We are often asked, “Does responding to Google Reviews affect or help local SEO?” And if we have to respond, how to “Respond to Google Reviews?” Reviews help not only in SEO ranking but also in building trust and confidence among consumers. It is believed that more than 88% of consumers treat Reviews as a personal recommendation. Reviews leave a strong impact on the success of the business. 97% of consumers have agreed that reviews influence greatly their purchasing decision, and Google Review Management should be of top priority for every business that faces consumers.
Reasons why you should respond to your Google Reviews
As known, Google is the world’s popular search engine, and almost all consumers take this medium as the best and reliable source of information for researching products and services. The business listings will appear along with the most recent customer reviews along with comments and star rating, and it is stated by BrightLocal that 85% of the consumers trust online reviews, and this leaves a big impact on you finding potentially new consumers as well. If these weren’t compelling, then have a look at the reasons mentioned below, suffice to encourage you to respond to your Google Reviews –
It’s a nice thing to do
It makes good sense to always respond to your Google Reviews. As soon as a customer comes to you either through phone or in-person with feedback- irrespective of the fact that it is good or bad – you have to respond to them. Even though this may not change the appropriate response, acknowledging the feedback and giving instant reply simply means that your company is encouraging good customer service.
Google likes it
When you go an extra way, and respond to Google Reviews, it shows clearly your courtesy towards your consumers and you can avail the SEO benefits of Google Review as well. Recently a Google Representative has advised me in the Google My Business Support Ares to reply to the reviews. The Advisor further puts forth that responding to reviews means it is a clear signal to Google stating that the business’s page is actively managed, and the incentive is – the business site will get better online exposure for the listing.
Builds confidence with potential Customers
When a potential buyer or consumer visits your site, and notice that you have responded to the reviews, they get more than satisfied as this is a clear indicator that you are providing a very good service to your consumers. And mainly when you are responding to a negative review, the searcher can understand that your business is concerned about making things right, as something has gone wrong. And this even has the potential to turn a negative review into a good and positive one. And for positive reviews, a simple acknowledgment of saying “thank you” publicly will reinforce the character and commitment your business shows to its customers. And this naturally increases consumer’s trust and credibility.
Best practices for responding to reviews
Now this leaves us with the next important question, what are the best ways or practices to respond to reviews. Things are not as easy as one may think – “What is there, you can simply reply right? – Well, actually no. There are few things that one should know before responding to Google Reviews, and the following can help you with that –
- Check your Google account for reviews
- Evaluate those reviews
- Respond to both Positive and Negative Reviews
Check your Google Account for Reviews –
Finding your Google Reviews is rather simple, and here is what you have got to do –
- Sign in to your Google My Business account
- Click the three horizontal bars and reach the menu. And then, select “All Locations”
- And in case, you have more than one business account or location, pick the one that you want to manage and click on “Manage Location”
- Now, go to the Reviews section
- Click the blue box that says “Manage Reviews”
And that’s it – you have reached your Google Review section. Now, you have to just sift through them.
Evaluate your Google Reviews
Read your Google Reviews, and make a note of all those not-so-pleasant ones… as these may take more effort and mind to reply. And, all the more, these negative reviews can actually be fake too, as the internet is not adept at filtering the ill-willed or spam or robot ones. This is when your staffs must act diligently and know the truth. And you always have the option of flagging it off or remove them. Fraudulent reviews needn’t be responded.
Now you are left with two options – the good and the bad one. There may be some who will give you just a 3-star rating and compliment you while still criticizing you. But, replying to these will make your consumers happy and they will tell everyone in their social media circle about the purchase made from your company. Hence, you should know that there is always a finesse to respond to each type of reviews.
How to Respond to Positive Reviews –
Responding to positive reviews is rather simple, just keep the following things in mind –
- Responding on time is the first best thing
- Thank the customer
- Be authentic – use the customer’s surname and avoid copy-pasting replies, add a personal touch to your replies.
- Invite them to take action – be polite and let the reviewer not feel as if they owe you something.
Here are some templates of how to respond to a positive review
- Dear [NAME OF CUSTOMER], thanks for leaving us such a wonderful review. We are thrilled that you loved your experience; our staff will definitely be happy to read what you wrote. We put customer experience and satisfaction is our priority, and your review reaffirms the hard work we put in every day. So, thanks for your kind words and we look forward to seeing you again.
- “This review made our day!”
- “Thank you so much for taking the time to leave us this amazing review.”
- “We are so grateful for your kind words. Thanks for sharing your review with us and the community.”
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
While you are responding to negative reviews, just keep the following tactics in mind –
- Acknowledge the consumer’s problem
- Take responsibility for the mistake and apologize
- Explain if necessary – if your company is not at a mistake, don’t be harsh, instead try to give a genuine explanation.
- Compensate accordingly
Here are some templates of how to respond to a negative review
- Dear [NAME OF REVIEWER], thanks for sharing your feedback. We’re sorry your experience didn’t match your expectations. It was an uncommon instance and we’ll do better.
- Please feel free reach out to [INSERT CONTACT INFORMATION] with any further comments, concerns, or suggestions you wish to share. We would love to make things right if you give us another chance.
- “Thank you for your review. I’m sorry to hear you had such a frustrating experience, but I really appreciate you bringing this issue to my attention.”
- “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We’re sorry you had a bad experience. We’ll strive to do better.”
- “Thank you for letting us know about this. Your feedback helps us get better. We are looking into this issue and hope to resolve it promptly and accurately.”
Other major benefits of responding to Goggle Reviews
Apart from gaining consumer’s trust and credibility, there are many other benefits of responding to Google Reviews and such are
Google’s official stance on responding to reviews
It is anyhow a known fact that responding to reviews gain trust among customers, but it also builds a strong trust with the search engine itself. Google recommends only those credible companies to customers that respond to Google Reviews – immaterial of it being a positive or a negative one. Google encourages businesses to reply to reviews so as to improve their SEO.
Boosts your Google Ranking
Whenever a Business responds to Google Review, Google observes it and the resultant – the higher they will rank in the local Google searches. So, when a business responds, the algorithm of Google automatically tops the site in the consumer’s Google Search, and alternatively, the business that doesn’t respond will not rank as high.
Bigger impact on business reputation
If you haven’t gone through the Cornell University Study, then have a look now –
- Responding to Google Reviews directly increases the revenue of the business
- Failure to responding to Google Reviews will prove to be costly – as this will lead to lower review scores and overall low rating
- Responding to critical and negative reviews benefit overall ratings when compared to responding to positive comments or favorable reviews.
Final Thoughts At Foore, we have a head-ache free review response technology, using which businesses can customize the review replies; or use the automated review reply templates, centralize your review data, track all responses to reviews.