Managing Reviews on Google
Google My Business Reviews: What You Should Know
According to the 2018 Online Reviews Survey, Google is now the number 1 review site, outpacing other review platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Facebook in terms of growth in online reviews. It’s also the most likely to be used by consumers:
- 64 percent of consumers say they are likely to check reviews on Google before visiting a business — more than any other review site.
- 21 percent agree that Google reviews are one of the most important factors in their search for a local business, ranking them as more influential than pricing information, proximity, and search engine results pages (SERPs).
Google rise to No. 1 site for online reviews makes sense. Consumers are likely to have user accounts on Google already. That means there’s less friction in leaving reviews of businesses. Many users will have just routed directions on their phone to the business, making it super easy for them to leave a review afterward. With the growth of Google reviews, it’s crucial that brands have a scalable way to track them. Your online reviews on Google can be monitored and managed using your Google My Business account, though there are some limitations. Just click the Reviews tab on your Google My Business home page. You’ll be taken to a Google Reviews Dashboard that allows you to filter by “replied” or “haven’t replied”
Tracking Google Reviews
Online reviews on Google are posted by Google users, who have to be signed in when they rate and write about your business. These reviews can be seen and managed using GMB. The reviews appear in multiple places on the Web (via desktop and mobile devices), such as Google search results, Google carousel search results, and Google Maps. When I receive one review, will it immediately show up in search results? The short answer is: you need at least 4 to 5 reviews and ratings for these to appear in Google search results. Even with just 4 reviews, though, your business information can appear on Google search. You won’t necessarily get the “star treatment” though: to have your business show up and include your aggregated star rating (Google ratings are based on a five-star system), you’ll probably need at least 5 reviews.
You’ll need at least 4 to 5 reviews and ratings for your reviews to start to appear in Google search results.
My Google Reviews Have Disappeared!
Has this issue of Google reviews not appearing affected your business? Don’t panic. To get your Google reviews back, just follow these steps:
- Step 1. Log into Google My Business.
- Step 2. Open the Menu tab and click “Info”.
- Step 3. Look for the field that allows you to update your location or address on Google Maps, then click. It has a map marker as an icon.
- Step 4. A popup will appear, allowing you to modify your location or address. Here’s what you need to do: wiggle the map marker just a tiny bit and save.
This should refresh your business’ Google profile. It should be back to normal within a few minutes. If your reviews still don’t appear, try clearing your cache. If this doesn’t solve your issue, this article will explain how to restore your Google reviews based on other potential causes of reviews disappearing.
Google Review Alerts
Google My Business notifies you of new reviews via email. The email notification includes useful review information like the reviewer name, star rating, a portion of the review text, and a link to the review on Google. Here’s what the email looks like: A forum thread on the Google My Business community discusses a recent issue about Google not sending review notifications to users with more than 100 locations on their Google My Business account. So far, Google has not announced a solution to this. Brand managers with over 100 locations should sign up for review alerts from a third part service to stay on top of their new reviews.
Brands with over 100 locations cannot receive Google Review alerts through GMB.
Respond to Reviews on Google
Why Respond to Google Reviews?
Online reviews on sites like Google give people a way to share their customer experiences not only with businesses but with fellow consumers, too. And consumers rely on these reviews in order to discover businesses and brands that provide the best customer experience. That’s why monitoring and responding to your Google My Business reviews is an important part of managing customer feedback and protecting your brand reputation. If you aren’t doing this yet, take the time to respond to and communicate with your happy and unhappy customers — on all the review sites and feedback channels where they may be talking.
To help you respond faster, you can use these Review Response templates.
How to Respond to Reviews on Google
To respond to reviews on Google, log into your Google My Business account, select the location you’d like to manage reviews of, and click the Reviews tab on your Google My Business home page. When you land on the Reviews page, you’ll see each individual review that has been posted on your business listing, organized, by default, by date. From there, you can respond to each individual review by clicking Reply. Please note that your reply will be displayed publicly on Google and must comply with Google’s local content policies. Once you’ve responded, you can edit your response to clean-up typos. The review will appear with a new “View and edit” button on your reviews page:
Review Response Notifications
Google recently launched email notifications that inform customers when a business responds to their reviews. The notification contains a link to a page with the business owner’s response to the Google review. The business’ response is published immediately and the email notification is sent to the customer 5 minutes later. The 5-minute delay allows the business to edit or make any corrections to their response after initial submission. Why do Google review response notifications matter?
