Many business owners take advantage of a free Google My Business listing. After all, it’s the only way to show up in Google Maps, and it lets your customers find your info easily and quickly online. However, while many businesses have a Google My Business listing set up, we often find that businesses aren’t using their Google My Business listing to the fullest extent. One question many business owners ask us is “Should I be responding to my Google My Business reviews?” Our answer is a resounding YES! Here’s why:
Express Thanks to Loyal Customers
When a customer leaves a review, not only have they chosen your business, but they have also taken time out of their day to leave their opinion afterward. It is quick and easy to thank these loyal customers for their time and business by responding to their review, especially if it’s a good review! Reviewers are notified when a business responds to their review, so they will see your note of appreciation. Responding to their review will leave them with a more favorable impression of your business. Plus it keeps you top of mind, so hopefully next time they will choose your business again. Take a minute to respond to every review you get, even those that are just a star rating, to let your customers know you appreciate them.
Google Ranking Signals
There are many businesses out there, and most of the time, the search results only show 3 businesses on the map. How does Google choose which businesses to display? There are a variety of factors, including proximity to the reviewer, star rating, and trust in the business. Google doesn’t explicitly state what factors they consider when ranking Google My Business listings, but we know that they want to display businesses that they trust have accurate information and are real businesses. One of the ways you can prove to Google that you are a real, active business is regularly responding to reviews. Think about it, which business is more likely to be open: one that hasn’t touched their listing in years, or one that responds to new reviews as they come in? You want to take advantage of all of the different options to optimize your Google My Business profile, including review response, to have the best chance of good rankings.
Reach Potential Customers
Many customers like to research a business before doing business with them. BrightLocal found that 82% of customers read reviews before making a decision and that 97% of those who read reviews also read business’s responses to reviews. This means that when you respond to a review, you aren’t just responding to the customer who left the review, you are also marketing to potential future customers! Make sure your review response is polite and accurate (even if the review itself isn’t) to leave a good impression on every potential customer who reads your response.
Help with Negative Reviews
You can’t control the reviews that you get, so unfortunately you may occasionally get a bad review. However, by responding to negative reviews you get a chance to make another impression and rectify the situation. Sometimes customers even change a review to be more positive after a positive interaction on a negative review. Responding to bad reviews is also important because as we mentioned before, many people read reviews and responses. A good response to a bad review can help restore trust in a business and might even win you more customers as they see that you handle bad situations well and are willing to fix mistakes.
One of the best pieces of advice that we can give to local businesses is to take full advantage of your Google My Business listing, and that includes responding to reviews! If you need some help or just want to hand off Google My Business management, give us a call today!