You have your own Google Maps listing and want to attract more customers with it. Google reviews are the biggest lever for this. In this article, I will introduce you to what ratings and reviews on Google are all about and how to deal with this function.
What are Google Reviews and where can they be found?
When people talk about ratings and reviews on Google, they are usually talking about ratings and reviews in a Google My Business listing. Formerly known as “Google Places”, these are the entries that appear on Google Maps (for example, restaurants, supermarkets, shops and service providers with a marker at their respective location), but can also be found via the normal Google search when the business name and sometimes also the location are entered.
What do reviews bring you?
Reviews on Google show that your listing is genuine and that you already have customers, which can be particularly helpful for new companies in the context of search engine optimisation. They also give you feedback on how your business is seen from the outside and can show what you still need to work on. Good reviews are even doubly helpful: they also create trust among potential new customers and businesses with many good reviews are shown first in Google Maps.
Good reviews are the biggest lever for improving the ranking of your Google Maps listing.
Who can rate your listing on Google?
Reviews can be added to any Google My Business listing by logged-in Google users. These can occur either as pure ratings in the form of stars (from 1 star = “Terrible” to 5 stars = “Excellent”) or as reviews (rating & short experience report or reason).
Better reviews – ask customers for a Google review
Make sure, especially with satisfied customers, to ask for a positive review so that your site’s overall rating can have as many stars as possible. You can tell your customers about the feature verbally, mention it in flyers or other promotional materials, or place a link to the review feature to your listing in an appropriate place.
Create a link to write customer reviews
You can place a link to your (respective) Google My Business location listing on your website to give your website visitors the opportunity to directly write a review. Visitors will be redirected to your Google My Business listing when they click on the link.
You can find out how to do this here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3474122.
It is also important that these customers not only give stars, but also write positive review texts so that any negative top comments under the overall rating are replaced as quickly as possible.
Incidentally, buying Google reviews is not allowed and can lead to sanctions by Google, which can worsen the ranking of your entry. Purchased ratings or reviews may also be removed by Google.
Reading Google reviews – how to check what is written about your company
You can read the reviews for your own Google My Business entries within the dashboard for the respective location. To do this, log in to your Google My Business account, call up a location and click on “Reviews” in the left-hand navigation bar.
View reviews on Google
To read reviews for any listing, call it up by entering the corresponding search term in Google Search (location name and, if applicable, also the location) or by searching for or calling up the listing using the corresponding search terms (company name or industry) via Google Maps.
This will call up the corresponding Google My Business entry. The ratings are displayed at the top of the entry in the form of 5 stars, whereby the average rating is calculated from all existing ratings from the first rating onwards. The total number of ratings is displayed directly next to it.
Click on the blue link to the reviews to call them up. You can sort them by “Most relevant”, “Latest”, “Highest rating” and “Lowest rating”.
How you should respond to a Google review
The two different ways you can access reviews on your own Google My Business listings also allow you to respond to them. You can decide for yourself if, when and how you comment on a Google review, there are neither obligations nor deadlines here. Be aware, however, that for many potential customers these reviews can be decisive in their buying decision and for some this represents a way of communicating with your business, albeit an indirect one.
Therefore, pay attention to the ratings and reviews on your Google listing(s) and respond as politely and factually as possible to both particularly good and particularly bad posts.
Deleting a Google review – is that possible?
First of all: unfortunately, you cannot simply delete unpleasant reviews on Google. If someone gives you a bad review and justifies it logically and comprehensibly, in many cases you will have to live with it or you will have to take legal action. The situation is different if a review is submitted without text by someone who may never have been a customer of yours. You also do not have to put up with absurd reasons or false claims. In these cases, you can have the Google review removed by reporting it.
Report a Google review
You can report reviews that violate the guidelines, for example, contain insults or false statements, as inappropriate. Google will then review them and remove them after several days if necessary.
If this does not help, you can only comment on the respective negative review and thus possibly invalidate it.
You want to turn off Google reviews?
The rating function on Google My Business cannot be switched off.
Not everyone is happy about the fact that sometimes complete strangers can post very negative reviews on Google without even having to identify themselves. However, Google apparently sees the rating function as an integral part of the entries and as helpful and with great added value for the users, so no change is expected at this point so far.