Businesses of any nature can genuinely benefit from Google reviews, especially positive ones. It is the most effective strategy for retaining customers. Also, Google reviews demonstrate how well the business is performing.
It is crucial to pay close attention to Google reviews, but getting them is just as hard. Sometimes, companies may face challenges in managing and persuading customers to write reviews. However, businesses must always look out for various ways to improve their online reputation by providing excellent services and goods, which will encourage customers to leave positive online reviews.
Why Are Google Reviews Important?
Google reviews are important for any business. Google reviews have now become an integral part of marketing strategy for businesses of any size. But here, the question arises of why one should write a review. What is its significance? Let us understand what makes Business google reviews so valuable.
#1. Source of Credibility
Positive feedback via online reviews by happy customers builds customer trust in the business. The reviews build credibility for the respective companies and trust amongst the potential clients. The review platforms allow customers to discuss their experiences with the enterprises freely. Depending upon the nature of the reviews, future potential customers take their call.
76% consider online reviews to be equivalent to recommendations from friends and family, which has a positive impact on purchasing decisions. In addition, after making the purchase, the customer is more likely to leave a review to familiarize himself with the company and make a purchase decision by reading the reviews. A positive feedback loop is further developed as a result of this.
#2. Online Reputation Booster
Online reputation is the key to success for every online business in this digital era. However, it can only be achieved and sustained by accentuating customer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction is improved by offering quality products and services at a minimal cost.
A customer will only know about the business and its services if he has read the reviews and experienced them in person. If the reviews and the experience sync, the customer and the company are in a win-win position. In the case of vice-versa, the company is informed about the areas in which they could enhance the experience.
However, business owners must make sure to put in more effort to minimize the flaws as much as possible. They should take responsibility and let the reviewer know about it. It is essential to respond politely to negative reviews, offer an apology if necessary, and make every effort to resolve the issue. This brings the chance to be the best in customer service while boosting online exposure and reputation.
#3. Search Ranking Moderator
A business's Google ranking is directly related to how effective the review strategy is. The Google ranking will improve along with the inflow of more positive Google reviews. The local search rankings will rise if the company gets reviews and responds to them actively.
The more reviews a company receives, the more Google will remunerate it. A higher number of reviews can also increase online customers' trust because customers trust online reviews. A customer who has had an experience with a business must write a review to inform others about the company's proper functionality.
How To Get And Respond To Google Reviews?
Customers cannot be forced to write a review for the business. Instead, companies must think of easy and efficient methods to entice consumers to drop feedback. In addition, there are specific steps that a business owner can follow to gather more reviews.
#1. Establish A Google My Business Account
Create a Google My Business Account and claim the Google Business Profile as the first step. People will be able to find you and leave reviews more quickly once you claim and optimize your business profile.
Steps To Create a Google My Business Account
- Search your company's name on Google.
- Select the "Own this Business?" option button. After clicking this, you will be taken to the claim area for a Google Business Profile.
- Google will then have to check your business. You can make changes to your profile once it has been verified.
- Photos and a description of your company are optional.
- Try to include a few relevant keywords and phrases for your company, but don't use too many irrelevant keywords. You may be penalized for this.
#2. Share A Link To A Google Review
It would be best if you attempted to do every single thing that eases the process of leaving a review by your customers. You need to know their customer experience while improving your functionality. To make it easier for them to leave a review on Google, this can be done by:
- Use the Google Place ID finder,
- Enter your company's name into the "enter a location" field,
- Select your business from the drop-down menu, and then copy the link to your place ID
#3. Look For Customer Reviews
Consumers are more likely to leave a review if they have had a negative encounter. This indicates that getting a lot of positive reviews is not something you can depend upon. To ensure that your customers are satisfied, the priority should be providing excellent service. Then inquire whether they would see any problems leaving you a review on Google and ask them to drop a review on the reviews section following the link. This can be done through email, text, or social media posts. Finally, include a link to your company profiles to make things easier for customers.
