The Ultimate Guide To Google Review System

Learn everything there is to know about Google Business Profile Reviews and how to leverage them for your local search game.

The ultimate guide to google review system for local businesses.

Introduction to Google Reviews for Local Businesses

1) What Is The Google Reviews System?

Google’s review system for local businesses is a feature incorporated into Google Business Profiles that enables customers to leave positive or negative feedback about a business, forming its general online image and credibility on local search results.

Leaving a review is straightforward – just use the standard 1 to 5-star rating system found on popular directories like Yelp.

However, this system holds more weight than others, as it is the default way people have rated local businesses over the years and is hosted under the umbrella of the large corporation known as Google.

2) Impact Of Google Reviews On Local Search Rankings

For local businesses looking to improve their rankings on the Local Pack (also known as Map Pack), it is essential to have a significant number of reviews on their listings.

Reviews have been identified as one of the most crucial local search ranking factors, according to a study carried out by Whitespark in 2023.

They are, beyond doubt, a formidable force that moves Google’s algorithmic gears, which is why all businesses must encourage their customers to leave reviews, creating a healthy rating profile that elevates their rankings in the local area.

3) How Do Google Reviews Help Your Local Business?

Besides the part where you need Google’s algorithm on your side, reviews have the power to persuade potential clients to either choose your services, so in this case, we are talking about a surefire stream of money or avoid your store, which makes you lose money in the long term.

That’s what we call a conversion factor, which I firmly believe holds equal significance to a ranking factor in the realm of online business marketing.

In fact, an interesting study by the CXL Institute revealed that including review stars in search engine results can increase click-through rates by up to 35%, which proves that these shiny little stars can persuade people to buy from a specific business.

Now that we acknowledged the influence of Google Reviews, it’s time to start acquiring them, right???

How To Start Earning Google Reviews For Your Local Business?

1) Create A Google Business Profile

The first step towards earning some (ideally 5-star) reviews for your business is to create a new Google Business Profile (GBP) or claim an existing one. Without it, a rating score is nonexistent, so you should take action and begin creating it. Here’s how to do it with Google’s help.

2) Verify Your New Google Listing

Now that you made the first baby steps, it’s time to verify your GBP, which gives you the opportunity to respond to every review submitted on your listing.

Of course, other perks are included, like creating Google Posts or uploading images and videos. These crucial components of your listing are part of a fully optimized Google Business Profile, which will give you an edge over your competitors in the Map Pack.

After the verification process, and considering you earned some fancy yellow stars on your profile, there are two possible places where someone can actually see and study your review score:

Google Local Search Results

When someone searches on Google for a butcher shop in Brighton, the search engine will return the 3 best results for that term, which form the Local Pack. That’s how most people look for a specific business category in a geographical area.

On the other side, if someone makes a branded search, which is the name of a business, Google will accurately display it on the right side of the search results.

Google Maps

The other way people prefer to search storefronts is through Google Maps. Just type in the search bar the service you want + area or the store’s name directly, and you will see all possible profiles on the left of the screen.

local business reviews as shown on Google Maps.

Alternatively, you can hover the various store icons over the map after you type the kind of business you want, and you will see a picture with the business name, reviews, directions and other important information.

3) Encourage Customers To Leave A Review On Google

Although often neglected by most business owners, the simplest way to earn Google reviews is to ask them directly.

Most of the time, customers have the will to leave their thoughts on exceptional customer service or a unique product. Still, the truth is, they forget to do it upon a successful transaction.

So, take the matter into your hands and ask them to provide their feedback on your listing and describe the pros and cons of your services.

Helpful TIP: If you think a client had a negative experience with your product, it’s best to avoid asking for a rating. This way, you can avoid receiving a one-star review on your profile.

4) Earn Reviews Naturally

Accumulating reviews naturally is possible if your products or services are of high quality or your customer service is very professional.

Industries such as tourism, food and beverage, and home services typically receive customer feedback naturally. However, don’t be discouraged because a great customer experience can inspire someone to leave a review, even in businesses not traditionally associated with customer feedback.

5) Use A Review QR Code In Physical Form

When I say “physical form,” I am referring to the process of generating a QR code from your GBP URL and placing it on various materials such as your business card, receipt, product packaging, or in a picture frame near the cash register. This can be done on any other physical material you can think of.

You can use this free tool by Whitespark to generate your unique QR code.

6) Add Review Links On Your Website

On your Google Business Profile dashboard, select Ask for Reviews, copy the review link and paste it into various call-to-action buttons throughout your website.

Get the review link from your GBP and place it on your website.

If you would like to encourage someone to leave a review for a particular product or service you offer, consider adding a call-to-action button on each service page. This button can prompt clients to rate your business for the specific service you promote on that page.

7) Send Follow-Up Emails And SMS

To utilize that approach, you’ll need to gather your clients’ email or phone numbers by having them sign-up sheets in your physical store or online forms.

Send a follow up email or sms to customer with directions to review your business on Google.

If you follow this strategy, I recommend using this tried-and-true template that typically yields positive results.

Subject: Your Feedback Is Valuable To Us

Dear [Customer Name],

I hope this message finds you well. We are grateful you chose [Your Local Business Name] for your recent [product/service] needs. As a local business, we are committed to providing our customers with the best possible experiences, and your feedback is crucial to achieving this goal.

