Internet Marketing

How to Respond to Google Reviews

Responding To Google Reviews
How to respond to Google reviews is one of the most popular and commonly asked questions by business owners. Reviews that customers leave for your business on Google can dramatically affect whether they choose to use your services or your pick your competitor instead. Positive reviews make it easier to obtain new customers or clients because it gives you immediate credibility. When people have great things to say about their overall experience with your company, potential customers/clients are more inclined to pick you. They also help your business appear higher in the search results, allowing you to capture a larger percentage of the people who are searching for the products or services that you offer. Responding to Google Reviews is an important step that many business owners neglect. However, it can make a real difference in how your company is perceived online. This process is about more than just hitting the ‘Reply’ button and typing in whatever comes to mind. You need to have a well-planned strategy in place to address both positive and negative reviews. Responding in the right way can make a big difference in your online reputation. Responding to Google reviews the right way is important for your business and online reputation as well as your local SEO, so keep reading this blog for more insight on how to do it the right way.

1. How To Find Google My Business Reviews
The first step according to our SEO Experts is to check whether or not you have any reviews to reply to. Accessing Google Reviews for your business is a relatively straightforward process. Here are the steps that you need to follow:

  • Visit business.Google.com and log into your My Business account.
  • Click on the menu and choose the option that says ‘All Locations’
  • Next, to each of your business locations, there is a link that says ‘Manage Location’. Click on the link for the business that you want to manage.
  • Click on the ‘Reviews’ link on the following page. Then, click on the area where it says “Manage Reviews’.

That’s all there is to it. Once you are logged in and have navigated to the right place, all that is left to do is to begin evaluating your reviews.

2. Check All Of Your Google Reviews
You need to set aside time to read through all of your reviews, classifying each one as positive or negative. Chances are, most of the reviews will be positive. There may be a few, however, that are negative. Read the negative reviews closely, looking for any discrepancies or oddities that could indicate that they are fake. In today’s cutthroat business world, there are people out there who are willing to pay people to leave negative reviews for their competitors. There are also people out there who write negative reviews for fun. Identifying fake reviews is important. If you spot any that you know for a fact are fake, flag them. After that, you should have a combination of both positive and negative reviews left to respond to. In some cases, there may also be neutral reviews that are neither positive or negative. Determining how to respond to each review is an important part of maintaining your company’s reputation. Keep reading for some helpful tips on how to respond to Google reviews appropriately and addressing each situation.

3. Positive Review Responses
As long as you have been doing everything right with your business, you probably have a lot of positive reviews. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t just let these reviews sit unacknowledged. Instead, you need to go above and beyond to let the people who left the reviews know how much you appreciate their effort. Someone took the time out of their busy day to say something nice about your business. The last thing that you should do is ignore their comment. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Reply to positive reviews within a reasonable amount of time after they are left
  • Let the customer know how much you appreciate them leaving a good review
  • Speak from the heart – your authenticity will shine through

4. Responding To A Negative Review
Unfortunately, not all reviews are positive. Every business gets negative reviews at one point or another. These reviews can be difficult to read and can trigger a variety of emotional responses. No matter how they make you feel, however, you should never ignore them. Instead, you need to respond to the person who left the review to let them know that you take their concerns seriously. By responding, you can address any areas where your business fell short and can tell your side of the story. You also may be able to salvage your relationship with that particular customer. Here are the steps you should follow:

  • Let them know that you hear their concerns and that you are aware of the problem
  • If it was your fault, claim full responsibility for whatever happened and issue a heartfelt apology
  • Explain what went wrong
  • If necessary, offer compensation

It takes Work
Reputation Management on the Internet takes a lot of work and presents some unique challenges. However, it is an incredibly positive way to control how people see your business. Most people rely on reviews when deciding which companies they want to do business with. By responding thoughtfully to all of the positive and negative reviews that your company receives, you can have a say in how people perceive your business.

