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Google Review Management – The Guide

By 19. February 2020January 9th, 2023No Comments
Google Review Management - the guide

The importance of Google review management for companies is increasing and with it the need to deal with professional review management.

Every day around 5.6 billion search queries are made in Google – that’s around 65,000 queries per second. This proves the importance of this search engine. Users google ways, products and experiences of retailers, manufacturers, services, restaurants, fitness studios or hotels before they make a purchase decision.

A company that is not present on Google is hardly noticed. The greatest chances have companies with a very good ranking and good Google reviews, which also positively influence the positions within the local search results.

Therefore, there are enough good reasons for companies to actively take care of the management of Google reviews.

Why are Google reviews so important?

As already mentioned, users read the reviews, see the stars at a glance and then make their decision: Do I go to this branch, this restaurant, do I book this service, is this craftsman reliable?

This decision is made in a second. Who was rated badly, has almost no more chances. Who was rated very well, is the favorite of all interested parties and climbs up in the ranking through the clicks on his website and probably also through the quality of the rating (a secret of the Google algorithms).

As a result, the company receives even more clicks and, in the case of truly outstanding performance, even more excellent reviews. However, there are more reasons why Google review management is so important:

Positive Google reviews have an impact on local search results

Local search engine optimization (Local SEO) takes place in relation to the location of the provider. It is important for all locally active companies and service providers such as brand stores, hairdressers, doctors, craftsmen, restaurants, cinemas, supermarkets, etc.

In previous years, Local SEO was mainly done with landing pages in which the name of the provider, important keywords for its performance and the location appear, for example “Autohaus Krause – Mercedes in Augsburg”.

Of course, this method still exists, but more recent studies from 2017 to 2020 show that the reviews (Google ratings) help significantly better with local ranking.

Companies with good and many ratings rank higher in the local search, even if their backlink profile is weak. But let’s just look at the results: Several analyzes of the influencing factors for local SEO have shown that the reviews correlate strongly with the good local ranking. The decisive factor is the quantity and also the quality of the reviews.

This means: Companies with many good Google ratings rank very well on a local search. The links from external sites, on the other hand, are not as important.

Communication options on the review platform

If possible, the companies can and should respond to the reviews of customers. A very lively communication can develop as a result. By the way, such threads also promote the ranking.

Small businesses often have too few resources to respond comprehensively to customer reviews, that’s understandable. But they should check at least once a week to see if anyone has reviewed them.

Negative reviews must be answered appropriately!

Negative reviews require an appropriate response. Other customers follow this communication very closely and assess how the company deals with criticism. More extensive explanations on this point follow below.

google review management

Analyze reviews and use them as feedback

It is highly interesting to analyze the tenor of the reviews and the details. These provide valuable information and feedback for the company. How do customers rate the company’s own staff, support, product range, prices, cleanliness in the salesrooms and other details? This provides clues for potential improvements.

The correct way to deal with Google reviews

Google reviews basically serve the interaction with end customers. This is their second important function in addition to their expressiveness on the web, which is aimed at new prospective customers and as described, promotes ranking. Companies receive different numbers of reviews. Those who sell many different products to many end consumers can naturally expect more reviews, but this is not mandatory.

We have become accustomed to some products: they have been around for a long time, we no longer need to comment on them. With new products, interest can be very high, and naturally there are then a lot of reviews. These can be positive, mixed, or negative.

The response to positive reviews can be brief and to the point with a thank you, and the company may only have to react selectively to mixed reviews. Dealing with negative reviews is difficult. These affect the overall rating, and sometimes they are unfair. They could also come from the competition, who want to put an unpleasant competitor in a bad light in this way.

Google Review Management

Point #3 is not so easy to do, because Google only deletes bad reviews if they are proven to violate Google’s guidelines. Point #1 is not recommended, it is interpreted as ducking away. Still, many companies choose to do this – especially when a single bad review is juxtaposed with many positive reviews.

Nevertheless, it seems more helpful to provide an “answer from the owner” to this assessment. Objective criticism can be answered constructively in this way, and you can take a professional position on irrelevant evaluations.

