If you're reading this article, chances are you know the impact that online ratings and reviews have on your business.
To save you time, I rounded up some common questions business owners ask me when I help them put together and implement a review strategy that works:
Who's looking at my reviews anyway?
86% of consumers read online reviews to find local businesses, according to research leader BrightLocal. The level of adherence consumers have to online reviews is also on the rise, with 91% of 18-34-year-olds trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Why does my competitor show up higher on Google Maps than I do?
There are a variety of factors that can affect your ranking on Google - from the user's location, to your business category, and even your business name. One of the biggest factors affecting your Maps ranking is your online rating.
To raise your rank on Google Maps, make sure your business NAP (name, address, phone number) is up-to-date on all rating sites. Then, get more 5-star reviews on your business to improve your rating. The combination of review volume, recency and length (among other factors) are sure to raise your standing on Google Maps.
How do I remove 1-star reviews?
First thing's first: calmly reply to the review, asking for more information and offering a solution (even if you're not at fault). If you've rectified the situation, try asking the poster to change their review to something more favourable.
It is extremely unlikely that you will be able to remove the review, but if you're hellbent on trying, here are a couple steps you can take:
1. Go to the review and "Flag as inappropriate"
Don't abuse this button just because you don't agree with a review. "Google doesn't get involved when merchants and customers disagree about facts, since there is no reliable way to discern who is right about a particular customer experience."
2. Contact Google about the review in question
You can talk to Google Support via live chat or phone by following these steps:
Need more help?
Customer reviews and photos
Manage customer reviews
Request callback / Request chat
3. Submit a Form to Google
As a last resort, you can submit a Legal Removal Request to Google. The process is quite lengthy so get your lawyer ready.
Can I restart my Google Business account?
The short answer is no; As with most things on the internet, once something gets on, it's hard to get off.
Whether you un-verify yourself as the owner, move to a different location, or even close down permanently, your GMB listing will still exist in one way or another.
If you are trying to suppress some poor ratings, or starting fresh with new management, the best thing to do is reply to all reviews and implement a Review Management system.
What's the fastest way to get my online ratings up?
The most organic way to improve your ratings is to do right by your customers and ask them to leave a review whenever possible, but that's not what the question is; The fastest way to improve your online ratings is to implement a Review Management System.
A good Review Management System helps you collect, analyze and automate customer data, with instant notifications and a smooth interface. Luckily, BrandLoyal has that covered.
What's the difference between Google, Yelp, and other review sites?
It all boils down to your customer's preferences. You should claim and update your listings as soon as you start your business, and always keep them accurate for best ranking results on search engines.