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Reviews, testimonials, and case studies are a significant part of a company’s online presence and reputation. They don’t just build credibility with potential customers, but they also boost your brand online in multiple ways. Building this online reputation is essential, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind when you’re obtaining and responding to reviews, especially the negative ones.

Below we’ve outlined some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about reviews all the time.

How do I get more reviews?

There are a number of ways you can acquire reviews from your customers. Some of those include asking customers in person, emailing a request, or naturally accumulating reviews by providing superior products or services. It’s important to remember that reviews need to be authentic, but there are ways you can encourage customers to share feedback in a tactful way. You can thank them for their business and tell them that if they’d like to share about their experience that they can leave a review online. You can create a section on your website that showcases reviews with a button to allow other customers to leave a review. 

Can I pay someone to leave a review?

You should absolutely NEVER pay someone to leave a review. It is possible to do, but violates most sites terms and is a slippery slope to being banned from specific platforms or hurting your site’s rankings. Reviews should only be left by actual clients or customers who had an experience with your brand. Paying for reviews breaks these rules and is unethical. Platforms like Google and Yelp are often able to determine when a review is real or when it’s been paid for and will often remove those reviews. Your time and money would be better spent on other marketing efforts and focusing on providing a great experience that leaves customers wanting to say great things about your company.

Where should my clients leave reviews?

It’s best to leverage a few platforms for reviews to expand your overall brand presence online. However, you don’t want to spread your reviews too thin, and some platforms are more authoritative than others. It is ideal to get reviews on the larger platforms like Google, Facebook, or Yelp, or some industry-specific review platform, then branch out into others.

Can I delete a bad review?

It’s most likely you will not be able to delete a bad review. If business owners could remove negative reviews from a platform, it would destroy the platform’s credibility for being an authentic place to learn about others’ experiences with a specific brand. However, most review platforms allow you to respond to reviews, both good and bad. There is also usually a form of recourse that businesses have if a review is spam or falsified. Just know, reporting a review doesn’t automatically remove it. It’s up to the review site to determine if they will keep or remove the review.

What do I do if someone leaves a bad review?

If the review is by someone who had an interaction with your company, it’s best to respond to them. Google allows you to reply to each reviewer individually, so, if someone leaves a negative review, this is a great opportunity for you to publicly apologize and offer a solution to remedy the issue. That may mean offering contact information to customer support and letting them know you want to remedy the situation. This helps soften the impact other consumers may feel in reading a negative review because it shows you’re willing to try to come to a resolution.

 

If the review is spam, it’s best to report it.

 

Many review sites allow anyone to leave a review, whether they’ve hired your company or not. That means if someone calls and feels a customer support representative didn’t address their concerns or help them in the way they wanted to be helped, they could leave a bad review. (This is why company culture, core values, and excellent management skills are so critical!) Those things ensure no matter who within the company is interacting with a customer, they are equipped to handle that interaction appropriately and with care, in a way that represents the company as a whole.

Do I have to respond to every review? What do I say?

We definitely recommend responding to every review, both good and bad. When someone posts a negative review, address their concerns, and let them know they’ve been heard. If you can offer a way to make their experience better with your company, do so. When you receive positive reviews, always thank the reviewer and let them know how much you appreciate them and their business.

We cannot stress this enough–keep the responses professional. Too often, we see a company get a negative review that’s pretty heated and tough to read, and a representative replies with an answer that lashes out just as hard as the reviewer did. This further perpetuates the fact that prospects may read that and wonder what kind of experience they’ll have with your brand. So please, KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL!

Why does Google show a 4.5 rating for my business when all my reviews are 5 stars?

On a Google My Business Listing, Google doesn’t take a direct average of your reviews to get your business rating. They instead use something similar to a Bayesian average.

Google says:

“We calculate an overall rating based on user ratings and a variety of other signals to ensure the overall score best reflects the quality of the establishment.”

This seems to happen more frequently with businesses with only a few reviews, or very infrequent reviews. So, if you have only 5-star reviews, but a lower overall rating, all you can do is continue to get more positive reviews.

Someone left a review on Google, but it’s not showing up. Why?

Google filters reviews for numerous reasons. Most of the time, it’s because a review violates their guidelines. Sometimes it’s because they deem a review to be less than authentic. And sometimes, a customer may think they left a review, but failed to actually post it, or worse–accidentally posted it on a similarly named company’s listing.

I have multiple locations. Do I need to get reviews for each location?

Most of the time, yes. But it does depend on the review platform and how they have it set up. For local listing sites like Yelp, YP, and Google, every local office should have its own listing. Each individual listing then has the ability to get reviews. Gathering positive reviews will help you rank higher in local searches for your products and services.  

Do reviews improve my SEO and overall website rankings?

Yes, very much so! Positive reviews across the internet prove to Google and other search engines and review platforms that your company has a solid reputation and an authority in your industry. They help SEO by improving your ranking in search results and by driving more traffic to your website. More traffic to your website tells Google and other search engines that your website is gaining popularity. Therefore, it must be relevant, so it will continue to deliver your site in search results more and more. Google Support explains how relevance, distance, and prominence play a large role in local ranking. They say, “Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web. Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.”

 

As you can see, positive reviews are vital to your business growth, both online and offline. Need help with your review strategy? Reach out to us today for a free consultation.

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