People are using Google Maps more than ever before to provide them with important information about their favorite local businesses.  

In fact, Google Maps has 154.4 million monthly users and is the most popular navigation app in the US alone!

Not only has Google Maps update changed the way reviews are seen, but it may also change the way you use Google Business Profile.

For example, if you were to look up “bakeries near me”, the marker would show the rating of every bakery nearby that’s registered to show on Google Maps.

Similar to this: 

Image of My Little CupCake Google Business Profile Review

With that said, let’s explore why you need business reviews and how to update your Google Business Profile to display your reviews on Google Maps:

How Do You Make Google Business Profile Display Reviews?

Once your Google Business Profile (formally known as Google My Business) is verified, you can submit the location of your business and it will display your reviews of your business on Google Maps

Here’s how you can verify your business using Google Maps:

  1. Make sure you’re signed in to your Google account
  2. Open Google Maps on your desktop, iPhone, or android phone
  3. Enter your business name in the search bar
  4. Click your business’s name
  5. Click “claim this business” or click “manage now”
  6. To pick a different business click on, “I own or manage another business”
  7. Select your verification option and follow the on-screen steps 

There are three different ways to add your business:

  1. Enter your address in the search bar. On the left, in “Business Profile,” click “add your business.”Image of Google Map
  2.  Right-click or tap on the map at the top-left corner. Then click “Add your business”Image of a Google Business Profile with reviews
  3. At the bottom of the menu click “Add your business.”

Image of Google Maps Add your business

It is also vital to make sure that you fill out all of the information that Google asks you about your business. 

As a reminder, local residents who search for your business in the Google Maps app  will now see ratings along with the location marker. 

Does Google Reviews on Google Maps Affect Local SEO?

The short answer is yes. Google reviews do help improve search rankings.

Google states, “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location.”

While many factors are involved in search rankings, online customer reviews can be a strong signal to search engines that your website is trustworthy and authoritative. 

Because local searches contribute 22.6% of website traffic, there are huge opportunities for your local audience to see your business when searching for local brands near them.

In fact, a staggering 94% of consumers say a bad review has convinced them to avoid a business.

With that mentioned, owner responses can be a great way to start a positive two-way conversation about your business with your customers. 

Positive Google Business Profile customer reviews can also be beneficial for SEO. 

Additionally, Moz has previously described responding to online reviews as a chance for public relations on social media that can influence your business listing on the SERPs. 

Here are a few ways to ask for a Google business review: 

  • Make it easy with a link
  • Personalize your message but keep it short
  • Ask your customer to write a review after a purchase is completed
  • Mention it on social media
  • Include your review link in weekly newsletters 

Considering how this update can benefit you as a business owner and attract new potential customers, you should motivate your existing customers to leave a positive review if they enjoyed your service.

How to Reply to a Google Maps Review

As a business owner, you can’t change or delete a review, but your customer can do it if they want to. 

Most customers will feel motivated to change the review for a more positive one if they had a negative experience but were attended to promptly by your customer service team.

To reply to a review, follow these steps:

First, you need to verify your Google Business profile. If you haven’t verified it yet, follow the steps described here to do it. 

When on your desktop, open the Google Maps app

  1. You can reply to reviews from either Google Search or the Google Maps app
  2. If using Google Maps, tap your Account Circle and select Your Business Profile.
  3. If using Google Search, type in your business name in the search bar directly.
  4. Click on Reviews. 
  5. You’ll see all of the reviews and their star rating in a chronological list. Select the review you’d like to reply to and type in your answer. 
  6. Click Reply.

Negative reviews will lower your star rating, but they can be turned into a net positive if you assist the customer promptly.

Take note of their negative experience and avoid making your reply personal or about the customer. 

If there’s an issue that can be solved by email or phone, provide the customer with your contact lines in the reply and help them solve the matter. Google also recommends signing off with your name or initials to make your reply come off as authentic.

An updated review will show upcoming customers that your business cares about their clients’ experience and improving it even after a negative experience. 

Quick note: replies might not show up on Google immediately. 

The good thing is that the reviewer will get a notification the instant you reply to their review, meaning they can update it as soon as they read your reply.

Rules for Google reviews

For your customers to add ratings on reviews, they also have to follow Google’s content policy and review policy.  

Reviews might be removed from their page for policy violations like inappropriate content or spam, and these reviews aren’t reinstated. 

Google doesn’t allow anonymous reviews, so user information will be disclosed to the public. 

Your Online Reputation Matters For SEO

Google Maps’ most straightforward benefit is helping users find your business location. Now, visitors will find out the ratings of each nearby business that matches their search query to better understand which one to choose.

If business ratings were important in the past, now they are a necessary component to keep updated for SEO.

Not only will positive ratings increase your business’ visibility, they’ll also serve as a reference for customers nearby searching on Google Maps.

The HOTH offers a ton of free SEO tools and resources

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