These days, with almost every business—your dentist, your car dealership, your favorite taco stand—asking you to leave an online review and rate your recent customer experience, you might feel a bit jaded about online reviews. But take off that customer cap for a moment and think strategically. It’s not hard to see that online reviews—especially Google reviews—can have a profound effect on your business.

What might not be obvious, however, are the many different ways in which cultivating positive Google reviews can contribute to your overall marketing effort.

Transparency > Hype

Today, authenticity reigns supreme, and Google reviews offer a refreshing dose of reality, giving potential customers a peek into your business. Customers simply share their honest thoughts without downloading any apps, and this levels the playing field. Every business, regardless of its marketing budget, has an equal opportunity to shine. Even negative reviews—assuming there aren’t too many—provide a meaningful chance to offer the audience a glimpse into how you treat customers and respond to problems. A negative review, then, becomes an occasion for your business to demonstrate and enact its values.

Customer Feedback & Intelligence

Google reviews aren’t a one-way street. For customers, they’re an opportunity to speak their mind. For your business, these reviews are a goldmine of customer feedback and intelligence. Think of each review as a valuable survey response, shedding light on what your business does right and where it might need improvement. By monitoring and responding to reviews, you can refine your processes and enhance the customer experience.

Building Credibility Without Spending a Dime

If your marketing budget has taken a temporary dive, Google reviews can elevate your business’s credibility without requiring huge amounts of time or money. Online reviews offer tangible benefits, such as boosting your local SEO rankings, which—again, over time—can help your business better compete with larger competitors. People like supporting businesses that matter to them. Show them why your business deserves time in the spotlight.

The Power of Influence

Google reviews also serve as a form of social proof to sway potential customers. When someone searches for a product or service, stumbling upon businesses with authentic customer reviews can nudge them toward conversion. According to a 2021 report from Whitespark, which draws insights from a survey conducted with 42 SEO experts, the number and quality of Google reviews help influence a user’s local search results.

Let’s try this: I’ll search for marketing near me carmel indiana. After the four sponsored (read: paid) results, the first hit in the Businesses section is (ta-da!) Rare Bird, Inc., the Midwest’s most trusted modern marketing company.

A closer look at the screenshot reveals that Rare Bird has 4.5 times as many Google reviews as the second business on the list, so it appears this assertion is true: The algorithm rewards businesses that have received a higher number of reviews—and higher-rated reviews, usually—compared to similar businesses in the local search area.

Increased Click-Through Rates & Conversions

As you can see, when your business appears in the search results, your Google review rating appears alongside it. A collection of positive ratings can significantly boost click-through rates, guiding more visitors to your website. Nearly 9 out of 10 consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. What’s more, a staggering 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more. These statistics underscore the immense impact that Google reviews can have on brand trust and customer perception.

Starting Your Google Review Journey

Feeling inspired to dive into the world of Google reviews? Before you consider buying fake reviews—yep, that’s a thing—remember that authenticity is the whole point. If customers can easily spot phony reviews, so can search engines. Stick to ethical methods like asking customers to review your business. The long-term benefits far outweigh any shortcuts.

While Google reviews are the heavyweight champion of online reviews, other platforms—Yelp, Facebook, and Amazon, among them—shouldn’t be overlooked, either, depending on your type of business.

The Bottom Line

Use Google business reviews to increase brand trust, enhance local SEO, and gain invaluable feedback and insights. It’s an easy and affordable way to invest in your business’s future success.

Bonus Content: The “How to Get More Google Reviews” Playlist

  • Track 1: “Favor” by Julien Baker—Encourage customers to leave reviews by framing it as a favor, not an obligation. Trust your customers and create a supportive atmosphere for them to show their appreciation.
  • Track 2: “Gimme One Reason” by Tracy Chapman—Give your customers a compelling reason to write a review. Let them know you care about their thoughts.
  • Track 3: “Thank You” by Dido—Express gratitude for their willingness to leave a review. Such gratitude can lead to improved customer service and build stronger relationships.
  • Track 4: “More Than Words” by Extreme—Craft a careful script when asking for customer reviews. Make the process simple, but don’t forget to add a touch of psychology to encourage customers to reciprocate the positivity.
  • Track 5: “Digital Love” by Daft Punk—Don’t shy away from using other elements of digital marketing to engage with customers. Consider emails, SMS outreach, and more.