- Customers care about being responded to. 53 percent of customers expect a review response within 7 days. But as much as 63 percent say that they have never heard back from a business after leaving a review.
- Responding to reviews ASAP can protect your online reputation. Review responses on Google can make a real and measurable difference — not just to the review-writing customer, but also to all other users and potential customers who visit your business’ review page. Your responses can immediately improve consumer perceptions of your business. On the other hand, not responding can increasingly be seen as actively ignoring customer feedback. According to a ReviewTrackers study, 45 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative online reviews. Moreover, 80 percent will feel like a business cares more about them if they see management responding to reviews.
- Review responses can impact revenue. According to Cornell University, revenue increases and overall ratings improve as the number of responses to reviews increases. Failure to respond, meanwhile, leads to lower review scores and revenue. Your customers will certainly appreciate substantive, meaningful, and timely responses to their reviews.
According to a ReviewTrackers study, 45 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative online reviews.
Delete Google Reviews
Understandably, a negative review on Google can drive your business’ potential customers away. With such a powerful platform and, traffic-wise, the most popular website in the world allowing customers to share their negative experiences to others, the results can be crushing.
So a lot of people ask, “Is there a way to remove or delete a Google review?” The short answer is: No.
When you log into your Google My Business account in order to manage your online reviews, you won’t find a “Delete” button under every review that you want to remove. (That said, you can flag offensive reviews. More on that in a minute.) While a GMB manager can’t delete their reviews, you can engage with the person who left the review, solve their issues, and ask them if they can edit or delete their review once you’ve fixed their issue. Here’s how your customer can edit or delete a review they have written. Customer opens Google Maps on their computer or device.
- Step 1. In the top left, click Menu (3 horizontal lines).
- Step 2. Look for “Your contributions,” click, and then choose Reviews.
- Step 3. Next to their review of your business, click More (3 dots). Choose an option (edit or delete) and follow the instructions.
Google does allow you to flag reviews that might be offensive. If a review violates Google’s content policies…
- Step 1. Sign into Google My Business.
- Step 2. Choose your business location and click Reviews from the menu.
- Step 3. Find the review you’d like to flag, click the 3-dot menu, then click Flag as inappropriate.
For more comprehensive information, read the blog post on how to delete a Google review.
Generate Reviews on Google
It’s a great marketing strategy to try to get Google reviews for your business. Having more reviews helps your business’s locations show up in more search results, which in turn drives more business across your locations.
Why You Need a Strategy to Get Reviews on Google My Business?
It’s not enough to just set up shop and wait for Google reviews to start pouring in. The reality is that when left on their own, your GMB profile may accumulate customer complaints, rather than get genuine reviews. According to research…
Businesses that proactively request reviews enjoy higher ratings (average of 4.34 stars) than those that simply wait for unprompted reviews (3.89 stars).
That makes sense. By asking for reviews you’ll get a more accurate sample of data from your customers. If you don’t ask, your review data sample will be biased towards reviews who are motivated to leave a review (usually people with a customer service issue). For this reason, you need to be proactive in asking your customer for reviews. Of course, not all reviews generated by your “asks” are going to be positive. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Negative reviews can also create structured opportunities for business improvement, while positive reviews can give you better guidance on what you are doing right. Furthermore, having a steady stream of incoming reviews is not only best for SEO, it’s the most helpful for new customers who want to see recent reviews to get an idea of what your business is like now, not six months ago.
Before Generating Reviews on Google…
Avoid review-gating. Google doesn’t want businesses to discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers. A practice commonly referred to as “review gating”, it’s normally done by sending customers a feedback or survey form — be it through email, SMS, landing pages, or social media. Based on their form responses, customers are then asked to either post a review on Google if they had a positive experience — or share details of their feedback privately if they had a negative experience.
Note: Google prohibits businesses from “review-gating.”
This practice has allowed brands to filter out detractors from their review generation campaigns. But it’s against Google’s updated guidelines. To stay compliant with the policies of today’s top review platform, as well as responsive to the ever-increasing demand for transparency and authenticity in reviews, make it clear that customers can leave you a negative review if they feel the need.
How to Get Google Reviews
Here are some effective tips for businesses wondering how to get Google reviews and build up their online presence.
- Use email. Do you collect customer email addresses at the point of sale or care? If so, then you’ll quickly realize that email is one of the most effective ways to get reviews on Google My Business.
