84% of people trust an online review as much as they trust a friend’s review.

91% of people read reviews of something before they purchase the item or service.

You may already know that online reviews are important, but just how vital are 5 star Google reviews?

In this blog post, we’ll dissect why good Google reviews are essential and why they sway people’s opinions. But, if you do happen to get a review on Google that’s less than 5 stars, it isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it may be an opportunity to help your business look professional and well-organized.

Read on for more information about the benefits of 5 star Google reviews.

1. Positive Reviews Sway Customers More Than Words

According to a 2013 study from the University of Munich in Germany, 5 star Google reviews are often more important than anything anyone says about the product.

Their research found that what is often most important to a customer is that the product they’re purchasing has 5-star reviews. After that, they’ll read the reviews and see what people have to say before deciding to buy the product.

But, if a product has a slew of 1 or 2-star reviews with no other information, this can sway them negatively in terms of making a purchase.

The University of Munich found that company or product that had a mix of star reviews, but only positive written reviews would make customers less likely to buy the product. In essence, the stars are one of the most important things when it comes to purchasing power.

Of course, this can be frustrating if you’re someone who sells items via a third-party. This can mean that customers review the third-party’s service instead of your product. If, for example, the third-party took a long time to send out the item, an individual may then review that experience instead of the item.

Still, if there are lots of 1 or 2-star reviews due to this, people won’t bother to investigate.

That’s why you need to ensure that most of your reviews are four or five stars. Sure, a page with all 5 stars will look fishy, as not everyone is going to love every product. But you need to ensure that most of your reviews are in the higher range. If someone does give you a bad review, use it as an opportunity to fix the problem.

2. They Help Your Local SEO Rankings

If someone is searching for “a doughnut store near me” and your doughnut store near them is highly rated, it is more likely to come up as one of the first options. This is incredibly important, as people are often likely to make their on-the-spot decisions via something like Google’s recommendations.

The more trustworthy you look on Google, the more likely the doughnut seekers are going to make their way into your shop. This helps your local SEO ranking, meaning local customers are more likely to patronize your shop.

3. It Shows You’re Reliable and Consistent

According to a 2014 paper from the University of Texas at Arlington, a 5 star Google review shows you’re reliable. The paper stated that the adage “the customer is always right,” has now translated itself to the Internet. It does this by online reviews and customers being able to see what other customers think of their experience.

Consistent, 5-star reviews show that your company is one that people can rely on. They can order from you, trust their money with you and trust that they’ll receive quality, on-brand products again and again. This means the brand consistently delivers the products that the customers want.

4. 5 Star Google Reviews Entice People to Click on Your Website

While 5 star Google reviews increase local SEO for brick and mortar businesses, they also encourage readers to click on your website if your business is on the web exclusively. Not every business relies on, or even needs, local SEO. But, five star Google reviews can increase your visibility on the Internet.

For example, if someone is looking for shoes to order online, and your website comes up with a 5-star review for the specific shoes they’re looking for, a customer is more likely to click on your site. You want as many people as possible to look at your site because this increases the likelihood that a customer will purchase something from you.

5. They Increase Conversion Rates

The point of your business is to make sales. Of course, you want to have a high ranking website with high ranking SEO keywords, but the real victory is in the turnover.

The more likely it is that people find your site through keywords, the more likely it is they’ll click on your site. The more likely it is they click on your site, the more likely it is they’ll make a purchase.

Ultimately, sales are your goal as a business owner.

6. They Give You an Idea of Where You’re Going Right—And Where You’re Going Wrong

Up above, we gave the example of someone reviewing your third-party seller instead of reviewing your product or service. This may have dragged your review rating down, which understandably, may have frustrated you.

But don’t lose hope. It may simply mean that it’s a good idea to switch providers and use another company altogether to ship your items. The problem is solved, and then you can move on to more five-star reviews in which customers are satisfied.

A 5-star review is also an opportunity to get customer feedback. While some people may just click a star rating and not get specific about what they like about your product or service, others may. Perhaps your employee was really amazing and helpful with them. Perhaps they liked your generous return policy. Or, perhaps they liked the eclectic selection of items in your store.

