How Google Reviews Either Make Or Break A Local Business
While Google has been known as the search engine king for decades, they’ve recently taken over the review sector as well.
With their recent ‘reviews’ feature through ‘Google My Business,’ a platform has been created to make it easier than ever for potential customers to read about a business before ever stepping foot into the store.
While this can certainly have its benefits, it can be a tedious game to play, and understanding how Google reviews can impact your local business is imperative.
Let’s go over why Google reviews are important, and how both positive and negative reviews can play a crucial role in growth.
Why Are Google Reviews So Important?
When it comes down to the basic psychology of it, customers trust reviews.
1. Social Proof: In our personal, human experience we naturally gravitate towards positive experiences others have had, and tend to avoid any negative experiences.
So, a potential client reading about the incredible customer service you provided on Wednesday, April 14th, gives them ‘social proof’ that their needs will be taken care of as well.
According to Yelp!, Google’s competitor – for every one-star increase, that business will see anywhere from a 5%-9% revenue boost.
2. Determines Your Rank: Not only do reviews solidify social proof, reviews determine how your business will rank when a
customer searches for a product or service you sell.
As Google runs its algorithm, it may seem you’ve had multiple one-star reviews and for their own reputation, they may choose not to recommend you to their users.
3. Allows Comparison: Let’s say a customer was searching for a wedding dress. There may be multiple wedding dress boutiques in town, yours being one of them.
While they all may come up in a quick Google search, what separates yours from the others?
More than likely, this potential customer will read over reviews. Getting married is an incredibly important moment and they want to ensure they will have a relaxing, fun experience.
It’s been proven time and time again that reviews can ultimately influence where a customer chooses to spend their money.
4. They Show How You Respond To Criticism: No matter how hard you try, the reality of a one-star review is inevitable.
While it’s important to respond to positive reviews by thanking your customers for their business, responding to negative reviews shows humility and compassion.
Even if you feel as though the customer is wrong, the way you respond to their review can change the way a potential customer feels about your business.
Even a few sentences in a calm, professional, empathetic tone can be powerful.
How Do Positive Reviews Affect A Local Business?
Positive reviews have great potential to boost your business.
It’s been shown that 85% of customers trust a Google review as much as a personal recommendation.
To them, a Google review is an unbiased, third-party opinion that they can trust. So, how do positive reviews affect your business growth?
Gain More Customers:
Recent research has shown that 7 out of 10 customers will base their decision to visit a business strictly on what information they’ve read online.
When a customer reads dozens of positive reviews raving about how happy they are with your service and their products, this allows potential customers to feel more open and trustworthy towards you, even if they’ve never met you.
This feeling of trust will ultimately be what leads them through the front doors of your store.
Not only will a customer feel more secure visiting your business, but by reading positive reviews they get a better understanding of exactly why they should visit your store, and exactly how your services can benefit them.
Rank Higher On Google:
As a local business owner, one of your main goals for your online presence is to rank highly on Google’s local search.
By landing a spot in one of the first few suggestions, you greatly increase the probability a potential customer will either contact you or physically stop in.
If Google sees that your business has a large amount of 5-star reviews, it will determine that your business is open, active, and serving the needs of its customers. Because of this, it will increase your visibility giving you a competitive edge.
Not only do search engine crawlers care about the number of reviews, but they also pay attention to the quality. Reviews containing relevant keywords, photos, and videos are like online gold.
Influences Your Reputation:
If you’re a local business owner currently, then you know just how important word of mouth is when you’re getting started.
Both positive and negative reviews can greatly influence your stream of steady customers.
Every time your business receives a negative review on Google, you have the potential to lose revenue. This is a direct result of either losing foot or online traffic.
86% of people have stated they hesitate to visit a business if they come across bad reviews online.
So, when it comes to negative reviews, most customers deep down simply want their experience to be recognized. Responding in an empathetic way can often snuff out the flames, and uphold your reputation.
Use Google Reviews To Your Advantage:
In a nutshell, Google reviews are crucial for any local business.
Whether you just opened your doors, you’ve been around for a while, or you want to boost your online presence, don’t neglect this powerful tool that can influence your growth.
Negative reviews will come and go, you can’t please everyone. However, remain cool and level-headed in your response.
The way you respond is just as important to a potential customer as the negative review itself.
Enjoy the positive reviews, always thank customers for their support, and watch how your business will grow.