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How To Respond To Google Reviews: Especially The Bad Ones

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How To Respond To Google Reviews: Especially The Bad Ones

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to respond to Google Reviews to maximize your SEO results for your small business. It goes without saying that your online reviews matter. And what you write when responding to reviews is a big deal.

Like, a lot. Like, a lot alot.

With 97% of consumers reading business reviews, it’s one of the main focuses when you want to get better SEO results for your business.

Google search engines are looking to see your business Expertise, your business Authority, and your business Trustworthiness. In SEO world, we consider this the “EAT” factor.

And one way that Google figures this out is through the content of your website, as well as your reviews.

We suggest adding a link to your Google Business profile on your website, in your newsletters, and on various social media posts. We also highly recommend personally asking your customers for a review after a positive transaction in your store. If you had a patient you recently helped feel better, kindly ask them to leave you a Google review if they would like to support your small business. You’d be surprised, people really do want to help small businesses grow.

Now, places like Yelp discourage this kind of thing. They don’t want you soliciting your reviews. However, you can be discerning about who you ask to leave you review, and I encourage every business owner to make this a part of their staff training, and a daily part of their checkout practice.

Also – don’t get dismayed by bad reviews. Really, really. I know it can kinda bruise the ego and dampen the mood, but negative reviews are a golden opportunity if addressed well. But can become a nightmare if ignored. So, take a deep breath, lift your chin, and reply right back to those 1 and 2-star reviews like a boss.

When you get a negative review, respond as soon as you can, ideally within 24 hours. Acknowledge the issue, thank them for leaving you this feedback, apologize that they didn’t have a 5-star experience, and offer them an incentive to win their business back.

I will leave some examples of reviews from clients that did a bang-up job of this, along with other examples. When people are shopping around the internet and see that you are responsive to both positive and negative reviews, it shows your future customers that you care about your business and your customers experience.

Replying to reviews is also a great opportunity to inform the public of upcoming events and specials.

Here’s what we have found that actually works when it comes to how to reply to reviews on Google (especially the negative ones):

1. Reply as soon as you can. 

Like within 24-48 hours if you can. Really, the quicker the better. But don’t run with scissors.

2. Thank your reviewer.

Regardless if it’s a 1-star or 5-star review.

3. Mirror Back the customer’s feedback. 

If they mentioned your “fast service” or “friendly staff”, reflect back to them what you read: “Thank you for your comment on our staff! We’re grateful to work with some really cool, and down-to-earth people.” 

4. Piggy Back on the customer’s feedback. 

If they mentioned taking advantage of your weekly special, use your reply as an opportunity to drop some free advertising – “Thanks for checking out our Taco Tuesday! We’re going to be offering a Fajita Friday next month, we hope to see you there.”

5. Be genuine. 

And honest. But don’t kiss anybody’s butt. Keep in mind, people are going to be reading your review replies, and the more human you sound, the better. (Don’t even get me started on AI written content…)

6. Address negative reviews with class. 

It’s going to happen one day. A crappy 1 or 2-star review that will leave a Rorschach sized stain on your Google My Business or Yelp page. It happens to the best, because truly, we can’t satisfy eeeeeeeveryone (insert joke about pizza here). 

Responding to negative reviews aren’t much different than responding to positive reviews – you still want to follow steps 1-5 with a little extra about how you can make their experience better. 

6. Offer to have them call.

Or email you to discuss this further.

7. Include in your reply that you will be addressing the review with your whole staff. 

And actually address it with your staff to improve your customer’s experience.

Here are a few stellar examples from our actual clients: 

Sirena Bernal

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