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Mastering Google Reviews - A Complete Guide

Mastering Google Reviews - A Complete Guide
Mladen Manolov
Business Development
Managing and responding to your Google Reviews can influence your online presence and SEO - learn how to master Google Reviews below.
Mastering Google Reviews - A Complete Guide

In this article, we discuss the importance of Google reviews across all industries and the impact they can have on keeping existing business, as well as growing it. We provide practical tips and strategies on how to manage your Google reviews, respond to them professionally and use them to your advantage in attracting new customers.

The article also emphasizes the importance of Google reviews in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and making your business visible to others. By following the best practice suggestions on mastering Google reviews, businesses increase their chances of keeping their valued customers engaged, attracting new ones, and growing their business.

What are Google Reviews?

If you are reading this article you most likely already have been involved with Google reviews as a business owner, customer or very likely both.

To level the playing field, a Google review is a customer's rating on a 5-star scale and short written feedback of their experience with a local business. Very importantly, these reviews are integrated into the business's Google Business Profile, Google Maps, and Google Search. Thus, Google reviews are an essential part of a local business's online presence, and they allow potential customers to see and evaluate other customers' experiences with the business.

Sample of a detailed Google review from a hotel guest.

A recent study found that 49% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Hence, it is important for businesses to actively monitor and engage with all their reviews. Below we provide a recipe for success on how to do exactly that.

Should you respond to all Google reviews?

Responding to all Google reviews, including rating-only reviews, is important because it can improve a business’ online visibility and searchability on Google. In addition to improving a business’ online searchability, responding to reviews also demonstrates a high level of customer service and appreciation for customers. This is especially important in the hospitality sector, where customer satisfaction is a key factor in success.

Business owners or managers should not limit themselves to responding just to a single type of reviews, e.g. only positive or only negative. Responding to all reviews (rating only reviews included) provides an opportunity to add relevant keywords to a business’ Google profile and boost SEO as this article suggests. Overall, responding to all Google reviews, even those without comments, can have a positive impact on your online presence and customer satisfaction.

Sample of a well-written review response from Neumühle Resort & Spa.

Responding to your reviews has a massive impact in the eyes of your online customers. Not to bore you with statistics, but to be a bit more exact, 98% of customers read online reviews and 97% admit that online reviews actually influence their purchase decisions. A study by Spiegel Research Center also found that a product with five reviews is actually 270% more likely to be sold as compared to a product with zero reviews. In order for you to reap those benefits, below we have explained and linked additional content for you to master Google reviews.

Check out our article on The Importance of Responding to Reviews Individually where we discuss at length why we should respond to all reviews.

How to respond to Google reviews?

Here's a step-by-step summary of how to respond to customer reviews on Google My Business:

  1. Sign in to your Google My Business account at
  2. Navigate to your reviews page by clicking on the "Reviews" tab on the left-hand side of the screen.
  3. Sort your reviews by "Newest" to ensure you respond to them in a timely manner.
  4. Click on the review you want to respond to and click "Reply".
  5. Type in your reply in the pop-up window that appears and hit "Reply" again to publish your response.

To learn how to reply to Google reviews examples, visuals, and detailed process, follow our article How to Respond to Every Google Review in Seconds.

How to respond to positive feedback on Google?

To respond to positive Google reviews, it is important to show that the reviewer's feedback is valued and that their business is appreciated. It is recommended to start by thanking the customer for their review and mentioning how much their purchase or stay is appreciated. Responses should be personalized, mentioning the customer's name and key aspects of their positive review. However, responding to a lot of 5 star Google review can be challenging, as it is easy to sound repetitive. This is where an AI Review Reply Assistant could come in, as it can generate individualized responses to every review. Responding effectively to positive reviews is crucial in turning customers into loyalists or even ambassadors of a business.

Sample of a well-written response for a positive review from Gekko House hotel.

This was a hyper-synthesized guide. For a detailed list of dos and don'ts when responding to positive reviews check out our article How to Respond to Online Reviews.

How to respond to negative feedback on Google?

The key to answering negative Google reviews is finding the right balance between an apologetic and optimistic tone that not only addresses the reviewer's concerns but also impacts future customers. A very apologetic tone may come across as desperate, while a very optimistic tone may seem insincere. A good response should show empathy, professionalism, acknowledge the customer's concerns, take responsibility and show dedication to the business. For example, if a restaurant received a negative review about the temperature of the food, a good response would acknowledge the issue, explain the typical practice of preheating plates, and invite the reviewer back to give the restaurant another chance. A response like this demonstrates a commitment to providing an upscale dining experience and excellent service.

Sample of a well-written response for a negative review.

