Whether or not you are replying to your customer reviews on Google, something you have probably wondered about is if replying to Google reviews helps SEO.
Improving the SEO-friendliness of your business is the key to gaining more of an authoritative presence on Google.
There are many ways to improve search engine optimization for your business, and one of these is to get more Google reviews.
But the work doesn’t stop there. When reviews come in, should you be actively replying to customer reviews to improve SEO?
The answer is simple: yes, replying to Google reviews helps SEO. And the benefits of replying to reviews – and getting more reviews in general – go beyond improving SEO in more ways than you might think.
Replying To Google Reviews Helps Local SEO
Replying to reviews on Google helps search engine optimization. In fact, Google confirms this and even encourages businesses to reply to customer reviews on its Google Business Profile Help page, which reads:
“Respond to reviews that users leave about your business. When you reply to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and their feedback. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location.”
Since Google is also a business it wants to make sure that it provides users with the best information, and that includes the best businesses offering the best products or services its users are searching for.
So what does this mean?
By replying to Google reviews that your business receives, you increase the chance of ranking higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
This improves your business visibility and authority, resulting in more customer appeal, more traffic to your business, and more sales.
More Reasons Why You Should Reply To Reviews
Replying to reviews on Google to improve local SEO is not the only reason you should reply to reviews, as there are numerous benefits to how it can increase business success.
Aside from showing that your business values customers and their feedback, which Google recommends, replying to reviews shows your customers that you are approachable, authentic, trustworthy, and transparent to your customers.
In fact, 89% of consumers read replies to reviews. This percentage of consumers are also ‘highly’ or ‘fairly’ likely to use a business that responds to all its online reviews.
That’s a significant percentage of customers that not only read other customers’ reviews, but the replies made by the business.
So, the fact that a business replies to its reviews is a persuasive factor in the customer’s decision to use that business.
In addition, replying to reviews can help other customers make informed purchase decisions through the information that you provide.
Not only that, but your replies are an opportunity to showcase your brand values to customers, which can boost trust.
How To Reply To Customer Reviews
Just as important as replying to customer reviews is how you reply. Replying to reviews improves local SEO, but that doesn’t mean your replies should be brief or rushed.
Quick, short replies do not go against any guidelines. However, they are not effective and can even work against you as it can be indicative of a lack of care or appreciation, which customers may pick up on.
It’s far more beneficial to your business to reply to customer reviews with thought, care, and attention to detail. This shows that you value their feedback – positive or negative.
In general, replying to all customer reviews should be done to meet the following criteria:
There are a few other things to account for when responding to positive and negative reviews specifically, which are explained below.
How To Reply To A Positive Review
It might not seem as though you need to reply to a positive review since the customer is satisfied with the service they received. In other words, your business delivered on its promise.
However, making sure to reply to positive reviews shows that you not only appreciate the customer, but that you appreciate that they took the time to leave you a review.
After all, positive reviews are compliments and acknowledging compliments is a good practice.
Replying to positive reviews follows the same rule of thumb for responding to all reviews (listed above).
For positive reviews however, you can specifically thank the customer for choosing your business and mention that you hope to see them again.
To provide an example of how to reply to a positive review:
“Hi [first name],
Thank you for choosing us and being one of our valued customers. We are really glad that you enjoyed your [product/service] and are thankful for your kind words. Your feedback always helps us to improve our service.
We look forward to serving you again soon.
How To Reply To A Negative Review
Replying to negative reviews is essential for more reasons than one.
Not only should unhappy customers be acknowledged, but the act of acknowledging them says a lot about your business to other customers reading your reviews.
Like positive reviews, your responses to negative reviews should follow the general rules for replying to reviews listed above.
However, replying to negative reviews should specifically acknowledge the customer’s pain point, express an apology, and offer a solution.
And even though it is a negative review, you should still express that you value them as a customer and appreciate that they provided their feedback – no matter how unsatisfied or angry the customer appears to be.
So it’s important to take a “customer is always right” approach and not dispute their comments, disagree or show any hostility.
If you consider the negative review to be unfair, it is still better to handle any issues privately.
To provide an example of how to reply to a negative review:
“Hi [first name],
We are really sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your [product/service]. Please contact us at [email/number] and we will be more than happy to look into this for you and make things right.
We value all of our customers and always aim to provide the best service that we can, so thank you for your review as your feedback always helps us to improve.
How To Increase Google Reviews For Your Business
Replying to Google reviews to improve SEO and build trust and credibility among your customers is only as effective as the number of reviews you receive.
So, it makes sense that the more reviews you get, the more successful your business will be.
As most business owners know, getting reviews is a slow, inconsistent process – one that typically requires a strategy like putting in the time and effort to reach out and request reviews from customers.
Still, getting reviews is not always guaranteed.
But that doesn’t have to be the case if you have an automated system in place that streamlines and improves the review process for your customers and your business.
ReputationStacker is a system that works to increase the reviews you receive – not just on Google, but across numerous review sites – using an automated process that’s entirely hands-off.
Replying to Google reviews improves SEO – provided that you consistently get more reviews. It’s a struggle for most businesses, but not if your business uses ReputationStacker.
Ian Kirby has been working in digital marketing for over 15 years. Having worked both with and for digital marketing agencies and in-house with multiple companies, he has a specific interest and expertise in online reputation management, online reviews, and the implementation of business systems. Ian’s writing, videos, and interviews have garnered millions of reads, views, and listens.