Reviews and ratings can make or break a business.
And if you have just launched a business page and are new to the world of review management, wondering what is a good review rating—and the best overall rating you can have—is worth giving some thought.
It’s an important question in fact because the real answer is not as definitive or straightforward as most people would initially think.
It’s worth clarifying that “rating” can refer to the rating you receive in a review (review rating), as well as the average rating displayed on your business page (overall business rating/star rating).
For overall rating, “5 stars” is the automatic answer most people would come up with.
But while 5 stars is good—getting a 5-star review rating is “perfect” after all—there are more layers to the answer that you, as a business owner, need to know.
To put it simply, 5 stars isn’t always better - or even the best business rating for customers to see.
And this comprehensive guide on review ratings explains why.
What Do Star Ratings Mean?
Star ratings, like in other industries, are used on top review sites including Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
For quickly knowing whether something is good or bad, star ratings are easily understood without requiring much thought.
But for businesses receiving online reviews, what do these star ratings mean exactly from the customer’s perspective?
1 star: the customer is very dissatisfied, angry, or frustrated, with likely nothing positive to say about their experience
2 stars: the customer is dissatisfied, but may have liked something about their experience
3 stars: the customer is neither satisfied nor dissatisfied/had a mixed experience and is therefore unsure
4 stars: the customer is satisfied, but may have disliked something about their experience
5 stars: the customer is very satisfied, with likely nothing negative to say about their experience
5-star reviews are obviously the desired result here. And in general, you want to avoid receiving 3 stars and below.
As for the total star rating a business has on its review page, it goes without saying that 1 or 2 stars indicates poor service. 4 or 5 stars is positive, while 3 stars is mixed.
Still, a perfect 5-star rating, as mentioned above, isn't always better.
Can Star Ratings Be Trusted?
Generally, yes - star ratings can be trusted. However, it is not uncommon for a star rating to be tainted/manipulated by fake reviews.
And fake reviews, of which there are different kinds, can work both ways to improve or harm a business’s rating.
A business’s star rating can be lower than what is “accurate” or “true” due to fake reviews intending to harm that business’s online reputation.
This might be done by a competitor, customer, or non-customer. Needless to say, this is unethical.
A business’s star rating can be higher than what is accurate or true due to purchased customer reviews, purchased bot/AI reviews, incentivized reviews, and reviews made by family members or friends (of the business owner).
Besides that, perfect 5-star reviews and perfect 5-star ratings—fake or not—can look suspicious to savvy consumers - therefore reducing how much a customer will decide to trust a business.
Having A 5-Star Rating Isn’t Always Ideal
This is where we come to the heart of the question.
As mentioned, perfect 5-star business ratings are not always ideal since it can arouse a customer’s suspicion as being too good to be true.
Sure, new businesses may have a 5-star rating to begin with.
And as long as the 5-star reviews behind that rating are genuine, there is nothing wrong with that.
For businesses with generally more reviews, however (for example, a double-figure number or more), a perfect 5-star rating can be a red flag suggesting fake reviews.
As a result, having an approximate 4.5-star business page rating is the sweet spot for businesses - and that isn’t just our opinion.
Eight out of 10 customers trust 4-, 4.5-, and 5-star ratings (although are more skeptical of 5 stars).
In addition, the likelihood of purchase peaks at a star rating of 4.0 to 4.7, decreasing as the rating gets closer to 5.
So, 4 stars indicates good service and trustworthiness underlined with a layer of authenticity.
No well-established business has a perfect 5-star rating - and customers are not looking for or expecting to see that.
Overall, as long as the average rating, and the customer reviews behind that rating, are largely positive (4 stars and above), this is more than enough for the customer to place their trust in a business.
How To Improve Business Rating
A bad business rating will turn off customers, harm SEO, and, as a result, negatively impact business.
You might be tempted to delete your business page and start again.
You might also be tempted to consider any means necessary to remove bad reviews with the hope to improve your rating.
The truth is that neither of these will work. Deleting your Google Business Profile does not remove reviews from the public eye.
Reporting or flagging (genuine) negative reviews to get them removed is typically ineffective, and trying to persuade a customer to remove their negative review can work against you.
So what is the solution? The solution is to work on improving your rating over time.
And the only way to do this is to improve your service and employ a strategy that can help your business to get more positive reviews.
Does The Number Of Reviews Matter?
One thing yet to be touched on is the number of reviews behind a business rating.
A business might have a 4.5-star rating, but if there are only five reviews behind that rating, it’s not going to be that effective in earning customers’ trust.
It makes sense because it’s a matter of endorsement.
And the more customers you have endorsing your business, the more authoritative and trustworthy it’s going to be to prospective customers.
In fact, when it comes to online reviews, quantity and quality are important. A 4-star rating from 100 reviews is better than a 5-star rating from 10 reviews.
Why? Because it shows endorsement on a larger scale; more customers are using that service and, at the same time, giving it praise.
So, your goal as a business owner shouldn’t be just to receive positive 4- or 5-star reviews - but to get more reviews on the whole.
Reputationstacker - Start Improving Your Rating
The final answer to the question? A good business star rating is between 4 to 4.7 stars with a high number of 4- and 5-star customer reviews to back it up.
Now that you have a goal, how do you achieve it?
Of course, to achieve a better rating you should aim to constantly improve your service.
After all, good customer service leads to happy customers who are more likely to leave you a positive review.
Moreover, you also need to encourage your customers to leave you an online review.
We know: due to time, effort, and energy required, it’s easier said than done.
For businesses using ReputationStacker, however, it doesn’t have to be.
ReputationStacker is the tool you need to streamline the review process for your customers, as this will encourage them to post reviews.
But that’s not all ReputationStacker can do, as it will also help your business to boost its star rating across multiple review sites.
Getting 4- or 5-star review ratings really doesn’t have to be the slow and difficult process it’s made out to be.
By joining the thousands of businesses using ReputationStacker, you’ll be receiving more highly rated customer reviews, quickly improving your star rating in the process.
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.