Internet Marketing

Finding A Good SEO Agency

Well done search engine optimisation, often called SEO for short, is designed to allow websites to show up in search results when people search for products and services rather than simply company names. The idea is that people looking for things online are able to find a business website without any prior knowledge of the business or its name. There are all manner of tricks and techniques which fall under SEO, but the good sustainable methods (also sometimes called “white hat SEO”) are based around the idea of making your website easier for search engine to read and understand, meaning they rank you higher in searches for appropriately relevant terms.

It is not uncommon to decide to outsource SEO to external marketing agencies and other companies, but there are far too many dodgy types out there who like to take companies seeking SEO – especially local and small businesses – for a very expensive ride. How then does one actually go about finding a good, honest and legitimate search engine marketer?

It is actually incredibly easy to find a decent SEO agency online. Go to a search engine like Google or Bing and type in “SEO agency.” Ignoring the paid ads at the top, whichever firm has landed at the top of the search results are what you want – they must be pretty good at SEO or their own website wouldn’t be so high in the natural listings!

To narrow things down a bit, you could try extending your search. Say you live in Essex and want a local agency – just type in “SEO agency Essex.” Or if your website is specialised and you want particular help with it you can add your industry or site type – “SEO tourism” or “SEO eCommerce” for example. This can be a great way to find niche SEO agencies who have specialist expertise in your field.

Sometimes SEO agencies (or at least people claiming to be SEO agencies) try to solicit companies by sending them emails or submitting contact forms with various enticements and offers. However if you see something like this come in then it is best to ignore it – if a company which supposedly specialises in search engine optimisation is reduced to spamming inboxes to get business rather than, say, doing SEO so their own website ranks highly and people can find them anyway, chances are they aren’t very good. The same is true of SEO services advertised on paid ads at the top of search engines or on banner ads on other websites. If their search marketing is any good, why are they having to pay for their placements?

Another thing to bear in mind is to steer well clear of any SEO agency that promises you “top position for x keywords” or something similar. Nearly all modern search engines used personalised searching, meaning that everyone sees websites in slightly different ranking positions depending on their personal search history. Absolute rankings are a thing of the past, any anyone claiming to deliver this kind of service is lying through their teeth. Modern SEO will use sustainable “white hat” techniques in order to bring useful traffic to your website, not use exploits and dodgy tricks, which will constantly get them slapped by search engine updates like Google’s infamous Panda and Penguin algorithm changes.

Once you’ve found an SEO company that looks mostly all right you’ll need to ask them some questions before you leap into their services. As well as the usual checks like existing client list and testimonials, it is a good idea to speak to someone directly on the phone or in person. Here are some good questions to ask them.

  1. Who does their search marketing work? Is it handled by in-house staff? Do they do any outsourcing, especially to foreign companies? A lot of agencies outsource to cheap link builders in Asia who tend to produce very low quality work that can have a negative impact on websites in the medium to long term.
  2. How often do they report, and what format do these reports take? Any professional SEO agency should be providing regular updates to all its clients, along with written reports detailing actions taken and progress made.
  3. What kind of skills and qualifications do they have? Take a look at their existing client lists for any recognisable big names, and see if they have anyone who is Analytics qualified. Some companies even use quality standards like ISO 9001 which is an excellent sign.
  4. What else do they do? A lot of these companies are primarily website designers who are resellers for outsourced SEO services to boost their profits. It is better to look for an online marketing specialist to ensure you get a good quality service.

If you don’t have the money to hire a¬†professional SEO agency¬†there are other options available. Some companies will let you pay for a one off website review to make recommendations on how to improve your site from a search marketing perspective, or you could research current techniques and ideas to do SEO for yourself.

Many online marketing methods are in fact startlingly simple. Boost your domain authority by getting other relevant sites to link back to yours. Get a backlinks boost as well as general marketing benefit by using social media like Facebook. Keep your website full of regularly updated and good quality content to encourage people to link to you as well as grow the site’s visibility and importance. Use a good, solid SEO plugin for your content management system, and make sure your website’s code is error free.

Remember you’ll get a natural boost from modern search engines if your website is

  • Well designed, easy to use and nice to look at
  • Full of good, up to date and useful content designed for real people, not search engine robots
  • Free of errors, fast loading and devoid of spammy ads or buggy code

Happy website marketing, everyone!