A Google review is a review left by a customer about a business. When someone looks up a business on Google, the reviews are one of the first things that pop up. According to a Forbes article, more than 60% of customers check the Google review of a business before they decide to use the business’s service/product. For the customer to even consider your business, it needs to be high up on Google’s result page. That can be done through lots of good reviews. In this article, we will discuss Google’s new policy, learn about the importance of reputation management, and the best way to get more reviews with Google’s new policies.
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Google’s New Policy
In 2018, Google changed its policy stating that you can no longer discourage negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews. Previously, when asking customers for a review, you could first ask if they had a positive or negative experience. This was called a sentiment check. By asking first, it made it easy for businesses to filter out the negative reviews that would reflect poorly on the business. With Google’s new policy, if they catch you doing this, they can remove all of your reviews from your Google My Business page.
People do not want to use a business if there are only negative reviews, or even worse no reviews. When a customer sees a business with no reviews, it means that the business is unable to meet the needs of the customers. Or, it means that they are an untrustworthy and disrespected business. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on your reviews and put an effort into maintaining your online reputation.
How to Get More Reviews
In order to adapt successfully to the new strategy, you need to have someone monitoring the reviews. Usually, customers are driven to write a review if they had a bad experience. Here are some tips on how to get your customers to write a Google Review for your business when they have a good experience. Unlike some other review platforms, Google allows businesses to encourage their customers to write a review, so use that to your advantage.
Ask Your Customers
71% of customers would leave a review if you simply asked them. Many customers do not think about doing it themselves, so a casual request can be all they need to write a review. If the customer had a good experience, they are also likely more inclined to write a review and just see it as an opportunity to help support the business.
Give an Incentive
This method must be done carefully. However, it is often used by restaurants. A small incentive such as offering a 10% off coupon on your next purchase is allowed and is an effective way to get reviews about the business.
Show Customer Appreciation
Expressing gratitude to the customer is important. Thanking customers and showing appreciation provides good customer service and will make the customer want to write a good review. It shows customers that the business cares about its customers and wants to hear their opinions on how things could improve.
Leave Google Reviews on Your Site
It can be helpful to have a review page on your website. You can feature a couple of the good reviews that people have left. This will encourage others that had a good experience to write a review and can bring new potential customers to your business.
Make It an Easy Process
Make it easy for your customers to write a review. Nobody is going to want to click through ten different steps to leave a review for a business. The easier the process to leave a review is, the more reviews you will get. For example, if you are an online retailer, once a customer completes a purchase, the following page could give the customer the opportunity to give a review on their recent transaction.
Good Customer Service
The most important tip is to provide amazing customer service and try to build a relationship with customers. Encouraging customers to write reviews is great, but if there are more bad reviews than good ones, you will lose customers. Quickly responding to a customer and personalizing your interactions with them can go a long way. Taking longer than 3 days to respond to a message may warrant a bad review. If the customer is happy with the service provided, they will leave a good review and continue to go back as well.
These types of reviews are in violation of Google’s new policies so Google may remove them from your business review page:
Google reviews need to be an honest reflection of a customer’s experience with a business. They should not be posted to skew the ratings in your favor. Multiple posts for the same business but different locations having the same IP address or the same reviews from many different accounts will be flagged for review.
Conflict of Interest Reviews
Having unbiased posts and honest posts is important for customers. Reviews you make about your business to boost your ratings or negative reviews about your competitors are not allowed.
Google reviews should be used for customers to share their experiences with your business. Reviews that discuss controversial issues or go off on tangents are not allowed.
Content that discusses restricted content (CTAs, alcohol promotion, financial services, health services, sexual activities, drugs, etc.) are in violation of Google’s guidelines.
Illegal content includes offensive language and gestures, terrorism, impersonation, conflict of interest, and dangerous content (self-harm, harassment, etc.).
Besides the things listed above, the following are also prohibited:
- Using reviews for advertising. This includes posting mailing addresses, social media links, or links to other sites
- Accepting money in exchange for reviews
- Including promotional content
- Soliciting reviews from customers in bulk
Monitoring Google Reviews
While there are many different review platforms like Facebook and Yelp, Google is the most used and trusted platform for reviews. Many times, businesses will lose prospective customers due to bad reviews they find on Google. It is important to know how to deal with negative reviews as well as positives.
Responding to Negative Reviews
Customers are one of the main drivers of a company’s success. They have the power to ruin a brand’s online reputation with just a few negative comments. Google makes it seem very easy to remove negative reviews, but it is not that easy. You can report a review by flagging it. But in most cases, Google will only delete a review if it is in violation of one of their policies. Usually, a negative review includes something that the business can improve on. If a customer shares their issue, try to respond within 24 hours. Also, be sure to apologize and address the customer’s issue. Once you do that, you can ask the customer to remove or edit the review. Never ignore a negative review. If you do not want to address it in public, you can always privately message the customer and try to come up with a solution to their problem.
Although the review is negative and may badly affect your business, it is still valuable feedback. Use that feedback as a learning experience and make customers aware that their feedback matters. Also, make it known that you are making the necessary changes to improve their experience. If these changes are not shared, customers may still have a bad impression of the business and share that with others.
Responding to Positive Reviews
You may not think that it is necessary to interact with a review if it is positive. If the customer has no complaints then why do you need to respond to them? While you don’t need to react to every single positive review, it is good practice to acknowledge some of them. Thank the customers for supporting your business and for their time. You can also highlight the positive reviews on your social media accounts.
While it can be difficult to manage a lot of different reviews, it is important to not make your messages sound too automated and repetitive. Try to personalize the response by mentioning specific details such as the customer’s name.
Implementing a Reputation Management Strategy
It may be hard to transition your current review strategy to align with Google’s new policy. But It is important to implement a good reputation management strategy because your online reputation is a reflection of how your business is doing, how reliable your service is, and how important your customers are to you. A reputation management platform will help emphasize the positive reviews and limit the negative ones through a strategy that best fits your company. SEO Design Chicago offers reputation management services to make this all more manageable for you.
- What are Google reviews?
- What is considered illegal content in Google reviews?
- How do I respond to negative reviews?
- How do I respond to positive reviews?
- Why do I need a reputation management strategy?