Don't wait until weeks after a customer has purchased from you to consider your timing; otherwise, they may have forgotten about you. Requesting a review as soon as a customer purchases from you is a good idea. Approach them when you think they will be free to write a review. Give it a shot early in the morning or late at night. If necessary, offer to provide a review template.
#4. Give Customers Instructions On How To Write A Review
Explain to customers how to leave a review. Some customers will need to learn how to do it, so it's a good idea to explain it. They should:
- Go to the Gmail account and search for your business using Google or Google Maps app.
- Click on the reviews section or visit the reviews tab on the top left
- Write a comment and choose how many stars you want to give it as in the star ratings.
- Press "post."
Responding to reviews is a good idea. Thank customers for leaving reviews. When you thank a customer for leaving a positive review, it shows that you value their business and care what they think of you, boosting conversion rates of potential customers into willingly paying customers.
If there are any negative reviews, responding openly and without being defensive will show that you are willing to rectify the situation and take responsibility for your actions.
Is It Possible To Remove Negative Reviews?
Here, too, customers are the KINGS and QUEENS! They not only pay and change the game of any business's fate but also make it quite challenging for them.
Suppose a company receives a negative review and is believed to be unfair; it can be reported to Google only if the business owner marks it as inappropriate. But, it should not be expected that Google will delete the review just because it's been marked inappropriate. Google won't do so unless it is against their content policies (Google Review Policies).
If the review is genuinely from a dissatisfied customer, the company must respond to it and try to resolve the reviewer's issues. If resolving successfully, ask the customer to edit or remove the review.
It is always advisable for every business owner not to rely only on Google, by any chance, when it comes to Google reviews. However, Google reviews help local businesses in rankings, give the company more credibility, and increase click-through rates.
It is also essential for businesses to pay attention to Google reviews for these reasons. They should constantly monitor the reviews, respond to them, whether positive or negative and encourage customers to leave more and more reviews.
Why Do Businesses Buy Reviews?
As mentioned earlier, gaining customers' will and appreciation to drop a review can take time and effort! But trust the process and keep trying instead of buying reviews, as real customer reviews are super powerful in upscaling your business's lifeline online!
Sadly businesses do buy fake reviews. For example, suppose a company has just begun operations and has few high-quality customer reviews. In that case, it might purchase positive Google reviews out of desperation to get more five-star ratings or reviews.
However, purchasing Google reviews or fake reviews is never a good idea. Instead, follow the best ways mentioned below to get more positive reviews online.
- In order to optimize products and services, companies should pay attention to their online presence and learn what their customers say about them.
- Making sure that all customers have a positive experience with the company
- In response to negative reviews, show consideration and respect so that customers may change their minds and perhaps their star rating
- Writing a thank-you comment for customers who have submitted positive reviews will encourage others to do the same.
- Send a link for a click, write a review by automated emails, drop a google review link in their phone number, SMS, etc. This way, they can seamlessly boost the count of Google business reviews and overall ratings.
Is It Legalized To Buy Reviews?
No. Legal action could be taken against the company if they pay for fake reviews on Google, other review sites, and review platforms like Google, Yelp, etc.
When it believes the law has been broken, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) actively pursues cases and files complaints, such as when businesses purchase fake reviews or when business owners create fake reviews for other companies.
For instance, in 2022, the FTC announced that it had reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with a company that used a third-party service to automatically post four or five-star reviews to the brand's website and suppressed negative experiences and negative reviews. Similarly, in 2019, the FTC announced that it was bringing a legal case against a company that used fake reviews to improve its online reputation.
How Can Buying Reviews Hurt Your Business?
This part is solely for the business owners planning to invest some bucks for future destruction! Yes, you read it right.
