Reviews, referrals, and word-of-mouth testimonials have always been crucial elements of establishing, building up, and maintaining your business's overall reputation in its industry or niche. That being said, in the search-engine-and-review-platform-driven reality of today's marketplace, online reviews have become an integral currency without which businesses can quickly become swallowed up into the abyss of digital anonymity.
Consider the following statistics:
Such research underscores the tremendous significance of online reviews for your business. But how do you go about generating and managing online reviews? And how many reviews does your business really need in order to positively impact its revenue and growth?
At Rep.co, we field these types of questions from local businesses on a daily basis. Furthermore, as local business owners ourselves, we appreciate how demanding and time-consuming review generation and management can be. It's what motivated us to design the Rep.co platform in the first place and the reason why we're dedicated to supporting other local businesses in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the importance of review generation and management while also offering streamlined, automated, and customized solutions.
Below, we’ll explore Google (and other) reviews, consider the factors that impact how many your business needs, and offer some actionable tips for getting started. Let's dive in!
According to the 2022 BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey, Google is the number one most used and trusted review platform in the world, followed by Yelp and then Facebook. 87% of consumers turn to Google when seeking customer reviews, which effectively means that Google reviews are the gold standard no matter your business's niche (though other review platforms, especially industry-specific ones, should never be neglected or overlooked).
The benefits of positive Google reviews can be far-reaching and include the following:
If you're hoping for a magic answer to this question, there isn't one. That being said, gaining an awareness of the factors that impact how many reviews your business needs can help you be savvy about creating goals based on its unique profile. Let's take a closer look at some of these factors:
On average, local businesses have 39 Google reviews and a 4.42-star rating, but businesses appearing in Google's top 3 local positions have an average of 47 Google reviews. At Rep.co, our general advice to local business owners is the more positive reviews, the better. But let's break it down a little more:
When your business is just starting out, hitting the 5-review mark is a great goal, followed by heading into the double digits. Most customers read an average of between 1 and 6 reviews before deciding to make a purchase, so having more than that quantity of reviews available for potential customers to peruse is recommended best practice.
In very general terms, having 20-50 (mostly) positive and relatively recent online reviews offers a solid reputation foundation for most local businesses. With this number of reviews, consumers can usually feel confident that your business is dependable and legitimate.
Yes, on occasion, there can be such a thing as too many reviews—although it's not normally a major concern for local businesses. Having hundreds (or even thousands) of reviews can actually backfire and undermine your business's credibility. Potential customers may feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of feedback available or may be suspicious as to why they haven't heard more about your business if it's really so popular.
Google reviews contribute to your star rating (a rating out of 5 potential stars), which is one of the first indicators that potential customers see when your business appears in a Google search. Even one single review creates a star rating for your business, which is then modified over time as reviews accumulate and move your overall star rating higher or lower.
In order for reviews and Google star ratings to be associated with your business, you must add and claim your Google Business Profile (see more below).
While many business owners dream of a 5-star Google rating, such flawless ratings can actually sometimes backfire. As with massive quantities of reviews, perfect ratings can potentially put customers on alert. Unfortunately, fake reviews and ratings do exist online, and savvy customers often prefer a business with a realistically high rating (such as 4.7 stars) than the full 5 stars. (In other words, getting a few less-than-ideal reviews actually humanizes your business to potential customers.)
Google may be the most significant on the global review stage, but it's important for your business to cultivate a reputation on other review sites as well. Consider targeting review platforms specific to your niche or industry as well as Yelp and Facebook (which, as mentioned above, hold second and third place for the most-visited review sites after Google).
When setting goals for your ideal number of Yelp reviews, keep in mind their quality, the number of reviews your competitors have, and the age of your business.
With Facebook reviews, the number of reviews required will be partially determined by your goals. Businesses hoping to establish themselves will need larger quantities of current reviews, while businesses simply looking to maintain an already solid online reputation will require fewer.
Ready to jumpstart your online reputation management journey? Follow these 4 proven steps:
The first step to receiving Google reviews is to add, claim, and properly manage your Google Business Profile. While it's not hard to do, many businesses neglect this step and find themselves missing out. For more information about claiming and setting up your GBP, visit Google's support page on the topic.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but the most important element of generating positive customer reviews still comes down to the quality of the service and/or products that you provide. Give your customers something to rave about, and they'll find a means of doing so!
Rather than just assuming that satisfied customers will leave positive reviews, directly ask them to do so. There's no need to be shy about requesting feedback for a job well done. Send a text or email or ask for online feedback face-to-face or over the phone. If you're not your business's biggest advocate, no one else will be either!
When you finally start receiving reviews, respond to them professionally. Potential customers like to see that you are engaged with happy customers and how you resolve issues with dissatisfied ones. For more in-depth information on how to respond to negative reviews, see our full post on the topic.
At Rep.co, we understand that the prospect of tackling online reputation management can feel overwhelming and perpetually be shifted to the bottom of your to-do list. That's why we've created an all-in-one solution to support you!
With the Rep.co platform, you'll be able to customize and automate review generation, management, monitoring, reporting, and even white-label these services if you wish. Contact us today to learn more about how Rep.co can help you get ahead of your online reputation management and streamline the process to free up more time for your other priorities. We look forward to hearing from you!