Crafting responses to every 1 star Google review can be challenging, and finding the right balance is crucial to maintaining a positive image of the business. It is important to keep in mind that negative reviews can also provide an opportunity to learn from customer feedback and improve the business.

For more tips on responding to negative online reviews, you can refer to our detailed article on How to Respond to Online Reviews.

How do you respond to reviews without comments?

Review responses can help SEO by optimizing a business's Google presence. Responding to reviews, even those without comments, provides an opportunity to use relevant keywords and phrases related to the business's category and location. These keywords can improve the business's online visibility and searchability, making it more likely to appear in relevant search results.

However, it's important to avoid using generic response templates and personalize responses, even for rating-only reviews. This will demonstrate a high level of customer service and appreciation for customers, which can positively impact a business's online reputation and customer satisfaction.

In addition, asking for additional feedback from customers who leave low ratings can help a business identify areas for improvement in its services or products. This can lead to better customer experiences and higher ratings in the future.

Sample of reply generated by an AI reply assistant for a review without comments.

Overall, responding to all reviews, including those 3 star Google review without comments, is a valuable SEO strategy for businesses looking to improve their online visibility and reputation.

For a more detailed article with examples, you could check our take on How to Respond to a Google Review With No Comment. Or you could try MARA AI Review Reply Assistant by registering for FREE and let it do the magic as a busy professional once said.

Can you remove a bad Google review?

Sometimes we just wish an unfairly negative or outright fake review is simply removed from the profile of the business and not to be responded to at all. Below are some important considerations we should keep in mind.

Why you can’t delete a Google review?

What you need to know here is that Google does not simply offer a "delete" option. Reviews can be removed in two ways: the reviewer can delete their own review or the business can flag the review as inappropriate. When a review is flagged, Google is alerted that it may be fake or not comply with their review policies. However, Google has built-in spam checkers that automatically analyze reviews for inappropriate content. This means that even if a review is flagged, it may remain on the page until Google manually reviews it and decides whether to remove it.

Therefore, it is not guaranteed that a business can delete a Google review. However, they can take action by flagging the review as inappropriate and completing a brief report of the issue. While waiting for Google to make a decision, the business can address the issue with the customer and work toward a positive solution. To remove a review, the best option is to contact the reviewer and request that they remove it themselves.

For more tips and detailed instruction on how to flag a review as fake or inappropriate, you can find all you need here Learn How to Remove Google Reviews and What To Do If You Can't.

What can get a Google review removed?

To know when to delete a Google review, it is essential to be aware that not every negative review can be removed from Google. A review cannot be removed if it is a genuine opinion of a customer who had a poor experience with your business. Google only removes reviews that are against its policies. Fortunately, Google has a review removal process that takes inappropriate content seriously. Reviews that contain profanity or hate speech, personal information, fake or fraudulent content, or content that is off-topic or irrelevant to the product or service being reviewed are eligible for removal from Google's platform. Businesses can request the removal of reviews meeting these criteria. Reviews containing adult, hazardous, illegal or unregulated content, insulting language or hate speech, misleading content, or false information can be deleted by flagging them to Google. These types of reviews are not allowed on Google's platform as they violate its guidelines. By following these guidelines, businesses can ensure that their online reputation is protected, and their customers can have a positive experience.

Spotting Fake Google Reviews: A Guide to Identifying and Dealing with Fake Reviews - within this article you could find the detailed process for identifying and signaling to Google that a review is fake or inappropriate. We recommend you check it to keep your online reputation intact.

Flagging a Google review as inappropriate. (Source)

What to do if Google won’t remove a review?

Negative reviews can be damaging to a business, but not all reviews are eligible for removal. Therefore, the best approach is to mitigate the potential harm of a negative review. It is important to mitigate the harm because 52% of customers will not buy from a business that has less than a 4-star rating. These are our recommendations:

  1. Respond professionally to customer reviews - regardless if they are negative. This shows customers that their opinions matter and that a business is willing to take action and builds trust with customers. MARA's AI Reply Assistant can be a helpful tool for businesses to streamline their response to customer reviews on Google.
  2. Kindly request the customer to remove the review - it is important to thank them for leaving the valuable and honest review, explain that actions have been taken and that their experience will not repeat. Make sure to explain why the business is asking them to consider removing the review.
  3. Provide a solution to the issue in the review - negative feedback can also be helpful to a business as it can provide insights into areas that need improvement. Identifying the issue reported in a negative review is the first step to solving a customer's problem. Once the issue is identified, it is essential to take action and make changes that will ensure customers are satisfied with a product or service. Following up with customers who left poor reviews and letting them know that their opinion is valued can help turn a negative review into a positive one.

Lastly, verifying reviews can be helpful to ensure that a review is genuine. Signs of a fake review include a lack of detail and generic language that could apply to almost any business. Therefore, it is best to take the review with a grain of salt and do further research before making any decisions based on it.

