How to respond to positive and negative google reviews

How to Respond to Positive and Negative Google Reviews (with Examples)

Marketing for Accounting Accounting Reviews and Reputation Management

Before we delve into how to respond to positive and negative Google Reviews, let’s revisit why it’s important to respond to Google reviews in the first place. Remember, Google is the world’s premier search engine with more users than ever reading Google reviews from search results.

Responding to Google Reviews is not only good business etiquette, it’s a chance to engage directly with your clients, improves local SEO, solidifies your online reputation, and ultimately converts clients.

How to Reply to Google Reviews

As a business owner with admin access to your Google Business Profile, you’re able to view and respond to customer reviews.

To respond to reviews, follow these four simple steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google Business listing at business.google.com

  2. Select “Reviews” from the left-hand navigation menu

  3. To respond to a review select “Reply”

  4. Type in your reply, then select “Post reply” (read this article in its entirety first!)

SEO Influencers

But before you run off to write love letters to your clients, it’s important to understand four key review metric that influence your SEO:

  • Quantity

  • Rating

  • Keywords

  • Content (diversity & frequency)

Quantity

“Less is more,” unless we are talking about accumulating Google reviews.

Of course your overall rating is a huge factor, however equal weight is attributed to review quantity. Increasing the number of reviews for your accounting practice should be a central component to your review strategy.

More reviews provide potential clients with ample data they need to make a decision on whether or not they will do business with your firm. If there aren’t enough reviews to read, prospective clients may walk away with the impression that you’re not doing business with enough people to obtain any feedback.

If you’re anxious about getting a negative review, don’t worry. A stockpile of fresh 5-star reviews will help mitigate the negative effects of getting an isolated negative review.

Here’s one way to get more reviews. According to a recent study conducted by Harvard Business Review, businesses that respond to reviews consistently, receive 12% more reviews.

Considering the stakes, more reviews, and responses, make up a winning conversion strategy.

Rating

It goes without saying, your overall business rating is at the helm of your google review profile, and you should be aiming for nothing less than a 4.8 star rating.

This will put you ahead of the pack, and possibly towards the top of the Google “Map Pack”. The Map Pack is a list of businesses near the location from where the search originates. It displays the name, address, phone number, total number of reviews, and average rating.

Keywords

Here is where your review responses can make a dramatic impact on SEO. By replying to client reviews, you have the opportunity to embed relevant keywords in your responses such as:

  • Business name

  • Location

  • Services

Take a look at the following two examples. Which one do you think has more SEO value?

Review Response 1

google-review-response-1

Review Response 2

google-review-response-2

Both replies are nice, but response #2 also provides Google with key information, including the accurate name of the business and a specific service. The client mentioned “Acme CPA”, however the actual business name is “Acme CPA & Associates”. Handling the response in this manner provides Google the proper firm name and specific service the practice offers.

Content

Updating your Google listings with fresh, relevant content lets Google know that you are essentially “taking care of business.” By responding to Google reviews, you are essentially doubling your Google listing activity.

By the way, be sure to hop right on it when a customer leaves a review. According to a Review Trackers Survey, 53% of consumers expect a business to reply to their review within seven days.

Best Practices for Responding to Google Reviews

Now that you understand the significance of responding to Google reviews, let’s get into the main event - writing effective replies to client reviews.

Let’s start by putting together some general rules of thumb when responding to a client review:

  • Ensure your reply is easy to read

  • Use professional language

  • Add a personal touch

  • Incorporate keywords

  • Avoid “canned” responses

  • Keep it conversational

Leveraging these tips will serve to appropriately thank the reviewer, boost your firm’s website ranking with Google, and entice prospective clients to engage with your accounting practice.

Best Practices for Responding to Positive Google Reviews

Be sure to respond to all positive reviews on your Google listing. A typical knee-jerk reaction is to respond only to negative reviews. After all, happy customers are not complaining about a problem that warrants a resolution right?

What most business owners don’t realize, is that Google favors reviews with business engagement. If you are only responding to negative reviews, you may be inadvertently pushing that content to the top of your page. It’s best practice to respond to all of your clients - happy and not so happy.

What to include when responding to positive reviews:

  • Incorporate keywords

  • Use the client’s first name

  • If a client mentions a particular service, repeat it in your response

  • Mention additional services you offer

  • Share business values

Example Response to a Positive Google Review:

google-positive-review-response

Why this response works:

  • Uses client’s first name

  • Reiterates a company value mentioned by the reviewer

  • Includes accurate name of the company

  • Mentions a specific service

  • Shows appreciation for effort

  • Makes reference to “holiday season” because the business answers reviews on a consistent basis

  • The phrase “earn your business” infers that you are humble

Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews

When responding to negative reviews, the #1 goal is to move the conversation offline. The worst thing you can do is engage in an online debate with the reviewer. Provide them with an option to resolve the situation via phone or email, then quickly follow-up with the client.

What to remember when responding to negative reviews:

  • Remain professional - avoid being defensive, emotional, or sarcastic.

  • Apologize for the client’s frustration only - focus on apologizing for the fact the client is unhappy and save addressing the issue for a phone call or email

  • Provide next steps - If appropriate, let the client know you plan to take immediate action. This will show prospective clients your willingness to make things right

Example Response to a Negative Google Review:

google-negative-review-response

Why this response works:

  • Acknowledges client’s frustration

  • Upholds this experience is unacceptable by the standards of the firm

  • Offers to address the reviewer’s concerns

Don't let any Google reviews go unanswered. If reviews pile up without any acknowledgement, countless clients are ignored, bad reviews remain online, and your the reputation of your firm is on the line. Give both positive and negative reviews the attention they deserve. Managing and responding to your Google reviews positively impacts your search rankings, customer experience and online reputation. Click here for instructions on reading and replying to Google reviews.

If you would like more information on how Build Your Firm can help to manage a customized Google Review campaign, contact us at 888-999-9800, ext 1, or email us at [email protected] to learn more about our accounting websites and marketing services for accountants.

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How to Respond to Positive and Negative Google Reviews (with Examples)
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Jennifer Altschuler, Brand Marketing Strategist

Jennifer is a Brand Marketing Strategist specializing in brand management with a 25+ year background in strategic planning, corporate identity, and brand asset development.