Today or tomorrow, you ought to be caught! Google and other trusted review platforms use advanced tools and Search campaigns to locate and report fake reviews, taking down your entire online reputation and sales. So buying reviews can hamper your business in several ways. Some of these are mentioned below-
#1. It's Hard To Grow Your Business
Negative reviews that criticize specific aspects of your business can benefit it, despite how difficult they may be to see. When your customers tell you precisely what needs to be improved, you can revisit your procedures and make them better for your next customers.
By burying those reviews, you deny your business the opportunity to enhance its features to satisfy real customers. It demonstrates that you value your fictitious online customers more than your actual ones, which is never a good sign for a business.
Negative reviews will continue to pour in if these essential functions aren't improved, but you won't notice them because you'll be busy covering them up with positive, fake reviews.
#2. It Hurts Your Reputation
Fake reviews can look fantastic. They are raving about something specific to your business, the image is high quality, and they appear legitimate.
Then suddenly, you discover that the same reviewer has visited 15 restaurants, three dentist offices, and five car dealerships weekly.
Either they are fake, or that person is obsessed with eating out, getting their teeth cleaned, and looking for a new car.
Real Customers would least believe the second option. Nowadays, despite how favorable these fake reviews may appear at first glance, it is almost always possible to distinguish genuine ones from fake ones.
Google, Yelp, and Amazon's review websites are catching on and taking action. They are working on better ways to catch criminals and punish them.
Your small business's online credibility is crucial. It brings in new reviews and customers who are eager to be delighted and keeps your devoted customers coming back and raving about your local business.
Therefore, customers will lose all faith in your company if you are discovered to have fake reviews. Customers also avoid doing business with you if they do not trust you.
#3. You Might Pay More For False Reviews
Let's perform some calculations. Don't worry; let's keep it simple so you get a clear picture of how significant a loss would be to buy reviews.
Let's say you pay $15 per review to hire 30 freelancers. That's $450. For that amount, you could run a small Facebook ad.
20 customers came in a week later, citing the favorable reviews as why they had chosen to attend. Each of them spent $30. So 20 times 30 equals $600. Pretty good. You made $150 more in the first week, but this is just the beginning.
But at some point, someone starts to understand. Using FakeSpot, Google's algorithms pick up on these reviews, resulting in the deletion of your Google My Business page with entire business information and a $45,000 fine in your mailbox. So 45,000 in addition to 450 is $45,450.
You just spent that much on 30 reviews and a Google account banned.
Did it pay off?
Although it is based on actual scenarios, this is only a fictitious illustration of how this practice can affect your business.
Why Should You Be Real And Encourage Real Reviews?
A customer can do so much for other potential buyers. Positive reviews will influence consumers who have yet to make a purchase decision. Also, real reviews will help businesses become familiar with genuine criticism.
With fake reviews, companies won't be able to read genuine customer feedback, which is one of the most common ungrateful consequences of flooding the business profile with fake reviews. For instance, the business may have issues they need to be aware of; however, if negative reviews are avoided, companies will never find out about their shortcomings.
Negative feedback can serve as a free test for the business's operations.
Moreover, there are other important reasons why businesses should always be real and avoid fake reviews.
#1. It's Unlawful
Google's guidelines prohibit rewarding reviews. Google will also mark any content as forbidden and blocked if it contains a conflict of interest. Impersonation of a fake engagement or False information is categorized as deceptive content in accordance with the guidelines provided by Google.
#2. Customers Will Know If A Review Is Fake
Google receives the most reports of fake reviews. Even though Google removed nearly 130 million fake reviews in 2019 and 2020, its rate of fake reviews was the highest, at 10.7%. Veteran internet users can seamlessly spot a fake review.
The most common characteristics of fake reviews are as follows:
- The particular user only writes reviews about a specific industry or niche;
- The review is the first one by that Google user;
- The user isn't very active on Google;
- The user posts several reviews and then disappears, as seen through their past reviews;
- Other accounts have posted reviews that are similar to the user's own;
- The reviews are vague and don't include a lot of information.
Online buyers can also use a variety of apps to find fake reviews. These tools look for frequent red flags uncommon in genuine reviews, like the ones listed above.