No matter what it is they like–or dislike–this allows you to both improve and give credit where it is due. You can see what customers want you to continue doing, as well as reward staff who are going above and beyond—even when you’re not looking.

7. They Help You Connect with Customers

5-star reviews can help you connect with your customers. Not only do they give you valuable feedback, but they allow you to connect on a personal level.

For example, if Christine leaves a review on Google saying she loved the chocolate cake at your cafe, you can always reply to her. This makes her feel as though she’s not shouting into the void. It also makes her feel that her opinions matter to you–and that you appreciate that she’s a fan of your products.

This type of interaction means that customers will see that you care about their business and opinions. It can be easy to get caught up in merely trying to make a profit. While that’s an essential aspect of owning any business, making connections is also valuable.

Christine, your chocolate cake lover, will now be even more encouraged to return to your cafe. Not only will she love your chocolate cake, but she will also love the fact that you’re acknowledging her.

After, there is something to be said for a cafe where “everybody knows your name.”

8. Customers Perceive Reviews to Be More Reliable Than Marketing Materials

A study conducted by Texas A&M showed that customers in the travel industry felt that online reviews of hotels and other attractions were more reliable than marketing materials. Indeed, they may have a point.

For instance, if you’re trying to book a hotel room, the marketing pictures will always show the cleanest room in professional lighting. However, a traveler leaving a review on Google or any other site might leave their own snapshot from their phone. This snapshot can show what’s wrong, and what’s right with the room–and whether or not it matches up to the marketing picture.

Or, your attraction may claim to be the best family day out in a 50-mile radius. If someone leaves a review affirming this, this makes your claim look even more valid. It’s even better if several people leave a comment to the same effect. After all, they’re not being paid to say that they had a great day out with you and have no reason to say they did if they didn’t.

The Advantages of Negative Reviews

Believe it or not, negative reviews also have their advantages. Of course, most companies want an average of 4 or 4.5 and higher stars to show up on a Google search. That’s natural, and you should aim for that.

But, when you get a negative review, it doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up or get ready to close your doors. Instead, you can view it as an opportunity to show how well your company handles issues and dissenting opinions.

Using Negative Reviews as an Opportunity

As we mentioned above, your negative reviews are a great way to get an objective opinion on your product, services or staff. A negative review may give you insight into how your staff behaves if their supervisors aren’t watching them. Or, they may show you that a supplier you use is subpar.

Nobody starts out with a perfect business, and you’ll need to take that to heart.

Turning a Bad Review Into Good

But, one thing you can do is show your customers how professionally you respond to negative reviews and that you do value their opinions. Much like Christine with the positive review of the chocolate cake, you should respond to negative reviews professionally. In fact, the more you respond to negative reviews, the better your company will look.

For example, say someone leaves a negative review saying they had a bad day at your attraction because a staff member was rude and something they wanted to see was closed that day. Instead of brushing it off, you’ll want to let them know you heard them.

You should write them back, letting them know that you’re investigating the incident with the staff member and will take action if needed. Additionally, you may apologize for the fact that the area they wanted to see was closed. It may be helpful to acknowledge that this was posted on the website, or somewhere very visible so visitors know you had already taken the precaution to avoid disappointment.

However, if you did not take precautions to let the public know that the area was closed, you may wish to offer the individual a free or discounted ticket for a later date. You should also include information about when the exhibit or area will be open again so that they know when to enjoy it.

After dealing with the incident in such a public manner, potential visitors will see that you hear their complaints and take them seriously. They see you value their opinions, and worked to change a wrong into a right. This can help build trust with future patrons and makes your company look responsible and professional.

Your Five-Star Google Reviews

As we mentioned throughout this article, 5-star Google reviews are incredibly important. They help elevate your SEO, make your business look more professional and show customers that you value their business. They’re an invaluable tool in today’s face-paced Internet world, and you should strive to have as many positive reviews as possible.

But, too many positive reviews means your business may look a bit suspicious, and doesn’t allow you to find your areas of weakness candidly.

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