A few years ago it was all about Yelp reviews being the most influential on your business’s reputation. But it’s now it’s the almighty Google review. Not only do they trump Yelp reviews for searches, they can also greatly improve your SEO. A good Google review not only reflects well on your business, it’s also pretty handy. They can be used as testimonials on your website (it’s wise to ask permission first), they can let you know what you’re doing well and what you can improve upon, and, finally, they increase your presence to the Google search engine. Reviews are hugely influential for other consumers, as well, and if you are confident in your business and the service you provide you should open yourself up to others commenting on it.
In order to get a Google review, though, you first need to set up a Google+ site. We can help you do this. And just like your regular website, it’s not something you can “set and forget.” Content is king with Google, which means you will need to refresh and update your pages accordingly.
Why is a Google Review Important?
RocketDigital.ca’s article “The Importance of Google Reviews” states that, “The quality and quantity of reviews on Google is one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO.” When people look at search results they will see a starred rating in the geo-targeting element of the Google search results page, and having a higher rating provides you with more credibility.
How to Ask for a Review
So how do you get people to leave a review for you? First of all, provide good service. If someone has an exceptional experience with your company they will naturally want to tell others. You can also directly ask some of your more long-term clients if they wouldn’t mind writing a review about why they have stuck with you. And make it easy for your website visitors to review your business by putting an obvious CTA on each of your pages.
A word of warning: never offer cash or a gift in exchange for a review. This is against Google’s terms of service and can greatly harm your ranking.
Got a Fake Review? Google Can Help
Sometimes, people are just mean. They can retaliate for any supposed slight, and doing it online is fast, easy, and gratifying. Fortunately, Search Engine Land reports that Google is on the lookout for these types of instances and will help out accordingly.
Google does have many review guidelines, which will flag content that is fake, illegal, sexually explicit, offensive, racist, harassment, or a conflict of interest, among other parameters. Owners of Google sites can report reviews that display any of these negative traits and they will be removed. When reporting, it’s good to have backup — proof that perhaps the encounter the person is describing did not actually happen (a good CRM can help provide the details you need for this), or evidence that your business does not follow the practices being reported. Give Google as much information as you possibly can to help expedite the process.
Unfortunately, sometimes a fake review does not contravene any of the guidelines and stipulations Google has set forth. That’s when you have to get a bit savvy. Research the name of the person … does it seem to belong to an actual human being? Is that particular moniker attached to a number of similar reviews? Does it seem unlikely that person had all of the experiences they are saying they had? All of this can provide the fodder needed for Google to delete the review.
If negative reviews have come in fast and furious, such as several within just a few hours, this is another sign that the reviewer has an agenda. Since this type of online activity isn’t organic, Google may already have it flagged, but definitely let them know regardless, just in case.
Reviews from current or former employees also violate Google’s guidelines (it falls underneath conflict of interest). They are easy to have removed as it should not be a problem to prove the person does or used to work for you.
And finally, if your business has been featured in the media for something that is not necessarily your fault (such as a product not working as the manufacturer guaranteed), and you receive a lot of negative reviews as a result, you do have an argument to have them removed. Because the reviewers obviously did not have any personal interaction with your business, they can’t be taken as an actual review, only an uninformed opinion.
Responding to Reviews
It’s always nice to reply with a quick thanks when you get a good review, but what do you do when you get a negative one from an honestly peeved-off customer? First of all, don’t panic. Take the time to think about your response and how it will appear to others. Listen to what the reviewer has to say and do your best to genuinely address their concerns. Look at a negative review as an opportunity to develop your skills at reputation management online. Use Google reviews to gather information and solve problems with your business you might not have seen otherwise. If you get multiple reviews around the same issue, feel free to ask questions in your responses to help clarify the source of the problem.
Contact Emphasize Design for all of Your Website Needs
Reputation management online takes patience and consistency, but the payoff of loyal customers out there spreading the good word about your business is well worth it. Emphasize Design is here to help build your positive online profile and for or all your website design needs.