Getting Google reviews is important for your business, but it’s only half the battle. 

If you want your Google My Business page to show up high on Google, its reviews must be recent, vast in number and high in quality. It’s not just that, though. In order to satisfy both the back-end of Google’s ever-elusive algorithm and your perception to prospective clients, you need to reply to your reviews.

You need to respond to any and all negative reviews and you should engage with positive ones, too. 

Why reply at all?

If for no other reason mentioned in this blog post, reply to reviews for SEO purposes. 

Want to show up on a list like this? You have to reply to your Google reviews. SEO is a complicated game, but the site has bots that crawl through your business profile to see how many of their boxes you tick.

Do I need to reply to positive Google reviews?

Yes, mostly. It’s critical to show that you’re not only active, but hearing what your customers are saying and responsive to feedback. From a client’s perspective, just being acknowledged can go a long way. And that, in turn, goes a long way to getting referrals from those clients.

According to a Cornell survey, “showing [consumers] that you are listening by responding to reviews (particularly negative reviews) has a favorable effect on review scores and revenue.”

It doesn’t have to be anything mesmerizing, but address the person by name and thank them for their positivity. Add a personal touch or respond to a specific point made to prove it isn’t a generic reply, too.

What about negative Google reviews?

Even more important, replying to negative reviews tells passersby you’re working on your mistakes, taking your job seriously and taking accountability if necessary. This can go a long way in both establishing credibility and quelling viewers’ worries. We’re all familiar with the one-off reviewer who had a bad day and submitted a one-star review for no good reason — replying here is vital.

According to ReviewTracker, consumers expect brands to reply to reviews “and are disappointed” when they don’t, especially regarding negative reviews. Imagine a prospect sees that a frustrated client’s issue was never addressed or resolved — that prospect will likely think you ignore problems or don’t take them seriously. Answer with care, however, and most prospects will value your reasoned approach. 

Okay, I’m happy to reply, but what do I say?

In response to good reviews, keep it simple. Reciprocate the positivity, be personable, add some flair if you like and address the person by name, as previously mentioned. You should like wordless reviews, so as to not overdo it, but reply to any reviewers who sends a written review. Especially for real estate agents, it’s important to show you have good rapport with the client. Make prospects want to work with you.

For negative reviews, there’s a bit more to it. Before you do anything, read the review and internalize it. Do NOT reply immediately; the last thing you want to do is publish an impulsive, bellicose response. You may think that’s the best way to salvage your legitimacy, but it backfires 10 times out of 10. Eschew being emotional at all costs, no matter how inaccurate/unfair you think the review is. 

When you respond, you must, must, must be positive and cordial no matter what. Remember: Prospects will see this. Try your best to put yourself in their shoes; empathize as best you can. Also, the more you can keep your cool, the better it’ll look to others. The way you reply to negative reviews is a telling data point for consumers.

There are only three necessities in your response: 

  1. Apologize for the experience they had. 
  2. Thank them for bringing the issue to the fore. 
  3. Offer solutions. Especially if it’s an easy issue to fix, make sure you include the solution and reply specifically to the issue raised in the original review. 

That’s it. Keep it short and sweet.

Within what timeframe should I reply to reviews?

Within 24 hours.

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