In this day and age, having a good flow of genuine customer reviews posted about you online is integral to making your business a household name in your local area. Google reviews are one of the best ways to raise your online profile and improve your company’s offering which is why today, we’re going over the reasons behind this as well as how to start getting more reviews from your customers.

The three ways Google reviews can help your business

1. Making your business seem more trustworthy

This goes for both your potential customers searching for a business like yours as well as Google itself. We’ve already mentioned how most people now read online reviews before purchasing in a previous blog post

Online reviews build your business reputation by giving your operation legitimacy: even if some of the reviews you get are critical, having a good number of people rate your business shows that you run an established business that is well-known in your local area. You shouldn’t be too scared of bad reviews, either. In fact, one study found that 68% of people trust your company better when both positive and negative reviews are posted about it.

Picture this: you’re searching for a new hairdresser in your local area, so you take to Google to find one. The first element in the search results is a map that displays three salons near you: one with no reviews, one with two five star reviews and one with 120 reviews with an average of 3.6 stars. Which one would you choose?

Chances are, you’d go for the last option. Having a large number of reviews, even if some of them are critical, shows that a business has been operational for a while and had a chance to hopefully grow from the feedback they’ve got. The same should go for your business.

2. Improving your SEO

SEO, or search engine optimisation, encompasses all the ways you can make your website more visible in search engine results. When you type something into Google’s search bar and press ‘enter’, different algorithms and site-crawling bots are used to find the most relevant web results to display to you.

There are many ways to improve your position in the results page of search terms relevant to your business. Collecting customer feedback in the form of online reviews is a particularly time and cost-effective way to do just this. 

Asking people to leave reviews for you on Google takes very little time and can make you rank for relevant keywords even if they aren’t widely used on your website. If, for example, your company offers accounting services for small businesses, people mentioning their experience with this service in their review will make your website appear higher in search results for people searching for accounting in your area. This is because reviews mentioning accounting communicate to Google that this is something your business is well-known for.

3. Providing feedback on your products and services

Collecting online reviews means you also get access to valuable feedback on your business: while a negative review isn’t something you want to see, it gives you an excellent chance to consider whether there’s a way to improve the way you do business. 

Whether it’s giving more attention to speeding up customer service, adding a new feature to a product or even offering a completely new service, constructive criticism helps you grow. Make sure to answer to all reviews you receive and communicate how you’re striving to do even better. This way, you show your customers that you care about their opinion.

Why focus on getting reviews on Google

Remember that whether you like it or not, people are going to leave reviews of your business online. That’s why you’re in a better position if you reclaim your business page on relevant review sites and make the most of the reviews people leave you. But with so many different review sites out there, why should your focus be on getting Google business reviews?

There are a number of reasons why Google should be your first priority when collecting online reviews. First of all, it’s easy for most people to leave a Google review: anyone with a Gmail or YouTube account will be able to rate you without much effort. You can even get a link to give to them to access the review page directly. In contrast, you have to create an account of its own for Yelp reviews, which takes time and effort.

Another issue with Yelp reviews is that for better or worse, their spam filter for reviews consistently weeds out a good number of genuine, well-meaning reviews as well as ones that have been paid for or that contain defamatory material. This means that if someone creates a Yelp account so that they can leave you a well-thought-out review, you might never see it because the poster hasn’t reviewed any other businesses in the past and Yelp thinks they might be posting a fake review.

Meanwhile, Google removes very few reviews and you have to argue your case to get one removed from your business page. While this can sometimes be a pain, it does mean you get a more complete and authentic idea of a company’s online reputation with Google reviews.

How to get more online reviews

As we hope you’ve gathered by now, we encourage you to not only accept the fact that people will review your business online whether you like it or not but to actively seek out more of them. Asking friends and family as well as trusted long-time customers of your business to leave a review is a good way to get the ball rolling.

When it comes to getting more online reviews for your business, Ratings & Review Optimisation is our recommended tool. By connecting your R&R Optimisation account to your Google My Business page, you can give your customers an easy way to review you online.

Here’s how it works: after creating your Ratings & Review Optimisation account and importing your contacts, you can use the site to send up to three customisable emails to customers thanking them for their purchase and asking them to take a minute to rate your business by clicking the rating scale in the email. 

If you’ve connected your Ratings & Review Optimisation and Google My Business accounts, your customer will be given the chance to share their review on Google as well as your R&R Optimisation profile as long as their review meets the parameters you’ve set for the reviews you want to be posted to Google as well. Ratings & Review Optimisation makes it easy for your customers to remember to review you by sending automated reminders to them after purchase. By installing the Ratings & Review Optimisation widget on your website, you can also display your reviews on your own site.

If you’d like to learn more about why your business’ online reputation matters and how Ratings & Review Optimisation can help with this, check out our blog posts on this subject. And while you’re at it, why not check out the rest of our blog posts? We post new articles on business, IT strategy and cybersecurity every week.