A game-changing helper could be a review response generator. It quickly creates tailored responses to negative reviews and can also generate personalized messages for all reviews. This saves time and lets you focus on what matters most - providing excellent customer service.

How to get more online reviews?

Everything we have talked about so far would not be very useful if you are not getting reviews.

Creating and using a Google review link can be a great way to improve your online reputation and increase customer reviews. Google states that reviews and responses are essential for local search rankings, and they can significantly impact potential customers' decisions. To generate a review link, you can look for the link on your Google My Business Profile, use the Place ID Finder tool, or manually locate the link using Google Search. Once the link is created, you can share it on social media, through email campaigns, and even on receipts. Additionally, it is essential to respond to customer reviews quickly and personally to demonstrate that you value their opinion and help build trust in your brand. To make it easier for customers to remember and share your review link, you can use a URL shortening tool such as bitly to create shorter URLs. Additionally, you can also consider using QR codes, direct messages, or adding the link to your website. Taking the time to respond to each review will show customers that you care, and maximize customer engagement.

Sample of Google review buttons to share with customers. (Source)

Click here to get the full story: Learn How to Generate and Share a Google Reviews Link

What is the effect of Google reviews on a business?

Apart from the convincing statistics we discussed at the very beginning of the article that 98% of customers read online reviews and 97% admit that online reviews actually influence their purchase decisions Google reviews can positively impact your business in another way - by ranking higher in the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and/ or being included in the Google 3-pack. But what’s that ‘Google 3-pack’? Essentially, the Google 3-Pack is considered the "Google Recommendations." The list holds the number 1 position in 93% of all Google searches, and each GMB profile included on the list gets 44-61% of total clicks of the entire Google search. Thus, the three local businesses are likelier to get the highest conversion rates from online searches among their competitors. Most Google 3-Pack businesses achieve a whopping 44% clickthrough rates, which is almost twice as much as the businesses at organic rankings, which only get 29% clickthrough rates.

Getting more reviews (hopefully positive) and responding to them professionally are some of the ways that you could increase the chances of your business showing up at the top of the SERP and being included in the Google 3-pack.

Google Local 3-Pack for Paris hotels.

Make sure to follow this link to learn everything you need to know about Ranking on Google 3-Pack: Strategies to Help You Succeed.

What are the benefits of ranking first on Google relative to other review sites?

Google reviews are an incredibly valuable resource for businesses and small businesses in particular. Since Google is the most popular search engine, it's logical to focus on Google reviews in order to establish a positive reputation and enhance visibility. Google reviews can be viewed by anyone searching for local business such as restaurants and thus providing small, independent businesses with an opportunity to rank high on the search engine even if they lack a significant following or marketing presence.

For instance, someone who is in the mood for Vietnamese cuisine can input "burger bar" into Google and find the top-rated Vietnamese restaurants in their vicinity based on the number and quality of reviews. By receiving favorable reviews from customers, restaurants, as well as other businesses, can ensure that they show up at the top of search results and attract more patrons. Additionally, potential customers can gain an authentic perspective on a businesses before deciding whether or not to take their business there.

Check out our article on how to Rank #1 with Google Restaurant Reviews where we provide actionable tips and strategies to rank your restaurant or any business at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Final thoughts

Getting Google Reviews from customers can be challenging, but it’s a fool-proof way to increase your Google searchability and, thus, your sales. To fully optimize your review process, it’s best to get an AI review reply generator, so you can focus your time on sourcing more reviews and improving your business for your customers. Register for FREE to experience MARA today.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Google Review algorithm?

The general concept behind Google Review algorithm is to ensure that Google searches provide accurate, relevant, and high-quality content for users. To beat Google’s algorithm, it’s best to update your business information for accuracy, encourage customers to post reviews for relevance, and optimize content for viewers.

How can I improve my Google Reviews?

Here are some ways to improve your Google reviews: - Share your Google review link with customers - Encourage on-site customers to leave a review - Ask for reviews on social media - Use Google reviews as a part of your feedback process - Respond to your existing Google reviews

How many Google Reviews do I need to get 5 stars?

Your Google rating is the average of all ratings published on your profile. Google doesn’t have a minimum number of reviews to get a 5 star rating, so you can get a 5 star rating with just 2-3 5 star reviews.

What is a good Google Review score?

Profiles with at least a 4.5 star rating tend to have better visibility in relevant Google searches.

Why are my Google Reviews not increasing?

Make sure that you’re sharing the right Google Reviews link with your customers. Also, note that it usually takes 2 weeks for your updated rating to reflect on your profile. If you have evidence of missing reviews, you can contact Google support.

Our AI Review Reply Assistant
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