When you respond, keep these instructions in mind:

  • Don’t get personal, stay on the factual level.
  • Answer kindly and confidently at the same time.
  • Respect other opinions, in this case those of the reviewer.

They may not like your product because they have a different taste. You should express your understanding for this.

In any case, take constructive criticism seriously! If you are aware that your product really has the criticized weakness, admit this, possibly provide an explanation (“new product, certainly with potential for improvement”) and vow the corresponding improvement. If you receive helpful suggestions from the criticism, it is best to implement them quite quickly.

In principle, thank for every objective review – even a critical one. Only for unfair, unobjective criticism you should not thank.

Always answer briefly. No one wants to read novels at this point.

In the case of very serious criticism, for example of a safety defect in your product, you should ask the reviewer to contact you directly. This conveys your seriousness to the other readers.

Do not offer compensation or discounts in your responses to negative reviews. This provokes a wave of compensation demands. You can tacitly compensate customers who legitimately demand it from you (without admitting guilt!).

Google review management: how can you delete a Google rating?

As already mentioned, this would have to go against Google’s guidelines. These guidelines are strictly defined. So simply removing a review from the web doesn’t work – even if this review is unspecific and additionally very emotionally colored (“… didn’t like it at all – MEGA BAD!”). Such a review is annoying, the associated bad star rating drags down the overall result, but you must endure that.

In this case, trust the common sense of readers who, like you, are wondering: What does this person want? What did he not like? You can only have those bad reviews deleted that are

  • demonstrably originate from the competition and are therefore a form of unfair competition and/or
  • constitute a form of spam and/or
  • violate laws because they contain manifestly incorrect, defamatory, sexual, criminal, or offensive statements.

If you want to report this review to Google, you need to log into your My Business account and go to the administration view of “Reviews”. Now click on the three small vertical dots at the top right. A menu will appear with the sub-item “report as inappropriate”.

Report the entry and give reasons why you think it is inappropriate. Perhaps the reviewer is a former employee of yours who wants to defame you. You should be able to prove this. Afterwards, patience is required, the deletion can take several weeks.

If Google does not comply with your request, you can take legal action. Such lawsuits have already been successful, but for this you must be very sure of your case. You also need a good lawyer. As you see, Google Review Management is much more than simply reacting on reviews.

More about Google review management: analysis

Reviews – even negative ones – are considered valuable partly because they are a market research tool. Anyone who analyzes them can save themselves a large part of the customer surveys that would otherwise be necessary.

After all, focus groups and interviews are expensive and sometimes deliver distorted results because the people surveyed do not buy the product but receive it for free use. But only after a purchase or a visit to a restaurant does the user have a truly honest opinion of the product.

There are now research approaches that use artificial intelligence to extract relatively accurate customer feedback from Google ratings and comparable reviews on other portals. Among others, the consulting company AMS (Applied Marketing Science) is working on this.

One of the questions asked when analyzing customer feedback was: Can these evaluations be used to identify a customer need that has always been latent, but that product developers have so far overlooked?

How do you integrate Google reviews into your marketing strategy?

For the marketing department of the company, Google reviews now seem almost irreplaceable. To exploit their potential, you should take the following measures:

Make sure you have a complete, well-maintained, policy-compliant listing on Google My Business.

Pay attention to all SEO factors on your website. The Local SEO through the business entry only works if you have optimized your homepage or online store well on page as well – among other things with local references to your location.

Be responsive to customer reviews. Be sure to respond to critical reviews following the guidelines we’ve provided above.

Analyze Google reviews. When they point out areas for improvement in your products, address those improvements. This is the best way to get good Google reviews.

Write a follow-up e-mail to your customers after the purchase in which you ask for a Google rating. Satisfied customers rarely comment – but you need their reviews!

Include positive Google reviews on your website. But make sure you have a balanced picture: If you must take criticism more often, you should at least begin to publish it. You cannot use the customer reviews to create a positive picture on your website that does not match the true overall picture.

We are more than happy to help you with your Google review management. Contact us now!

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