How important are Google Reviews for your business?

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Are you looking for an effective way to build trust and credibility with your target audience? Do you have a limited marketing budget and need to maximise your return on time investment when it comes to attracting and retaining new customers?

Enter Google reviews – the often neglected and regularly overlooked heroes of digital marketing. From creating awareness and encouraging consideration to driving conversions and nurturing loyalty, these user-generated testimonials wield considerable influence at every stage of the marketing funnel. 

We assess the importance of Google reviews for businesses of all sizes, exploring how they impact consumer perceptions and shape purchasing decisions. Then, we share our expert tips on how you can source and leverage reviews to amplify your brand’s visibility, foster consumer trust, attract new customers, and ultimately drive business growth.

How important are google reviews

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The importance of Google reviews

Brand awareness & visibility

Did you know that Google reviews can actually help your business rank higher in search results? Google Reviews are a significant factor in local search ranking algorithms, accounting for more than 12% of the data Google uses when determining the relevance and authority of a business, and where to rank that business in local search results. In fact, the quality, consistency and recency of reviews are in the top 20 of 150 local search ranking factors. What does this mean for you? Well, the more regularly and consistently you are able to collect positive reviews for your business, the higher up it will appear in local search results, and the more visible it becomes to potential customers in your area. 

There are, of course, other important elements that affect your ranking in local search results. We go into detail about this in our guide to Local SEO, and show you exactly how to optimise your Google Business Profile for success in our On Demand gallery, so be sure to check those resources out for more information. 

Positive Google reviews can also improve your click-through rates (CTRs) in search results. According to research by BrightLocal, 54% of consumers would not consider using a business with an average rating below four stars, and improving your review rating from 3-stars to 5-stars increases your click through rate (CTR) from Google Local Pack by as much as 25%.

Increased visibility and higher CTRs translate into more website visits, foot traffic to your physical location, and ultimately, more opportunities to convert potential consumers into loyal customers. This is why we encourage all of our clients to actively source Google reviews from their happy customers – it’s such a simple and effective way to improve brand’s online presence and attract more local customers to your busines

Brand consideration & conversion

When potential customers search online for solutions to their needs, Google reviews can significantly impact their decision-making process. As they narrow down their options and weigh up different brands, people seek out validation and reassurance that they are making the right choice. Positive reviews act as social proof, showcasing the satisfaction of past customers and instilling trust in your brand. 

Consider this scenario: A potential customer is searching for a local restaurant to dine at. They type “best restaurants near me” into Google. The search results display various options, but the top listings with high ratings and numerous positive reviews catch their attention. Your restaurant, with its hundreds of 5-star rave recommendations, stands out among the competition. Naturally, that potential customer decides to give your restaurant a try and clicks through to your website to make a booking for that coming weekend. 

Consumers perceive businesses with a high volume of positive reviews as trustworthy and reputable. According to BrightLocal, 50% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from people they know, which just goes to show the immense influence that peer feedback holds in shaping consumer perceptions. When faced with multiple options, individuals are more likely to lean towards businesses with a track record of satisfied customers, as reflected in their Google reviews.

For consumers in the brand consideration phase, Google reviews are your best friend. If you find that you’re struggling to attract new customers or generate leads, and you’re sleeping on getting reviews from existing clients or customers, we highly recommend working this into your marketing strategy as a top priority. Actively sourcing and managing Google reviews will not only foster trust and credibility for your brand, but also position you as a preferred choice within your industry or area.

Customer retention & brand loyalty

Acquiring and converting customers is front of mind for all business owners, but what about retention and loyalty? Do you know how your clients feel about their experience with you? Does your business have a process in place for creating cheerleaders and champions out of its customers? 

Google reviews provide a direct channel for customers to share their experiences with a business, whether positive or negative. By actively monitoring and responding to reviews, both existing and potential customers can see that you are attentive to customer feedback and committed to customer satisfaction. Engaging with customers and responding to reviews fosters a sense of connection and appreciation, which reinforce loyalty and even encourages repeat business.

Now, we all know it takes time and effort to seek out a business online and write about your experience, right? So, when your customers do make the effort to do so, typically it’s because they’ve had a really poor experience, or an exceptionally great one. Either way, they’re almost guaranteed to also be talking about you to their friends, family, neighbours, hairdresser, people at the local dog park… Satisfied customers often become brand advocates, actively promoting the business to their social networks and creating word-of-mouth referrals for your business.

Importance of google reviews

How to increase your reviews on Google

So, we know how important Google reviews are for attracting, converting and retaining customers. But if the review section of your Google Business Profile is looking a little light, or you’re a new business, how do you get more? 

Long story short – ask! Reach out to your regular clients and happy customers and politely request for them to leave a 5-star review on your Google Business Profile. Let them know how much a quick note from them will help you to reach more people in need of your product or service. Personalised requests, whether through email, social media, or in-person interactions, can significantly increase the likelihood of customers taking the time to leave a review.

