In a digital age, businesses having an online existence is no longer just a choice or an option, it is essential for business growth and prosperity. In order for a business to grow, they must be trusted within the online community. One way to reassure consumers that there is business-customer trust is with google reviews. In this article, we will dive into everything you need to know about google reviews, how they can have an impact on the online image of your business, along with what you can do to improve your online presence and reliability.
According to a study conducted by Uberall, 93.4% of customers rely on online reviews to investigate retailers they are unfamiliar with. Prior to making a purchase, 90% of customers indicate that they will conduct online research on a brand. Notably, 84% of individuals trust online reviews as much as recommendations from acquaintances.
The findings become even more intriguing when considering that approximately 74% of customers assert that positive reviews enhance their trust in local businesses. Consequently, implementing an effective online reputation management strategy can significantly impact brand trust. A single negative review, especially if it appears on the first page of search results, has the potential to reduce the customer base by 22%, and the impact may escalate with additional negative reviews.
Uberall’s study demonstrates that a mere 0.1-star increase in the rating could result in a remarkable 25% improvement in conversion rates. Furthermore, for small business owners or marketers who respond to 32% of reviews, there is a 40% higher conversion rate compared to those who do not engage with reviews.
The report on Review Fraud by Uberall reveals that approximately 10% of Google reviews and 7% of Yelp reviews are fraudulent.
You might think that it’s a no brainer that enterprises get more conversion, or better ratings, that isn’t the case though. In every category, small businesses do better, and are winning the rating battles against enterprises in that same category. This demonstrates how strongly small businesses have been able to compete with enterprises. For example, in many local areas, unique and independent restaurants are favoured over large chain restaurants. Small businesses may not have the growth speed potential that their larger counterpart enterprises do. Another thing small businesses have over enterprises is that they have the ability to manage customer experience much better, and more easily.
The better customer experience management comes in many forms. One particular way small businesses can achieve a leg up is through replying to reviews. One thing to remember about Google reviews is that there is an option to address the concerns outlined in the review right on the platform. On average, small businesses respond to reviews at a rate of 25%; enterprises clock in at a measly 12% average. How does responding to reviews help your conversion? Let’s take a look. Responding to critics shows the review readers that you care about rectifying any unpleasant interactions that take place at your business. This is one aspect that will show potential customers reading reviews that while not everyone might have a good experience, you at least care to clarify further with them and take the necessary steps to ensure that doesn’t happen again. And who knows you might just change a customer’s mind about coming back.
While it is a priority to address negative reviews to correct any issues, it is also important to reply to positive reviews. Replying and acknowledging the positive reviews with a quick but sincere thanks, demonstrates care and will allow your business to prosper as a result. This is because when surveyed, 86% of consumers would rather shop at businesses who reply to customer reviews online than stores who forego this critical step.
Building a brand and reputation online is growing in importance. Building trust and a brand with potential customers is reliant on a variety of factors. 9 out of 10 people searching for a place to shop or eat don’t know where they want to make a purchase from. That means it will be up to your online representation to convert this indecisive consumer into your customer.
Before a customer even clicks the reviews, there are things that you can do to improve their perception of your business. Displaying accurate information such as hours of operation and address can give your business a more trustworthy image to consumers. Ensure that there is congruence between your personal website and your page on google. When you make a business promise, ensuring you deliver on your promises is a deciding factor for your customers. You can’t say that you offer vegan options if you don’t have them in your stores.
Reviews are one of the many factors impacting your online reputation. Afterall, 88% of people trust online recommendations as much as in-person recommendations. Furthermore, 95% of people are influenced by reviews online. Those people are your potential customers. 76 percent of searchers follow through and visit a store within a day. That means these searchers aren’t just looking up places to look them up. They are truly looking to make a purchase. Out of that 76% entering stores, 28% end with a purchase, Both digits are something you would not be able to achieve without your online presence.
When it comes to reviews, your highest conversion rate comes when you hit 4.9 stars clocking in at over 5.5% conversion. Along the road to your peak conversion, there are other milestones. At 3.7 stars that is a pivotal change moment. Establishments can grow conversion by 120% just by moving their average review rating from 3.5-3.7. When looking at reviews against conversion, your star rating by even .1% can translate into an increase of 25% in conversion. That 25% means 25% more people will be walking through your store and looking to buy. Being mindful of your internet reputation will allow you to grow your business in ways you wouldn’t be able to offline. So what happens if you get a bad review, what can you do and what does it mean for your business structure?
Through the process of getting a larger volume of reviews, more reviews definitely doesn’t translate to better conversion rates. You can bet that that volume of reviews will hurt you more than help if they are negative. So you got a negative review, what can you do now? If you get a bad review there are things that can be done to correct or damage control the situation. For small businesses a bad review can hurt a lot more than it would an enterprise counterpart. A bad review to Starbucks is going to be a lot less harmful than that same one to a mom and pop coffee shop. This goes back to reputation, where Starbucks has a long standing reputation in comparison to the local shop.
