by Chalcey Klein Fenton

In the competitive online business landscape, leveraging Google Reviews can be a game-changer for enhancing search visibility and attracting more customers. At Dream Team Media, we understand the significance of providing our clients with top-notch Google Review Monitoring Services. Recently, our team member, Chalcey Fenton, gained valuable insights into Google’s Review Management strategies and updates through a webinar hosted by Kenect. Here’s what we learned and how you can make the most of it:

Google Reviews Bring in Customers

When customers are searching to find a business online, more often than not, it’s not your business website they are researching. Customers rely on Google when finding a business and will go to your Google page 50x more often than your website! If you don’t have a Google Business Profile, it’s time to start thinking about one.

Number of Reviews Don’t Matter, or Do They?

A whopping 97% of customers will look up your business on Google to specifically see what other people have experienced with your business. They want the good, the bad, and the ugly when deciding to use your services or move on to the next business. They focus most of their attention on the top three listed companies, where 98% of their clicks will be. Google ranks businesses by their ratings and reviews. As a business, you want each customer to leave a review, and those reviews should be positive! Be sure to verify your business. Verified businesses appear 2x more reputable to those customers looking over your reviews.

Respond To Every Single Review

Customers want to feel important and that their business is appreciated. When they leave a glowing review, your team should respond and thank them 100% of the time. If their review is far from the five stars you hoped for, it’s crucial to reply to those reviews, letting them know their concerns are important to you and offering a way for them to reach out for a solution. A response that demonstrates professionalism may change their rating for your business. It will undoubtedly influence a would-be customer reading the less-than-stellar reviews.

The Proof Is In the Numbers

Your goal as a business is to have, at the very least, 50 reviews. Customers want to see what others have to say about your business. Ideally, your company should have 150+ reviews. How can you encourage your customers to leave a review? Long gone are the days of emailing them and requesting one. Only 1-2% will read your email and leave a review. Today, customers prefer the simplicity of text communication, and nearly half of all customers will leave you a review if you text them requesting one. It’s also a great way to address any complaints or concerns, which can help them rate you higher when they leave a review. Reviews are a great source of qualitative data for your business, and Google factors review activity into your profile’s visibility.

Staying On Top of Google Changes

Businesses must stay on top of the ever-changing digital environment for customers to consider them for business. Here are some changes Google introduced recently or are about to introduce:

  • 2024 Q1 Changes: Google began prioritizing businesses with more operating hours and will change business rankings based on when they are open. Also, if you have a website made with Google Business Profile, it has been turned off, and your customers will only be redirected to your Business Profile until June 10, 2024. After that, customers will get a “Page not found” error when visiting your website.
  • 2024 Q2 changes: Google shows a new label. “areas served.” In addition, Google will restore positive reviews that were accidentally deleted. Restoration is done through the automated review moderation process over a few weeks. If a positive review still hasn’t been restored, they do have a form you can fill out. Google has also added a function to request a quote and chat with a live agent. Regarding review responses discussed earlier in this article, Google added ratings for punctuality, quality, and responsiveness to business profiles.
  • 2024 Q3 Changes: As the use of AI grows in general, you can expect to see Google incorporating AI in Google Profiles. Google may use AI-enhanced versions of photos that you have shared to your profile to provide a preview of your business to searchers. Google prioritizes eye-catching, good-quality photos, which should include a storefront image. Google will also use AI to take your business description and suggest a different one, which you can accept or dismiss.

How We Can Help

Google remains the most popular search engine globally, and Google Business Profile creation and maintenance is free. More and more customer searches are geographically specific. You can attract more customers by taking advantage of this free business listing. Our team can help you dominate local search and Google by making it easier for customers to find your business, maintain your profile content, respond to Google reviews, and keep your business up-to-date on profile changes.