Millions of people use Google reviews every day, so negative reviews on Google can be very detrimental to a company’s reputation. At the same time, Google reviews provide businesses with valuable customer feedback that can be turned into actionable insights. If you’re not analyzing your Google reviews, you’re wasting a crucial source of customer data.
Check out our guide to Google reviews that explains how Google reviews work, why they matter, and how you can analyze them.
Google Business Reviews
Google Reviews is a feature on Google Maps and Google Search that allows users to provide feedback and rate their experiences with businesses, services, or places.
For individuals, these reviews serve as a great resource of information and recommendations when making decisions about where to go, what to buy, or which services to use.
For businesses, Google reviews are a great source of customer data. Since many people pay attention to Google reviews, businesses must handle their Google reviews in a professional and timely manner.
How Do Google Reviews Work?
Any Google user can leave a review by visiting the Google Maps listing or the Google Search results page of a business or place. They can rate the business on a scale of 1 to 5 stars and provide a written review to share their feedback. Once a review is submitted, it becomes visible to the public. Reviews are displayed on the business's Google Business listing, Google Maps, and relevant search results.
Google reviews are typically sorted by relevance, meaning the most helpful and relevant reviews are displayed at the top. Factors such as the review's quality, recency, and engagement (likes, replies, etc.) contribute to its ranking too.
Business owners and managers have the option to claim their business listing on Google Business and respond to reviews. This allows them to address customer feedback, provide additional information, or address the issues raised in the reviews.
Why Are Google Reviews Important?
Any feedback matters, but Google reviews are particularly important, and here’s why.
- Google has a massive user base, so even smaller businesses usually get many reviews. This makes Google reviews an important source of customer feedback, which is useful for both businesses and individuals.
- Google reviews are prominently displayed in search results and Google Maps, so they are often one of the first things people see when they are looking for information about a company.
- Google ensures the authenticity of reviews. They have a system in place to detect and filter out fake reviews or spam, providing users and businesses with reliable and trustworthy information.
- Google reviews are easy to access and navigate, so users can quickly read and compare reviews. The review system also includes various features like photos, star ratings, and replies, which makes it an engaging feedback platform.
- Google reviews are one of the factors that have an impact on a business's local search rankings. Positive reviews, high ratings, and engagement with reviews can contribute to a business's visibility and reputation in the area.
How To Get Google Reviews?
Getting more Google reviews can significantly benefit a business by improving its online reputation and attracting new customers. Here are some strategies to encourage customers to leave reviews.
Make reviewing easy
Your customers won’t give you reviews if it takes a lot of time and effort. Wherever it is appropriate, provide clear instructions and direct links to your Google Business profile. You can also try adding a link to your email sign-offs or putting a “Review Us on Google” button on your website.
Leverage email marketing
Review requests can be a part of your email marketing campaigns. Send personalized follow-up emails to customers after a purchase or interaction, expressing gratitude and asking for a review.
Use social media
Social media is great for showcasing and encouraging reviews. You can post positive customer reviews on your social media channels with a call-to-action asking followers to leave their own reviews on Google. If your customers leave positive reviews in your comments or their social media profiles, you can ask them to share the review on Google as well.
It is against Google's guidelines to offer incentives in exchange for positive reviews, but you can still offer your users little bonuses for sharing their experience. For example, you can enter reviewers into a raffle for a gift card or give them a discount for their next purchase.
Provide exceptional customer experience
Of course, the best way to get positive reviews is to provide your customers with a memorable experience. People who have an average experience with your product won’t leave a review, but unsatisfied customers probably will, so you need those positive reviews to balance it out.
How Should Businesses Handle Google Reviews?
Dealing with Google reviews is an important aspect of managing a business's online reputation. Here are some best practices for businesses to effectively handle their Google reviews.
Regularly check your Google Business account to stay on top of your new reviews. In your profile settings, you can choose to get notified whenever you get a new review.
Respond to reviews
Responding to reviews, especially negative ones, demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction. Address negative feedback politely, empathetically, and professionally. Thank customers for their positive reviews and acknowledge their feedback. Responding to reviews also allows you to request additional information or clarify any misunderstandings.
Timing matters, so try to respond to reviews while they are still fresh. This shows customers that you are attentive and care about their experiences. Aim to respond to most within 24-48 hours or even sooner for urgent emotional reviews.
Maintain a professional tone and avoid becoming defensive or confrontational, even if a review is unfair or inaccurate. Keep in mind that your responses are public and can influence how others perceive your business. Be respectful and show that you are willing to address concerns.
Address negative reviews
If a negative review requires a more in-depth discussion or resolution, it's best to take it elsewhere. Provide contact information or ask the reviewer to reach out to you directly to discuss their concerns privately.
Follow Google's guidelines
Get familiar with Google's guidelines for managing customer reviews. Pay extra attention to the policies regarding fake or spam reviews, and report any inappropriate content that violates those guidelines.
Google Reviews Analysis
Google reviews analysis can provide valuable insights into customer sentiment, identify areas for improvement, and help businesses make data-driven decisions.
To analyze your Google business reviews, you need to categorize them based on the aspects they discuss, spot recurring trends and patterns, identify keywords, and evaluate your overall scores.
Google review analysis can be a lengthy process, so you should consider automating it through a Google review analyzer like Essense. As an AI-powered customer research solution, Essense can quickly analyze your Google business reviews, determine the sentiment toward your business, and extract actionable insights. Besides, you can create a multi-channel report and analyze other data sources alongside Google reviews, which can give you a holistic understanding of your customers' attitude towards your business.