Do Google Reviews Matter for Small Businesses?

As the owner of a small business, you may ask yourself, “Do Google reviews matter?”. Well, let’s face it — in this day and age, Google is very often the first point of contact between a prospective new customer and a business. If you want to find a business nearby, if you’re planning an upcoming trip, or if you need to look-up a forgotten phone number — we all type keywords into Google to help us find what we want to know. “Googling” has completely changed the way consumers get the information they need.

Google’s own reviews feature, which allows users to write reviews about a business directly on that business’ Google or Google Maps listing, is favored by the search engine and shows-up on every relevant search result. If your small business wants to have a good Internet presence, one of the best places to start is by getting more Google reviews.

Why Should I Care About Google Reviews?

The single most important reason that you should care about Google reviews as a local businessperson is that Google has decided they are important, and they’re most likely here to stay.

As you can see from the example below, if I do a simple search for “florists” in my hometown of Stamford, Connecticut, the florists with Google reviews appear far more prominently in the results than those without:

Are Google Reviews Important?

How to Get (and Manage) Google Reviews for Your Business

OK, so you’re committed to improving your Internet presence and you recognize that reviews are important. Now, how do you go about getting (and managing) reviews? Here are the two most important points to know:

  1. Ask your customers for feedback and encourage them to share their thoughts online. A follow-up email to a new customer which includes a link to your Google+ Business page is a good way to let customers know that you value their input.
  2. Monitor comments that are made online about your business and respond to any that are negative. Remember, there is nothing wrong with an occasional negative review provided that you respond professionally and use the comment to improve your service offering.

Google has demonstrated that online reviews matter, so it’s a good idea to have procedures in place that help ensure you’re getting reviews and that you’re listening to them!