A simple guide to Google reviews for your business
Online reviews are pivotal to your business. In a recent survey, 93% of customers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews and that 3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business that a consumer would consider engaging with.
Google reviews as a product is the only way to get reviews and star ratings visible within the ‘Knowledge Panel‘ for a business and unfortunately there’s no ability to opt out.
Since April 2015 Google have removed reviews in the Knowledge Panel from third party review sites such as Yelp and SafeBuy, instead electing to show results only from their own review system.
However, for users searching for your business or your service in Google, it’s not the only way to get review stars visible. Core organic results and Google Ads both offer alternatives and you can utilise SafeBuy to help gain organic visibility for your star ratings to support or combat Google reviews.
We’ve written this simple guide to help businesses struggling with some of the common challenges faced with Google reviews.
How to get Google reviews
Use the Place ID (see screenshot below) to then generate a link to give to customers to review your business.
Now let’s cover off what you should not do to get Google reviews:
- Don’t offer money in exchange for reviews
- Don’t solicit reviews from customers in bulk e.g. by including reviewers in a contest or giveaway
Do ask your customers to leave reviews. You can inform them how simple it is to leave business reviews and how important and valued the feedback is for your business.
How to remove Google reviews
You can’t remove Google reviews as a product for your business and you can’t directly delete Google individual reviews, but you can;
- Rectify the issue with the negative reviewer and ask them to update the Google review once resolved
- Flag reviews as inappropriate. Link. It can take several days for a review to be assessed so try to be patient
- Report content that you believe warrants removal from Google’s services based on applicable laws. Link
How to respond to Google reviews
If you’ve received a positive or negative review, they deserve equal attention.
If it’s a positive review it’s important to thank the reviewer for taking the time to write this. It’s also important to recognise what they particularly highlighted if possible and keeps your response from being generic and appearing thoughtless or rushed. “Thanks for such a glowing review of your experience at our Spa and we’re so please Mary gave such a delightful experience. We’ll be sure she’s recognised for this.” is much better than “Thank you for your comment“.
If it’s a negative review be aware that your reply is potentially visible to all future customers. Brevity is key. Recognise the negative review and take it offline.
“We’re sorry to read about your experience. I’d like to discuss this further and seek to rectify things for you. Please could you contact me at your earliest convenience. [name] at [email/tel number]“.
*Replying to reviews builds your customers’ trust in your business. Customers notice that your business is reading and responding to each review and that you value their input. This also encourages new reviewers to invest the time crafting a fully formulated review.
You can also share a link that customers can click on to leave a review. Here’s some Google tips on reading and replying to reviews. Link.
*Only verified businesses can respond to reviews. Link.
Are Google reviews anonymous?
Since May 2018 Google have ceased allowing anonymous reviews and have removed legacy anonymous reviews.