#3. It's Awful For The Local SEO
It can take time to decide where to focus the efforts because Google's algorithm for ranking local searches is based on many different signals. Therefore, to ensure that a local small business ranks well for relevant search queries in Google search results, it is essential to pay attention to a variety of distinct local SEO (search engine optimization) ranking factors in the search engine.
Reviews are unquestionably an essential aspect of SEO. The business will lose its ability to be found on Google if you don't provide genuine reviews and instead get caught for legal penalties for fake reviews, which could cost a lot of money.
#4. It Abuses Google's Rules
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a public body tasked with safeguarding consumers, will come after the company. According to Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 US Code 45, reviews (testimonials) that are fraudulent or deceptive are against the law. So the FTC goes after businesses that use fake sponsored reviews to promote their businesses online. The company will be punished with at least $10,000 per review if found guilty. So if you are thinking about purchasing Google reviews, read the FTC's endorsement and testimonial guidelines.
How Can You Leave A Real Review?
Steps To Leave A Review On Mobile Device
- Scroll down to the Review Summary section by selecting the location's name.
- Or follow the leave review link.
- A "Write a review" tab will appear.
- Give it a five-star rating and elaborate on your experience.
Steps To Leave A Review On Desktop
- Create an account with Google.
- Look for the business name or location and confirm the business listings.
- Look for reviews that are already up.
- Select and tap on the "Write a Review" link or button in the pop-up window under the review section.
- Give the place a review and star rating.
- Share photos and detailed experiences to let others know about your customer feedback. You can also share a screenshot or review your response with others to show how the business owner has responded to you.
How Can You Remove Fake Or Inappropriate Reviews?
Suppose a business is entirely sure about a wrong or inappropriate review that is being posted in their listings. In that case, they can attempt to remove it by following the below steps.
Steps To Flag Reviews In Google Maps
- Open Google Maps on your computer or maps.google.com and mark a review.
- Find your profile as a business.
- Locate the review that you wish to report.
After clicking More, select Flag as inappropriate.
Steps To Flag Reviews In Google search
- Go to Google on your computer and mark a review.
- Find your profile as a business.
- Click Reviews on Google.
- Find the review that you want to report.
- Select Report review after clicking More. Choose the kind of review that you want to report.
Steps To Flag Reviews In Your Account
- Sign in to your computer to manage your Business Profile and mark a review in your account.
- Select the review that you want to report:
For a single company: Open the profile you want to control-click Reviews in the menu on the left.
For Multiple companies: Click Manage reviews in the menu on the left. Then select a location group from the drop-down menu. Organization accounts do not qualify for this selection.)
- Click More and Flag as inappropriate on the review you wish to flag.
By now, you must know how important you as a customer are to define the shape of the businesses online while helping others make a sound decision about their purchase. Refrain from dropping a review if you genuinely feel the product and the company's service are excellent and satisfactory.
"Your Reviews Matter!!"
- Is it possible to detect fake reviews?
Yes. The following warning signs may indicate a fake review campaign:
- An exceptionally high level of five-star surveys.
- Reviews that lack detail and praise that needs to be more specific.
- Reviews with generic titles like "Nice product" or "Awesome" mention rival products.
- The formulation is comparable to that of other reviews.
- Errors in spelling and grammar.
2. Is buying online reviews illegal?
Yes. It is against the law to buy or post fake reviews online. Even if a review is true, no one can be paid to publish it unless the paid endorsement is made abundantly clear and understood. Reviews should be based on real-world experiences.
3. Can real reviews make a difference?
Yes. Research indicates that online reviews matter and are trusted by nearly 90% of consumers more than personal recommendations. In addition, in recent years, review websites have increased their efforts to maintain impartial reviews.
4. Can review harm a company?
Your business can suffer significantly from negative reviews. You risk losing customers each time a bad review appears in Google searches. In addition, 86% of consumers are wary of purchasing from businesses with poor reviews.