Here are some other effective strategies to get more Google reviews

Make it easy:  Provide clear instructions on how to leave a review on Google and ask your customers to include the key services they engaged. Include a direct link to your Google Business Profile when you request a review, and even add it to your email signatures, website, and social media profiles to streamline the process for customers. The easier it is for customers to leave a review, the more likely they are to do so. 

Schedule follow up emails:  Implement a follow-up email strategy to request reviews from recent customers. Send a thank-you email after their purchase or service experience, expressing your gratitude for their business and kindly asking them to share their feedback on Google. Timing is crucial, so aim to send these emails shortly after the transaction while the experience is still fresh in their minds.

Use ethical incentives:  Consider offering incentives to encourage customers to leave reviews, but ensure that these incentives comply with Google's review policies. For example, you could offer a discount on their next purchase or entry into a giveaway in exchange for leaving an honest review of their experience. It's important to be transparent about the incentive, though, and avoid soliciting fake or biassed reviews.

Engage with customers:  Actively engage with your customers both online and offline to build relationships and encourage them to leave reviews. A whopping 88% of consumers confirm they would use a business that replies to all of its reviews, according to BrightLocal’s 2024 survey! Respond promptly and professionally to yours, whether positive or negative – this communicates to existing and potential customers that you value feedback and are committed to providing excellent service.

How to deal with negative Google reviews

It’s never a great feeling to see a bad review come up, but we’re big believers in seeing this as an opportunity for growth and improvement, rather than a catastrophe! We’ve included our top three recommendations to help you manage and respond to negative feedback. 

How to deal with negative google reviews

Respond promptly and professionally

When responding to negative reviews, timing is crucial. Aim to address the review promptly, ideally within 24-48 hours. A timely response shows that you take customer feedback seriously and are proactive in resolving issues. 

Ensure that your response is professional and empathetic. Use a polite and courteous tone, and avoid being defensive or confrontational. You care about your customers and you want them to have a positive experience with you, so express that concern and apologise for any inconvenience they have encountered. 

A quick response time and compassionate communication go a long way in minimising the impact of negative reviews. Businesses are ultimately made up of people, and people make mistakes. Sometimes it’s as simple as showing your online community that you care about what they have to say, and are dedicated to resolving any issues or mistakes that do occur.

Address specific concerns

Take the time to carefully read and understand the specific concerns raised in the negative review – before you respond. There’s nothing worse than not feeling heard, and if you go in hot to a response without fully acknowledging what it is your customer is trying to tell you, there’s every chance that it will worsen the situation. Seek to understand your customer, not to handle them. Avoid generic or vague responses and provide your reply to address the customer’s particular issue. 

If the customer has highlighted a problem or complaint, offer a sincere apology and provide a clear explanation or solution. For example, if a customer complains about a late delivery, acknowledge the delay and explain the steps you’re taking to ensure it doesn’t happen again. If the complaint is about product quality, assure the customer that you’re investigating the issue and offer to replace the product or provide a refund if necessary. 

Use feedback to improve

Negative reviews can provide valuable insights into areas where your business may be falling short. Instead of viewing them as purely negative, use them as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Analyse the feedback from negative reviews to identify recurring patterns or themes. Are there common issues that multiple customers are experiencing? Are there areas of your business operations or customer service that could be improved? Use this feedback to implement positive changes within your business. 

This could involve revising your processes, providing additional training to staff, or making enhancements to your products or services. By proactively addressing the root causes of negative feedback, you can enhance the overall customer experience and mitigate the likelihood of similar issues arising in the future.

Five by Five can help you get your Google reviews working for your business

Partnering with Five by Five for digital marketing is a great way to ensure that your business remains highly ranked on search engines. We offer Google Business Profile optimisation and maintenance as a part of our SEO services, which is incredibly beneficial for businesses of any size.

We make it incredibly easy to manage your Google Business Profile and stay up to date with all the latest changes Google makes (frequently, we might add!). We have a team of experts who specialise in creating optimised business profiles that are customised to your business’s needs and goals. Plus, our services also help you track how well your profile is doing so you know where your focus should be when it comes to improving customer reviews!

Five by Five is not just about managing your Google reviews and Google Business Profile but also providing your business everything else in between!  We offer an array of services to fulfil your digital marketing needs and increase customer trust in your business. Whether you’re looking to attract more new customers or build loyalty among existing ones, Five by Five is here to help! Contact us today. 

About the author
Maddy Edwards
Maddy grew up with a keen interest in all things business, entrepreneurship, psychology, and travel. Completing a Bachelor's degree in Business Management/Arts at the University of Queensland, and spending a semester abroad to study in England, she chose majors in marketing, entrepreneurship and psychology to enhance her understanding of effective business and brand building. After uni, Maddy traded textbooks for palm trees, spending two blissful years teaching yoga on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays. Her passion for continued growth then led her to the Gold Coast, where she has spent the last four years honing her marketing skills across health, wellness, and tourism brands. With two years of business ownership and a successful exit under her belt, Maddy deeply understands the challenges our clients face, and is excited to be able to use those insights to help other business owners succeed. Beyond the office, you'll find Maddy lost in a good book, finding her zen at a yoga class, or enjoying an afternoon beach walk while tuning into business and mindset podcasts.
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