Don’t worry there are things that you can do. The first step is to reach out to a customer who hasn’t had the good experience that you have advertised. As mentioned earlier, Replying to reviews can show new consumers that you care about rectifying negative experiences. Clarifying any miscommunications, and providing an outlet they can discuss further is an important step. Sometimes customers just want to be heard, if you offer to listen and address their personal concerns with your business they might be willing to change their review or give you a second chance. The next is to sort out if there is a fake review, if there is a fake review on your google review page, it is possible to delete the review as it may be doing damage by deterring the potential new clientele.
The one star reviews aren’t the only ones hurting you. Unsavoury 2-3 star ratings are also not favourable to building up business. Two and three star reviews are replied to significantly less frequently than 1, 4, and 5 star ones. These 2-3 star reviews are ones that if addressed appropriately, could potentially mean the reviewer will edit and improve their initial rating and comment. More easily than most extremely strong and negative 1 star reviews at least.
Now that we have dived at depth into bad reviews, we can talk about good reviews.
Uberall’s report on Review Fraud reveals that about 10% of Google reviews and 7% of Yelp reviews are suspected to be fake.
Wondering if you received a fake review and figuring out what to do about it?
When you think you have a fake Google review, be sure to verify whether it is before taking action. Check those signs:
The reviewer is not in your CRM or point of sale software.
Not on the record for contacting customer service
A lot of negative reviews in a short amount of time
The reviewer recommended a competitor in their negative review
Those are usually a clear indicator that a spammer or competitor is behind the review.
If you suspect a review is fake, sign into your Google My Business account, navigate to the review, and use the ‘Report Review’ feature. Choose the “Spam” – the reason that best fits the situation and submit your report. Remember, Google may not always remove a review right away.
You can flag it from GBP Manager or even from your personal account. I suggest you to ask your friends and family to flag it too, More people flag the review, more chances for it to be taken down
Another option is to remove a fake review through Google Support.
If you are not sure that the review is fake, please make note that you should report only reviews that violate Google policies. Don’t report a review just because you disagree with it or don’t like it.
Good reviews come when a customer has had a particularly good experience at your establishment. It is seen that the conversion rate increases with the number of stars in the review. That the higher the rating the more likely someone is to make a purchase or to go into the store at least. Having higher rated reviews translates into conversion much better than the volume which the reviews come in at.
In fact, a lower amount of higher star ratings is more effective than more ratings at a lower level. Average number of reviews along with average number of reviews needed to reach your peak conversion are usually quite similar. Focusing on receiving quality high starred reviews rather than volume can contribute to the credibility, and reliability of your business. Along with this, conversion rates will undoubtedly improve as well, if you are focusing on quality over quantity.
Google Reviews play a pivotal role in boosting your business’s visibility on the internet, directly influencing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) outcomes. Here’s a streamlined explanation of why Google Reviews matter for SEO:
Search Engine Ranking: SEO aims to elevate your website’s position in search results. Given Google’s dominance in the search engine market, focusing on its SEO factors, including Google Reviews, is crucial.
Direct Impact on Rankings: Reviews on Google directly enhance your business listing’s visibility in search results and on maps. The algorithm favors businesses with high-quality, positive reviews, ensuring they appear before others.
Quality Over Quantity: The substance of reviews carries more weight than the sheer number of reviews. Elements like keyword usage and location mentions within reviews are vital, as they contribute to the ‘quality’ of a review, making it more beneficial for SEO.
Increased Website Traffic: Positive reviews can drive more traffic to your business website, resulting in higher rankings not just for your niche but also when users browse local businesses in your area.
In summary, with an online presence being essential, the focus should be on building trust through Google reviews. Actively responding to reviews can elevate trust and improve conversions. Remember, the quality of reviews is more critical than quantity. This approach enhances your SEO, crucial for business success. What’s your next step in managing your reviews effectively?
For some other useful tips, be sure to check out:
Strategies to Optimize Your Google Business Name for Improved Ranking
Understanding Google’s Clustering Pattern in Local Pack Rankings
Can I Turn Off Google Reviews For My Business
How to Get ChatGPT to Mention Your Business
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but having at least 10-50 Google reviews can provide a solid foundation of trust and credibility for potential customers.
Businesses cannot directly delete bad Google reviews. However, they can flag inappropriate reviews to Google for removal consideration or respond professionally to address concerns.
To maintain a 4-star average rating, you would need four 5-star reviews to counteract every 1-star review.
Even a handful of positive reviews (5-10) can start making a difference, influencing potential customers’ perceptions and decisions. The impact grows as you accumulate more positive feedback.