Google reviews allow any good business to prove it. The reviews also allow a level playing field where marketing hype, expensive campaigns, and slick copy become less relevant. Don’t get me wrong, those same campaigns and slick copy can certainly have a huge impact, they just become less relevant in the context of Google reviews. This is largely because Google reviews serve as transparency and social proof rather than beautiful marketing. Any searcher can type in a search query and stumble upon businesses with reviews from actual customers and make an informed decision on whether or not they should engage with that business.
Google reviews also provide the opportunity for a business to level the playing field in regards to local SEO. Big or small, the business who takes advantage of Google reviews is in a position to rank higher in local search results. If Google thinks that the local shop selling running shoes provides a better experience than your average retail giant, that local shop can end up higher in the local search rankings. That same example goes for the retail giant.
Where I’m getting at is that Google reviews have an unprecedented power. A power to influence brand trust, local SEO, and feedback. That’s why we’ve put together a list and explanation of the top 3 advantages of Google reviews.
Increased Brand Trust through Google Reviews
Transparency is becoming more and more relevant for consumers. That relevancy (and importance) placed on transparency can largely be accredited to the accessibility to vast amounts of information on any given business. In today’s day and age, it’s not uncommon for a consumer to research a business before engaging in a purchase of products or services. In fact, nearly 88% have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. A large part of this research is generally done through Google reviews.
To really hammer home the power of Google reviews, the same survey reports a staggering 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more than they may otherwise have. This provides a great opportunity for local businesses to gain a competitive advantage over the next business by collecting Google reviews.
Increase Online Exposure and Local SEO through Google Reviews
Google’s search algorithms are complex (that’s an understatement). But, there is one thing for sure: Google reviews have an impact on Google local search. According to Moz, roughly 9% of Google’s entire search algorithm is driven by review signals like the ones you’ll find in a business’ Google reviews. These review signals are generally focused around review quantity, velocity, and diversity.
A well-balanced combination of these three review signals can help catapult your local business towards the top of Google local search results. This helps your business get found much more easily and quickly than utilizing only traditional SEO activities like keyword research and blogging. While still important, as a local business it’s critical that you don’t rely only on traditional methods and neglect other mediums like Google reviews.
With proper execution, Google reviews can be one of your most successful marketing tactics. This is partially because Google reviews allow a business to show up in the “Map Pack”. The Map Pack (shown below) consists of a group of businesses near the location from where you’re searching. The map pack displays the name and link to the business, the address and phone number, and the total number of Google reviews in addition to the average rating.
Feedback Loop and Customer Intelligence through Google Reviews
One of the most valuable advantages of Google reviews is the feedback loop and customer intelligence you can gain. Every Google review you collect can, and should, serve as a customer survey response for you and your staff. In addition, each Google review will generally tell you a few things:
- Whether or not your company delivered a positive customer experience
- Where your company did an amazing or not so amazing job
- What product or service they received from your business
Feedback Loop for What You’re Doing Right
Feedback Loop for What You’re Doing Wrong
By using Google reviews, you can quickly see what areas you need to improve upon and which areas you should be praising. At Podium, we’ve developed a simple process for any business to utilize when looking to get the most from their feedback loop.
The first step is to monitor and watch for a Google review after a transaction has occurred. You can either use a platform like Podium to monitor reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook or you can monitor these sites manually. The major advantage to using a platform is reviews won’t slip through the cracks and jeopardize this entire process. Rather, a good platform can inform you every time a review has gone live and allow you to respond right from the platform.
The second step is to respond to the Google review. If the Google review is negative, you should always leave a response doing your best to resolve any issue. Our recent eBook goes into great detail on how to properly respond to a negative review. In general, it’s wise to apologize and provide a way to right any wrong they believe your business has committed.
Last of all, is the process alteration. This is where you can patch up faulty processes or send praise to the areas that are performing well. By altering these processes, you’re, in theory, testing new processes to make your business run more smoothly and efficiently. For many of our clients, this is a major value-add and competitive advantage over the next business in their industry. Through Google reviews and other review sites alike, they are able to optimize various areas of their business to provide a better customer experience and be found more easily on Google.
Google reviews can drive three core areas of your business: brand trust, local SEO, and feedback. If you’re not currently utilizing Google reviews, you’re potentially missing out on advantages that your competitors may be utilizing.
Google reviews are also free. For many businesses this marketing channel can provide incredible ROI (your investment is much lower than most other channels). With little time and resources put towards Google reviews you can see incredible results in a relatively short amount of time.
The bottom line is, if you’re not already, utilize Google reviews and increase brand trust, local SEO, and feedback and insights. You’ll quickly find it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to drive leads to your business and gain trust in your geographic area.