Business owners and marketing managers aiming to have their business’s website appear on the first page of search engine results pages are often focused on search engine optimization strategies, including blogs, and search engine marketing. But there’s one area of search results that has a powerful impact on businesses that many business owners overlook: Google Reviews.
Approximately 98% of consumers search online for information about local businesses in 2022, according to BrightLocal’s 2023 Local Consumer Review Survey. Since Google is used for more than 83% of all online searches, it’s critical that businesses show up when consumers are Googling them.
Google takes into account three things when deciding what search results to deliver to a consumer:
- Relevance: how relevant your business’s products or services are to that consumer’s search
- Distance: how far away your business is from the consumer’s location when they’re searching (as determined by Google Maps)
- Prominence: The reviews and ratings on Google Reviews for your business
That prominence factor is especially dependent on what words a consumer uses in their search. For example, if a consumer is searching for “car dealers near me” then Google will show all local car dealers to that consumer. If that person searches “best car dealers near me” then Google will only return businesses with at least a 4-star rating on Google Reviews.
The Good, The Bad, and The Google Review
All reviews — whether they are positive or negative — can be helpful for your business, as long as you know about it and handle it appropriately.
Positive reviews build trust and credibility for your business. When potential customers see that other people have had a positive experience with your product or service, they are more likely to trust your business. Your responsiveness can make an impact too. Even a simple “thank you” to positive comments on Google Reviews shows that you value your customers and their feedback. It goes a long way to boost your visibility!
No business owner wants to receive a negative review, but you can turn that negative review into a positive one if you handle it correctly. You never want to ignore negative reviews because they highlight the areas where your business can make changes to better meet the customer’s needs.
Instead, it’s important to respond to the customer leaving the review so that you have a chance to address the issue. This is your opportunity to show that customer that you’re willing to learn and grow, which overall gives them a better experience with your business. If you resolve the issue, you can ask them to update their review. Even if they don’t, your response can show other consumers that you care about providing a great experience and that you handle criticism well. That goes a long way!
Managing your Google Reviews (and reviews on other platforms like Facebook and Yelp) is part of a marketing tactic called reputation management. Learn more about how this tactic can help your business in the blog Why Reputation Management Is Important For Local Businesses from our digital marketing agency Federated Digital Solutions.