Managing Google reviews to improve your business’s online reputation is hugely important. In this day and age, potential customers have easy access to more information about your business – both good and bad. If the majority of what they find when searching for information about your business is negativity, they’re far less likely to make a purchase or otherwise engage with your business. Managing your online reputation to be mostly, if not all, positive will improve sales and other engagements, which will then add more positivity.
When you or a Google reputation manager work hard at creating positivity around your business, you will undoubtedly attract more positivity. To manage your reputation through Google reviews, you must cultivate positivity from your customers. This can be done in a few ways, which we will discuss below in the “Getting More Reviews” section. You can’t simply ignore the negativity or have it removed, it needs to be addressed in a professional manner. This practice can often help negate what negativity there may be. A customer will read the negative review, see your response and attempt to resolve the issues posed, and will respect that you’re trying to offer good customer service.
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Google Reviews and Ratings
A Google review is when a customer or someone who is otherwise engaged with your business posts their opinion of your business on your Google business listing’s page. They can rate their opinion from one to five stars and include a text description of their experience. These reviews are all public and anyone can add a review, even people who haven’t actually engaged with your business. This is a problem we’ll approach and discuss the removal of later on in this article.
Some customers opt not to include text with their ratings, which isn’t very helpful to your understanding of what may have gone wrong. Ideally, you want the text feedback so you can further improve your business. Even a positive 5-star review can help you improve. It can be tough but don’t ignore the 1-star reviews, even if they feel overly critical and borderline rude.
5-star reviews are your goal. This exceptional review means your business did an amazing job in the customer’s eyes and they may or may not have feedback for you on how you can further improve that impression. These make great testimonials to post on social media or your website. Don’t forget to thank the customer for their time leaving a nice review! This practice will further reinforce their positive experience.
4-star reviews are also really good to receive. You overall left your customer with a positive impression, but they felt there was an area or two that you could improve on. Hopefully, they mention said area. But if they didn’t, you can address the missing star in your review response by asking how they feel you can improve. Again, thank the customer for their review.
3-star reviews are considered neutral but can feel negative. This type of review says they had equally positive and negative experiences with your business. Usually, a reviewer will take the opportunity to mention what they didn’t like, more so than what they did like. Then, you can use that feedback to improve. If the customer failed to include what went wrong during their experience with your business, make sure you use your reply to their review as an opportunity to get this information. As with both positive review types, thank them for their feedback.
2-star reviews are mostly negative. They may have found a redeeming quality or two about your business, but overall their experience was negative. One and two-star reviews can be hard to stomach, especially if the reviewer was rude, but they are the most important ones to take into consideration. Note down what the complaint was and offer a solution if possible. Validate the customer and, you guessed it, thank them for their feedback.
1-star reviews are reserved for only the most negative of experiences. It’s not easy, but you must try to respond to these with apologetic kindness and professionalism to ensure the customer that you are taking their concerns seriously. Offer a solution if possible, like a discount, replacement of the product, or refund. By responding with an effort to resolve the customer’s complaint, you can help negate the negativity in the eyes of anyone who reads it. This is why it’s so important for you to engage with these reviews especially. If they simply dropped a one or two-star review and then left without a word, do attempt to reach out for an explanation. Yes, even with 1-star reviews, you need to be thanking them for taking the time to reach out to you.
Getting More Reviews
Cultivating more reviews, especially positive ones, is the first step to improving your online reputation management. From there you can begin reputation management and managing reviews themselves. How do you get more reviews? There are a few common practices for doing so:
- Email customers asking them to review your product or business online. Provide links to your business pages on all major platforms with Google as the first option. Google is the most important, but not the only one!
- Offer a discount to anyone who submits a review to your website that you can use as a testimonial or review.
- Have a business presence wherever your customers are. Major websites aside from Google are the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, and social media sites like Facebook.
- Run contests on social media asking for reviews in exchange for contest entries.
Managing Google Reviews
Managing inappropriate Google reviews is an important task in managing your reputation. You can’t get a review deleted for it simply being negative, but you can get it removed for violating Google’s review content policies. Most of the time, what you’re looking for are clearly fake reviews, spam reviews, or very rude and inflammatory reviews. Simply ignore these types of reviews and don’t respond to them in any way. Flag them for deletion and move on. Focus your reply efforts on the real reviews.
The Google Algorithm and SEO for Reviews
Believe it or not, Google reviews work with SEO. While you can’t control the content of the reviews your customers leave, by encouraging more, eventually you will build up better SEO over time. When requesting reviews from customers, you can encourage them to include a few keywords. In the above contests example, for instance, you could add a clause to include a certain number of specific keywords for the entry to count.
Building Brand Reputation and Trust
Building a proper online reputation and trust in your business is not an overnight process. It takes a lot of time, patience, and consistency. You need to prove to your customers that you can be trusted by remaining reliable and engaged with them throughout the lifetime of your business. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Get those reviews in! Keep them coming in time after time, don’t just stop at an initial few good ones.
- Engage with your customers, both publicly and privately. Respond to positivity and negativity alike.
- Be sure to be professional and kind in any response.
- Get policy-breaking reviews removed, you don’t need to engage with those.
- Be open to improvement and show this to your customers by taking action where they suggest.
- You don’t need to take action in every area that customers suggest, especially if it doesn’t make sense for your business, but every business must innovate and improve over time. You must remain open to improvement.
- Focus on your strengths and opportunities in your own content. Highlighting what you can do well will shift people’s focus away from flaws.
- Improve how the algorithm views you.
- SEO is key here. Too many companies neglect to consider SEO in every piece of content they create. If you’re not on the first page of Google within searches relevant to your product or business, you may as well not exist.
Online Reputation Management Improves Google Reviews
After reading this article, you should understand just how important Google online reputation management is. Surrounding your business with positive reviews, engaged customers, and algorithm-friendly content are all important steps in managing your online reputation. The better your reputation, the more Google reviews you will receive, and the more likely they will be positive, which in turn improves your reputation even more!
Google Online Reputation Management Services by a Trusted Google Reputation Manager
Are you just a bit overwhelmed by all you have to do to properly manage Google reviews and your online reputation? We’re here for you! SEO Design Chicago offers Google online reputation management services and can handle all of the tasks associated with building your brand into a more positive light. We’ll squash negative reviews with kindness and professionalism, plus promote positive reviews. We also know how to work the algorithm in your favor and highlight the awesome qualities of your business. Let’s work together to improve your rep!
- What are Google reviews?
- Why should I aim for 5-star reviews?
- Should I respond to 1-star reviews?
- How do reviews impact SEO?
- How do you get more reviews?