Synchronizing your review requests to your CRM or POS system allows brands to automate review requests. If you manage 100+ Google My Business locations, you’ll understand why automation is so important. There’s no way to manually reach out to that many customers. You can also integrate your Google review requests into your monthly newsletters. If you’re sending a message to your customers, be sure to add a link to your Google business listing so that it will only take them a few clicks to share their experience.
- Send SMS campaigns. If you’re syncing your point of sale system to send email alerts to customers, why not also send SMS requests. SMS open rates are significantly higher than email and can drive better engagement and more reviews.
- Use #SmallThanks with Google. The Small Thanks with Google website lets you create, download, and print personalized marketing materials and turn your reviews and business information into ready-to-use social posts, stickers, posters, and more.
The messaging in Google review stickers and other similar materials centers around promoting your business using customer testimonials, or requesting customers to find your business on Google and share their photos and reviews on the site.
- Create a link for customers to write Google reviews. Creating a unique Google reviews link and sharing it to your customers encourages them to review your business on Google.
- Make your customers happy. The easiest, most effective, and most fundamental way to get Google reviews with 5-star ratings is to consistently deliver excellent levels of service and create “wow” moments with customers.
If, on the other hand, you have customers who are not satisfied or happy with their experience, and are therefore likely to post negative reviews instead of positive, then make a point to reach out to them and identify and address issues.
Google Reviews Widgets
Google reviews widgets enable you to embed or display online reviews from your Google business listing on your own website. Using widgets to display your reviews can help drive on-site conversions and even boost your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) performance. Here are some facts and figures that demonstrate the impact of displaying reviews o your website:
- Improved search performance. You can gain greater search visibility and drive more traffic by leveraging reviews, a top 3 ranking factor in local search.
- Higher conversion rates. When ratings are displayed in search results, conversion rates can go up by up to 17 percent.
- Powerful social proof. When choosing a business, 94 percent of consumers rely on online reviews.
- Reduced cost-per-click on ad campaigns. By displaying reviews on your AdWords campaign landing pages, you can increase conversion rates and engagement, lower bounce rates, and improve your own ad quality scores.
In general, online reviews have tremendous potential to influence consumers’ purchase decisions. Reviews posted by customers on Google are particularly influential. According to the 2018 Online Reviews Survey, Google is today’s top review site, with 63.6 percent of consumers saying they are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business — more than any other review site. (Yelp ranks second at 45.18 percent, followed by TripAdvisor and Facebook.) How to Use a Google Reviews Widget to Display Reviews on Your Website If you only copy and paste your customers’ online reviews to your website, it may not seem as compelling or trustworthy as when you embed reviews directly from your Google business listing. The copy-and-paste approach might also take away some of the legitimacy of your reviews, especially if they’re not linked to a third-party review source or platform. Fortunately, there are a number of review widget options for integrating those valuable reviews into your website. ReviewTrackers: Our software platform for managing online reviews includes a review widget suite that can display all or a curated set of customer reviews on your website. The Google reviews widget can be set up in minutes — and requires no dev time to maintain. You can hand-pick your own featured testimonials or display a live feed of fresh review content from Google, with “set it and forget it” ease. Google Review Widget Plugins for WordPress: WordPress, which continues to be a popular choice for custom websites, also has its own catalog of review widget plugins. There are 33 pages of search results alone for “Google reviews widget.” Some of these widgets allow you to save reviews in your WordPress database, so that you don’t have to depend on third-party data sources like Google to show reviews in the widget. Alternatively, there are Google reviews widget plugins that let you syndicate directly from your Google business listing, so that the review widgets on your website are updated whenever new reviews come in. Whatever your preferences are, make sure you do your due diligence before choosing the right Google review widget or plugin for your website. Check to see that it’s compatible with your site’s code and that it offers everything that you need.
Can You Link Facebook Reviews to Google?
For many businesses, Google will automatically link the reviews on their Facebook Business Pages to their Google account, so that their Facebook recommendations, reviews, and ratings also appear on their business listings on Google. Ideally, Google will have found a way to do this for all businesses. But it doesn’t always work. To give your locations the best chance of having their Facebook reviews pulled into their GMB listing, the only thing you can do is make sure your business information on your Facebook Page and your Google My Business account are exactly the same. If Google sees that they’re the same, it may pull in your Facebook reviews. But there are no guarantees. And there’s no “official” way to do this through the Google My Business dashboard.