Google Review Management

Google Review Management

An In-depth Look at Google Review Management

If you are new to Google review management, this article is going to provide you with fascinating insight into the digital world of business. If you have an online business, you need to accept that your reputation is closely tied to your brand image. This means that the reviews about your business hold tremendous value, and can make or break success for your brand in the long-term. Google has transformed the digital world and marketing perspectives have shifted at a similar pace.

Google holds the gateway to your business, and has brought about fundamental developments that are going to have a direct impact on every business. 

What are these Developments?

  • There has been a complete change in consumer behavior and online searches for businesses.
  • Google has also launched a new filter that helps users exclude business with less than 5 reviews, or if they score less than 4.0 out of 5 stars from search results.
  • Google has also launched the ‘Top Rated’ filter, which provides the same results in one click. 
  • There has been a massive increase in the number of reviews posted on Google, compared to results in previous years. 
The reviews posted on Google are now regulated by the government with the Competitions and Markets Authority. It ensures that the wording and spirit of the review should be appropriate with the business, while there are rules for the reviews businesses need to follow. 

Here is what they need to do now:
  • Testimonials will not be called reviews by businesses.
  • Businesses must enforce their customers to write reviews at their discretion. 
Most businesses have now started focusing on acquiring their own Google review management program. That is one way they can stay one-step ahead, and maintain their online reputation. However, to benefit from managing your own reviews, you need to ensure that you comply with all the rules set by the CMA.

The Rise of Independent Review Sites

In the earlier part of the 21st century independent review sites were leading the way, while Google stayed away from reviews. This allowed these websites to start making fake and fraudulent reviews, which led to thousands of businesses flourishing and suffering losses. 

There were no checks and balances measures until Google decided to step into the game. Seeing that Google controls most of the online searches worldwide, this was a death blow to independent review websites that couldn’t get visibility on Google. The world of reviews is arguably controlled by Google and Facebook. 

Reasons Why Businesses Have Not Engaged with Reviews

The upgrade Google has made to its review system has changed the way businesses look at online reviews. Until now businesses didn’t care about negative or positive reviews, since that didn’t affect their search engine ranking. That has all changed because Google penalizes business websites if they are getting bad reviews, and their ranking will drop on search engines. 

This has caused panic among businesses, who assume that not getting reviews on Google will help them out. This is because they believe that if they don’t have negative reviews about their business, it will not affect their rankings, but having no reviews doesn’t help them as well. We live in a digital age, where customers are always searching for and sharing information about businesses and services. If your business doesn’t have any reviews, you will lose out on valuable customers. 

Why are Google Reviews So Important?

Google reviews hold tremendous importance because they can influence your existing and potential customers and whether or not they will ever consider doing business with you again. Therefore, it is important to focus on Google review monitoring, because it helps you showcase your business in a positive light, while minimizing the impact of negative opinions that customers have about your business.

Google reviews hold great importance for local searches because the quality and quantity reviews will determine where your business name appears on Google search results. Additionally, Google reviews are what is being pulled into the "Map Pack" right below your maps listing.

Google has made it easier than ever for consumers to compare your star rating and reviews to your closest competition.

Therefore, you need to be on your toes and monitor your reviews properly. This will allow you to catch and resolve negative feedback quickly, generate new 5 star reviews, and impact your organic search ranking.

Why Does Google Review Management Matter?

Few business owners would argue against the idea that your reputation is everything. Furthermore, your online reputation controls a huge portion of how the public perceives your business. Businesses that don’t have reviews online will not be able to build their brand. Their pulling power will be compromised since there will be no branded searches for their business. 

Research has shown that branded searches are critical for a business since they are an indication of potential customer reach, networking, offline advertising, brand recognition, and direct online searches.

Around 88% of consumers are influenced by reviews they come across on Google. That is a statistic that should hold a lot of value for your business because it gives you online visibility and brand credibility. 

How Does Google Review Management Work?

If your business has a Google account, you should know about the importance of managing reviews for your website. It will help you respond to an existing review, or even flag something that is inappropriate, because there are various steps you can take to manage your page. You can do that easily by logging into your account, and opening the page, where the review has been posted.

Now you can scroll down and then find the review, and then you will be able to share, respond, or flag the review.

Responding to Google Reviews

It is vital that you understand the importance of responding to online reviews, since it will build brand credibility. Communication is important for customers, even if they are disgruntled with the services received, because it shows them that the business cares about them. 

However, you should ensure that when replying to a review, you are following the posting policy of Google. There you can’t do the following:
  • Post fake reviews or spam to enhance ratings
  • Link or post content that contains profanity or is sexually explicit.
  • Link or post content that harasses or threatens others, or is abusive.
  • Link or post to a file that has corrupted files or viruses that may damage someone.
  • Post material that is against intellectual property rights or copyrights.
  • Impersonating another person, falsely misrepresenting their connection with your business
  • Violating other regulations or applicable laws
  • Using the comments like a forum for advertisement

Additional Tips for Responding to Google Reviews:

When you’re responding to reviews, it is important that you keep the following tips in mind:
  1. Keep it precise and straightforward
  2. Be polite and courteous to everyone.
  3. Always thank your customers, even the ones dissatisfied.
Responding to online reviews is important, since your entire brand reputation depends on it.

Flagging Inappropriate Google Reviews

You must be on the lookout for reviews that are inappropriate and are a threat to your business. 

Reputation is everything, and if you come across reviews that are fraudulent, abusive or inappropriate towards your business you need to flag and remove them. This is one of the most important aspects of Google review management, because even one inappropriate review can damage your reputation.

Share Your Google Reviews

At the same time, you need to be active towards promoting your online brand reputation and you can do that by sharing reviews that promote or praise your business and services. 

You obviously want people to see excellent reviews from customers, and that is why, when you come across a good review, you should set the post to be shared. This will not only provide business with the opportunity to achieve greater brand reputation, but will also lead to better customer reviews.

The Bottom Line for Google Reviews

Google Review Management is critical for every business, since it can make or break their online reputation. 

It is imperative that businesses start looking at different ways to enhance brand reputation, and one of the best ways to do that is by tracking your reviews online. Any business that fails to manage its Google reviews is going to struggle, since their search ranking and online visibility are going to take a hit, which can have serious implications for the brand and the business. 
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