If you have a moment to spare, we would be honored if you could share your thoughts on your experience with us by leaving a review on our Google Business Profile. Leaving a review is simple and quick, just follow these steps:

STEP 1: Click on this short link: [Shortened Google Review URL]

STEP 2: Once on our Google Business Profile, click on the “Write a Review” button.

STEP 3: Share your honest thoughts about your visit and the service you received.

STEP 4: Click “Post” to publish your review and share your feedback with the world!

Your review helps us improve our services and also assists other customers in making informed decisions when choosing [Your Local Business Name].

Thank you for taking the time to contribute to our community of happy customers. If there’s anything else we can do to improve your experience, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [Your Contact Information].

We appreciate your support and look forward to serving you again soon!

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Local Business Name]

[Your Contact Information]

8) Leverage Your Social Media Pages

The Local SEO game includes your website’s content, Google Business Profile, and social media pages like Facebook or Instagram.

Although Facebook has its own review system, you can still add your GBP review link to any post, story, or reel on the platform and guide people to leave a review on Google.

Take advantage of that strategy because it always brings better results than expected.

Which Google Reviews Help With Local SEO?

I mentioned the importance of Google reviews for conversions and local rankings. Still, I need to specify which ones are helpful. Here is a list of different kinds of ratings that can undoubtedly enhance your review profile for potential customers.

  • 5-star reviews
  • 4-5 star reviews with keywords in text (primary category + location)
  • 4-5 star reviews from local guides
  • 4-5 star reviews with high unique attributes rating.
  • A consistent flow of reviews over time

Which Reviews Negatively Impact Local Search Rankings?

While the benefits are there to leverage them, there is the other side of the coin, the negative impact, and to avoid it, you should beware of those kinds of reviews:

  • 1-2 star review.
  • Low-star reviews
  • Low Star reviews from local Guides
  • Fake Reviews.
  • No reviews for a long time.

Do Keywords Matter In Review Responses?

Keywords won’t move the needle when placed in your responses. If anyone put an ocean of location or relevant keywords, then all GBPs would have ranked for those terms.

So keyword stuffing your answers looks weird to Google and gives the impression to customers that a robot replies to them and not the actual owner.

What Is The Ideal Review Score For A Local Business?

There’s not really a rule that says you should have a review score of X number in your Google Profile for businesses, and it depends on the competition in your local area.

I would first look at my competitors on Google Maps and acquire more and better client ratings. If you don’t want to do that, I would maintain a score between 4.4 to 4.8.

On the other side, you can read this helpful article from Searchlab on the ideal review star rating of a business profile, and hopefully, you get a better idea of how different ratings influence the customer’s journey.

Which Is The Best Way To Answer Reviews In Google Business Profile?

It is essential to maintain your individual voice in your responses and avoid generic short answers such as “Thank You” that most people would give.

It’s vital to respond to all reviews, even the negative ones. It can be frustrating, but it’s best to remain professional and try to resolve any issues they may have unless it’s something that can’t be realistically achieved.

Below I will give you some templates in case you want to automate your responses:

a) How To Respond To Positive Reviews 

Thank you for sharing your positive feedback with us.

Your kind words really meant a lot, and we’re so happy to hear that you had a great experience with us.

At [Your Business Name], we always put the customer first, and it’s wonderful to know that we were able to meet your expectations. Your support motivates us to keep striving for excellence in everything we do.

If you have any questions or suggestions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always here to help in any way we can!

Thank you again for choosing [Your Business Name]. We hope to serve you again in the future.

b) How To Respond To Mediocre Reviews 

We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to provide us with your valuable feedback regarding your recent experience at [Your Business Name].

We’re pleased to hear that you found your experience satisfactory, and we understand there is room for improvement.

We value customer feedback and use it to improve. Your input is appreciated, and we strive to provide the best experience for all customers.

If you have any additional suggestions or would like to discuss your experience further, please feel free to contact us at any time.

Thank you again for choosing [Your Business Name]. We hope to serve you again in the future.

c) How To Respond To Negative Reviews

Thank you for sharing your feedback with us. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience during your recent visit to [Your Business Name].

Your satisfaction is our priority, and we take your concerns seriously.

We are committed to addressing the issues and making necessary improvements to prevent future occurrences.

Please reach out to us at [your contact information] to discuss your experience further.

Your feedback helps us improve for all our customers. We hope you’ll consider giving us another chance in the future.

Should I Purchase Google Reviews?

There are numerous websites where one can buy Google Reviews, and many sellers may contact you through social media platforms like Facebook to offer their services.

However, it’s important to note that purchasing fake reviews goes against Google’s Guidelines, so it would be wise to avoid such practices.

Don't buy fake Google reviews for your local business.

Google has improved its ability to differentiate between fake and legitimate reviews. In the best-case scenario, they will remove any fraudulent reviews from your GBP.

However, in the worst case, they may suspend your listing. It’s unfortunate, but this occurs frequently. I suggest striving for ratings that are earned through hard work and honesty.

Conclusion: Are Google Business Reviews Important In Local Business Marketing?

After this detailed guide to the Google Reviews system, I am pretty sure you identified all the benefits of having a solid Rating score on your Google Business Profile.

Think of Google’s algorithm as your trusty GPS to guide you toward your destination. That destination would be the Map Pack, so you should feed the GPS with the correct data (reviews) and reach your goals.

At the same time, you establish your presence in the eyes of customers, who now have all the proof they need to trust you through all those yellow star ratings.

Keep up the exceptional work, and use this guide for detailed instructions that will surely earn you numerous high-star ratings.

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