Say you’re shopping for an African handwoven basket—or maybe a carburetor for your vintage Chevy Camaro. Obscure items like these would’ve been hard to find a few decades ago, but thanks to the internet, these products are only a click away.
The internet allows consumers to buy just about any niche product they might be seeking, from anywhere in the world. But it also makes consumers much more skeptical about brands and the quality of the products they’re selling. The younger generation is especially prone to skepticism. In fact, studies show that “84% of Millennials don’t trust traditional advertising.”
Why Are Online Reviews Important?
With so much resistance to advertising, online reviews are more important than ever. This is the modern form of word-of-mouth marketing, where people can learn from fellow customers about a product, rather than having to trust the brand all on its own.
How important are online reviews? Astoundingly, 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from family and friends more than any other form of advertising. These stats have been on the rise for years, with online reviews becoming one of the most trusted sources to inform buying decisions. The same study reports that 70% of consumers say they trust online reviews second to recommendations from people they know.
What Do Google Reviews Do?
Google reviews allow consumers to learn about the pros and cons of a product before they purchase it. Though they could learn about the product from the brand itself, consumers perceive Google reviews to be a more trusted source because they are from a third party that does not have a vested interest in the company.
Google reviews help businesses just as much as they help consumers. A company with a large collection of Google reviews will be considered more reputable and trustworthy than competing brands, which will boost SEO rankings, increase lead generation, and boost conversions. Google reviews allow businesses to spread the word about their brand effectively, without dumping loads of money into traditional marketing methods.
How Do Google Reviews Work?
Customers can write a Google review by going to Google search engine or Google Maps and searching for a specific business. If the business is verified on Google, a business profile will pop up with information like the business address, phone number, and a link to Google reviews. The profile will show how many reviews the business has, as well as their ranking on a 5-star scale. The more positive reviews a business has, the more stars they will have.
Customers can click on the link to leave their own review of the business. Their review can be a score on the 5-star scale or include a written review. The review can be a few sentences or several paragraphs.
Businesses can ask customers to leave reviews to build their online reputation and improve their search ranking. However, they should not offer incentives in exchange for reviews. Google discourages this practice because incentivized reviews are considered to be more biased and inauthentic.
Why Are Google Reviews So Important?
How important are Google reviews? Extremely important!
Consumers turn to Google reviews to learn which products are actually worth buying, and which ones don’t make the cut. This makes Google reviews vital to any modern business. Here are a few of the many benefits of online customer reviews:
- Improve SEO. The more Google reviews a business has, the higher they’ll rank in Google search results. This means customers can find a business more quickly and businesses have the chance to gain more customers.
- Gain Valuable Insights. Google reviews aren’t just for customers to learn about a business—they also offer valuable insights about what a company is doing right, and where they have room to improve.
- Increase Trust. Perhaps most importantly, Google reviews increase trust between consumers and a brand. Consumers get an unbiased, honest review from fellow customers, which helps them determine if the product is right for them.
Can You Trust Google Reviews?
Generally, Google reviews are considered one of the most trustworthy sources for consumers to learn about a business. However, Google reviews are so important, some businesses are doing whatever it takes to get them—even if the strategy is unethical.
Unfortunately, the practice of buying reviews or incentivizing reviews has increased in popularity over the years, making some customers wary of some reviews.
To make sure your Google reviews are trustworthy, don’t try to delete every negative review that pops up. Allow customers to express both positive and negative opinions about your brand. On the other hand, if a review is extremely defamatory or false, you can contact Google to try to remove the inaccurate review.
Getting Your Own Reviews
Wondering how to get Google reviews? Start by simply asking customers to leave a review of their own. Use email blasts, signage, and surveys to remind customers about leaving a review, and soon you’ll have a strong online reputation that attracts and converts new customers.