uses its reviews to determine who shows up in those local packs. So, the more positive Google Reviews, the higher you’ll appear in Google Maps and Local Pack listings. The more negative reviews? The lower you show up.
As a small business, you might not have the budget or the resources to rank on the first page of Google. That’s why local packs like Google Maps are your friend.
If we take a cafe for example — it’d have to outrank the likes of Urban List, Must Do Brisbane, Yelp, Trip Advisor, all those sites that work as directories or publications. But local packs outrank even the #1 result on Google’s results page.
All you have to do to show up there is optimise your Google My Business profile and get Google Reviews.
In case we haven’t driven this point home yet. Google Reviews help you rank higher in your local packs, they help position you really positively, and they help you rank higher on the actual results page. This happens as a result of your higher click-through rate (basically a guarantee if you have a high rating). The better your Google Rating, the higher your local listing. This results in more website traffic, which results in a higher ranking.
The hardest part! You know you need Google Reviews but how do you get them? You’ll need to ask your customers or clients. But, there are a few different (and better) ways you can do this — rather than begging them as soon as the transaction is complete.
When you finalise a project or service — send through an email a week or two afterwards. Ask them how everything is, if they’re still happy with it, and if there’s anything more you can do. Then, tie off the email with, “Hey, if you’re happy with our service, could you please leave us a Google Review?” Make sure you give them the link to leave a review to make it as simple as possible.
If you leave some kind of brochure, after-sales care document, or you provide an actual product — pop a ‘Leave Us a Review’ card in. These can be created to thank the customer for ordering from you, prompt them to follow your socials, and ask them for a Google Review.
This is a risky one as there are definitely some ethical questions involved. But, it is used by a lot of cafes and restaurants. Offer customers a free coffee, 10% off their bill, or some kind of small add-on if they leave a Google Review.
If you get a fake review, you can report this to Google and work to have it taken down.
But what if you get a genuinely bad review? From a real-life customer? The best place to start is with a genuine reply. Apologise for their experience, empathise with them, and ask how you can make it right. If their food was burnt, could you offer dinner on you? If the product was dodgy, can you send out a replacement for free? If the workmanship was poor, can you send someone out to fix it?
Take actionable steps to make it right for the customer. They may remove their review or update it. If the review does stay up, it at least looks a lot better that you’ve owned the bad experience and have taken steps to fix it for the customer.