Why you need to cultivate Google Reviews

Did you know that

  • 66% of consumers consider online reviews an essential part of the decision-making process?
  • 78% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust the recommendation of a friend?
  • 80% of consumers say they only trust businesses with a four-star average or higher?

Furthermore, the quantity and quality of your reviews help determine if you will appear on page 1 in a Google search result.

 

Social proof
Google reviews are descriptions of what it’s like to work with you from people who have had first-hand experience with your business. It doesn’t get more authentic than that!

Google will not remove negative reviews unless they contain hate speech, threaten violence, or otherwise cross one of several legal thresholds Google and other online platforms adhere to. No matter how biased, inaccurate, or unfair the claim, Google will display it. As a consumer, that’s reassuring. (As the recipient of the review, it’s disquieting. But since you can’t remove them, you need to cultivate so many positive reviews that the negative reviews get buried and diluted.)

If they Google you, they will see your reviews
Reviews are displayed on the right-hand side of a Google search result in what is known as the “Google My Business” page. Before they even get to your website, searchers will see your reviews.

Many people are making the decision to call simply based on reviews
Analytics trends are showing that increasing numbers of consumers call straight from the Google My Business page—tap the Call button—without ever going to the company website.

94% of consumers say that a negative review has convinced them to avoid a business.
Scary as that sounds, people will put negative reviews in context. If you have one 2-star review and thirty 4- and 5-star reviews, that’s different than a 2-star review and only three 5-star reviews. Having no reviews is considered only slightly better than having bad ones.

Your reviews affect where you appear in a search result
Google’s job is to deliver the “best” answer to a search. That means they are looking not only for matches in terms of relevance to the key words being searched, but also best likelihood of a positive experience for the searcher. According to analytics experts, Moz, 9% of organic placement depends on your reviews (quantity, quality, diversity, likely authenticity …).

You may appear in the “Map Pack”
Have you noticed that Google reserves the first three to four spots for paid ads? Then there is the Map that lists three businesses and shows their reviews. As a local business, you want to show up in the Map Pack. It’s a no-cost way to achieve page 1 ranking, and inclusion in the Map Pack is highly influenced by Google reviews.

85% of consumers do not trust reviews that were written more than three months ago.
If all the above reasons have not convinced you, this one should make it clear. You need to have a system in place to regularly ask for reviews so you can keep perceptions fresh.

What if your business is brand new?

You may not have the base of past clients that your competitors do, but that doesn’t mean you are locked out of getting reviews. There are definite do’s and don’ts in Google’s world—for instance, you cannot ask employees to review you. Nor can you pay or offer incentives for reviews. Still, you would be surprised how easy it is to get referrers and vendors to write a review and prime the pump. But be careful. You don’t want a flood of reviews and then nothing. Google likes a consistent trickle. More likely to be authentic reviews.

Display your reviews on your website
Google reviews are advertising gold. You literally could not pay for this kind of credibility.

Most eldercare providers have a Testimonials page. The problem is that jaded consumers realize you can pick and choose what thank you cards you decide to display on your page (or even make them up!). They know you would not put up a mediocre communication, let alone a complaint. 

By showing your average Google star rating, or better yet, importing your reviews from Google, people feel like they truly are getting a candid view of what it’s like to work with you. (As an aside, I would put a filter on to show only minimum four-star reviews and only those with text. Maybe three-star. You don’t need to trumpet any disgruntled clients on your website—family members in guardianship cases are notorious for giving bad reviews. But showing those that are less than perfect also adds credibility. There will be some viewers who are suspicious if you only display five-star reviews.)

Want help setting up a system to display, track, and request reviews?
Hospice, home care, and care management practices have unique needs and restrictions when it comes to requesting reviews. We provide templates, a training session, and filtered displays of Google Reviews to clients who use our Web resources. Let us help you take advantage of this free Google advertising. Find out more about our Google Services, or contact us at helpyougrow@elderpagesonline.com or call 707-477-0700 (Pacific time).