How Google Reviews Affect Your Business and Sales

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.

Small Businesses vs Enterprises

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.

What all this says is that there is so much room for enterprises to grow, that remains completely untouched. Enterprises do tend to do better than small businesses once they reach an average rating of over 4.4. That’s a whole lot of potential for growth that is left alone, and capitalized on by other markets. The reason enterprises dont reply to as many reviews is because it is greatly time consuming. However studies show that enterprises who express customer interest via replying to reviews, convert consumers into customers at a much higher rate than small businesses. Enterprises who reply to customers at the same rate small businesses do, perform much better on the conversion platform. This is a prime example of how much more enterprises can do if they only took the time to do so.

Reputation

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?

Addressing Bad Reviews

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.

Good Reviews Vs Number of Reviews

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.

What do Google Reviews Mean for SEO?

SEO is an essential piece in the massive puzzle that is business. SEO or Search Engine Optimization, allows your website to be listed higher when people enter search queries into said search engine. The higher your ranking the higher you will show up in the listings. Each search engine uses different criteria and has different ways to go about SEO. Google, while one of many, controls around 77% of all search engine traffic and has a variety of unique features. What this means is that you will want to target Google SEO before other engines. How does this tie into your reviews though? Because Google is directly affiliated with their own review system (Google reviews), having better reviews will get you ranked higher in search results. The algorithm will rank those businesses with more reliable, and higher quality reviews at the top of their search and map. What exactly in the review boosts SEO though? It is a combination of a number of things, leaving a review alone will not instantly boost the way quality structured reviews do. The quality of reviews matters, some of the things included in the blanket term “quality’ include, use of keywords, and mention of location. The reviews on Google may also increase the amount of traffic to your business website. This means higher rankings not only when searching your niche, but just scrolling through shops, restaurants, or service in your city.

To summarize, now that online presence is not a choice, finding ways to maximize its positive impact is the way to go. The way we do that is through building trust and reliability between us and the consumer. A unique way this can be facilitated is through Google reviews. Capitalizing on reviews as a small business or enterprise is one of the best ways to build trust; this is done through replying to reviews. This may also increase consumer conversion. Getting a bad review isn’t the end of the world, as long as you do something about it. And finally, the rate at which reviews are coming in is less important than the rating given. All of the trust and reliability building will ultimately be beneficial to business SEO, a tool that is essential for business growth, and discovery. Armed with the knowledge, what is the next step you can take as a business when it comes to reviews?

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