How to Manage Google Reviews

Google reviews are an important metric by which your customers will judge your business. When someone takes the time to review a company on Google, usually they either had a very positive or very negative experience. Too many poor reviews tells them you fail drastically in one or more areas, while consistent positive reviews tells them you’re a reliable company and can be trusted to provide the services you say you will. Because Google reviews are so important to the overall impression your business leaves on potential and current customers, it is important that you learn how to manage Google reviews effectively.

google review policies

What Are Google Reviews?

Google reviews are feedback, positive or negative, that customers of yours can leave on your Google business page. These reviews can be viewed by anyone who searches for and finds you on Google. Often those reviews are the first impression a customer gets of your business. Think about it – how many times have you been looking for a product or service online and made a choice based on how well others said that company or product performed? If the majority of previous customers have complained about this company or product, why would you then choose to take a risk on them? As you can probably guess from answering the questions posed, building up positive Google reviews are a huge step in building your business a rich online reputation.

Importance of Google Reviews

Google reviews are often the first impression a customer gets of your business. Properly managing Google reviews and promoting positive reviews is essential to having a positive overall presence online. It’s no surprise some companies go to great lengths to promote positive reviews being posted, sometimes including buying fake reviews. Do NOT fall into that trap! Fake reviews are often noticeable to customers and can turn them off worse than a negative review would. Not to mention, they are against Google’s review content policy. 

Instead, focus on cultivating real reviews from real customers. Address complaints with professionalism and take suggestions to heart. Doing this shows you’re open to improvement and are customer oriented, putting a positive spin on the negative. Also, make sure to respond to positive reviews thanking your customers. This will show you are responsive, engaged, and truly care about your customers’ experiences being positive.

google reviews

Promoting Customers to Leave Google Reviews

Learning how to manage Google reviews is but one step. Before you can manage reviews, you must get your customers to leave reviews. It’s not enough to just promote getting good reviews – discovering how to address the bad reviews and reinforce the positive ones is ultimately a big part of Google review management as well.

Positive Reviews

Getting positive 5-star reviews is, of course, your main goal. 4-star reviews can be good as well, but take note of why the customer chose to take a star off. In your response to a positive review, make sure you reply quickly and professionally, acknowledge any suggestions the customer made, provide a solution if needed, and make sure to thank them for their time. Another good option to highlight positive reviews is to post them on social media or your webpage. The more you can focus on positivity, the more it will outweigh any negativity.

Neutral Reviews

Neutral reviews can be a bit tricky. 3-star reviews generally have something equally positive and negative to say and both sides should be taken into consideration in your reply. As with positive reviews, make sure you respond professionally and in a timely manner. Provide a solution to the customer’s complaint or offer compensation if needed. Ideally, responding in this way will entice them to change their review to 4-star or 5-star. As always, thank them for taking the time to submit feedback to you.

how to manage google reviews

Negative Reviews

Negativity in a review can often be hard to stomach. Some customers are unreasonably harsh, while some genuinely had a bad experience and didn’t allow you the chance to resolve it outside of posting a review. Some negative reviews are genuine and offer you valuable feedback you can use to improve your business. Try your best to see 1-star and 2-star reviews as a chance to learn. If you engage with these reviews, be even more careful about being timely and respectful – you don’t want to make it worse. Do your best to resolve the issue. Is there a problem with the product? Offer a refund or replacement. Did customer service let them down? Apologize and ensure the customer that improvements will be made. You need to defend your online reputation, but don’t fall into being negative back.

If you find that the customer is simply being rude, insulting, or extreme in some way, you may be able to get the review removed. Refer to the Google Review Policies section below to get a better idea of what is and is not acceptable. You can’t get a review removed for simply being negative as that would be an abuse of the system. However, customers are held to a certain standard when providing a review of your business. If they fail to uphold that standard then their review is removed.

How to Read Google Reviews

There are a few different ways your Google reviews will show up online. Learning how to read each style will help you understand what your customers may be seeing and adjust accordingly.

Local “3-Pack” Search Results

When a customer searches for a business on Google using “near me” as keywords, they will be met with the three closest businesses matching their other keywords – the closeness of distance and relevancy to their search. These results are referred to as a Google 3-Pack or Local Map Pack. Both the business’ information and reviews are available for customers to view.

Google Maps Results

Oftentimes potential customers look for businesses on Google Maps. If you have reviews for your business on Google, those reviews are also visible on Google Maps results.

Knowledge Panel

When a customer uses Google to find your business online, Google presents them with a summary of your business listing on the right side of their screen. This is referred to as a Google Knowledge Panel. The details on this panel are made up of those on your Google business profile. If your business has multiple locations, each one will have a distinct knowledge panel that shows up on Google search results.

how to read google reviews

Google Review Policies

Google’s policies clearly indicate what can and cannot be contained in a review. If someone leaves a review containing any of these prohibited subjects, please report it for deletion as soon as possible. While Google does have an automated checker for things like this, sometimes bad stuff can sneak through.

Google Review Management

Now that you know the importance of both good and bad reviews, it is important that you learn how to manage Google reviews properly. 

The first step is to identify a review that may need to be reviewed by Google, whether it’s a fake or otherwise violates Google’s content policy. Next, locate the flag icon on the top right area of the review. You may need to hover over the review to see the flag. Click it. If a flag is not an option, there should be a line of three small dots. Click the dots and “Flag as Inappropriate” will come up as an option. On the page that comes up, provide your email address and select your reason for flagging this review. The reason will vary by incident.

Reminder: you don’t get to delete a review simply because it’s negative. Try to instead approach the negative review in a positive manner and you’ll be surprised how many benefits you can receive this way!

Other Review Websites

Many customers won’t stop at simply reviewing a company on Google. They’ll want to head over to sites like Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, or the Better Business Bureau to express their concerns or just gratitude for excellent service. In fact, when researching a company, the BBB is one of the most valued sites for consumer insights. It’s a solid policy to make sure you have a presence on these other popular review sites as well so that you can address concerns or promote positive experiences. If a customer feels ignored, “I didn’t know you reached out” isn’t a good excuse for them. Avoid making a customer feel ignored by regularly checking other review sites. The sooner you respond, the better! Learn how to manage reviews with those websites as well. They’re likely similar to how Google works.

Online Reputation Management

We get it – it seems super time-consuming for you to put so much effort into monitoring all of these different platforms and responding to every review yourself. That’s where SEO Design Chicago can step in. We offer reputation management services that will cover all of the key areas discussed in this article for you and more. Our dedicated and professional team will provide reports of how your web reputation can be further improved by drawing in more positivity and reducing what negativity is seen. Get in touch today!


  • How do I deal with unfair reviews on Google?
  • How can I see my business’s Google reviews?
  • Can owners remove Google reviews?
  • How do I manage reviews on Google My Business?
  • Why are Google reviews important?

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