When it comes to online marketing, businesses have to do all that they can to stand out from their competition. One way to stand out is via Google Reviews, a feature that integrates with Google My Business.
The more positive reviews your Google My Business has, the more distinguished it will be against competing businesses.
This also means that if your business has got a bunch of negative reviews, they may be affecting your potential sales.
In this article, we take a look at how negative reviews impact your Google My Business listing, as well as what you can do to improve the situation.
How Negative Reviews Impact Your Google My Business Listing
According to stats, 93% of us say that online reviews influence our purchase decisions. It doesn’t end there, though; Google, in its quest to improve the user experience so that customers are connected with businesses that satisfy their needs best, uses online reviews as a ranking factor for local search results.
This means that, the more positive reviews you have, the better your local SEO will improve.
On the flip side, the more negative reviews you have, the more your Google My Business listing will flounder and be hide to find in the search results.
It’s all about credibility. Online reviews establish credibility and help to build trust, not just between your business and the user, but also between your business and Google.
Google My Business actually comes with an integrated feature called Google Reviews. After your customers have left five reviews, Google then appends stars to them. It’s these stars that can help you stand out from the competition and climb the rankings.
Negative reviews can’t be deleted, unless the review is a clear personal attack or doesn’t meet the guidelines. However, if you’re worried that negative reviews are dragging your Google My Business listing down, here is how to handle the situation:
1. Respond to the Review
The worst thing you can do is ignore the review. It won’t just go away, but will be left there on the table for everyone to see.
Worst still, they’ll see that you don’t care enough about your customers or your business to respond to the review.
As well as improving the image of your business, stats show that 34% of customers who receive a response will delete their original negative review.
Of course there are ways to respond and ways not to respond to a negative review. It’s always a good idea to respond as soon as possible, preferably within the first 24 hours. Keep your response short and concise, and empathize with the customer. If you’ve made a genuine mistake and the customer is right, own up, apologize and offer to fix the problem.
Other customers will see your response and, as such, you can easily turn a bad situation into a positive one.
It’s very important that you don’t go on the defensive and deny that you’re at fault for anything. It’s also important that you don’t blame the customer or write a huge response littered with excuses.
To reply to a review, sign into your account before clicking the three horizontal bars that you’ll find in the top left corner. Then tap “Manage Reviews” and find the review in question.
2. Make Changes To Your Business
If you keep getting negative reviews, you need to take a step back and assess the situation. The negative reviews are coming in for a reason, and it’s surely because something isn’t quite right with your business.
Listen to what people are saying. What needs fixing at your business? What’s the biggest gripe for customers?
Making changes to our business can be overwhelming, and most would prefer not to have to do it. But if you’re receiving a lot of negative reviews and you’ve reached the point where your responses just aren’t cutting it anymore, you’ll need to consider making changes.
This might mean improving your customer service by adding chatbots to your website, improving your products, changing products altogether, improving your shipping process and so on.
3. Encourage Positive Reviews
Once you’ve responded to negative reviews and shown the public that you empathize with the problems that have been raised, and once you’ve made any necessary changes to your business, you should then look to encourage more positive reviews.
Of course, the best reviews are those that have been left unprompted. But you can still engage with your customers to encourage them to leave a review. For example, you could send them an email a few days after they’ve used your service to see how they felt about it. If they were impressed, would they mind leaving a review?
You also need to make it easy for them to leave reviews. Provide them with instructions, such as:
- Login into their Google account
- Search for your company via Google
- Look for the Google Knowledge Panel in the search results on the right-hand side
- Click on “Write a Review”.
- Write the review
All in all, local SEO is really important to your success. As well as taking the tips onboard in this article to turn negative reviews into positive ones that improve your ranking and visibility, don’t forget to work with SEO tools, too, as these will help you improve other areas of your local SEO that will help you climb the SERPs.
Jared Carrizales is the founder of Heroic Search, a content marketing agency in Dallas and Tulsa. When not implementing link building packages and building marketing strategies, he enjoys watching movies, playing tennis, and a good coffee.