When trying to be found online, there’s been a shift in consumer behavior you need to be aware of. More than ever, potential customers will find your business by searching ‘near me’ on Google Maps instead of a regular Google search. Furthermore, an increasing number of customers will also filter out their options by only considering businesses with 4 stars or above.

With this in mind, if you’re striving to keep your business’ review scores northward of 4 stars, it’s become even more crucial to stay on top of your Google My Business and Google Maps listings.

What does the research say?

Looking at to the latest statistics that show how important Google Maps and Google Reviews are to customers discovering your business online, we refer to BrightLocal’s wide ranging study of 45,000 businesses, which found discovery searches (such as business type), that bring up a company’s ‘Google My Business’ listing, far outweigh people directly searching for your businesses’ name.

In fact,

  • “84% of searches are discovery, while 16% are direct”.

We can also see that Google Maps now accounts for 25% of business discovery

  • “75% of businesses’ Google My Business listing views are on Search, while 25% are found directly through Google Maps”.

In terms of the value of your Google Reviews, research done by Qualtrics notes,

  • “93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product”.

And shedding more light on the importance of reviews, research from Review Trackers tells us,

  • “94% of consumers say a bad review has convinced them to avoid a business”.
  • “The most common filter applied is to see only companies with 4-star ratings and higher. So there is a big difference between being a 3.9 rated business and a 4.0, even if it’s a slim margin”.

Get your Google My Business listing sorted to improve Maps visibility

The ‘back end’ of your Google online profile, including online your listing, Google Maps, and reviews, is your Google My Business profile. Start there.

You’ve probably already got the basics covered but there’s every chance you can improve it…

Your Google My Business profile contains all of the information about your business that will display in searches and Maps. It also provides access to reviews and direct chats, while also providing insights into your business’ online performance and visibility.

Let’s do a checklist to improve your Google Maps/Google My Business listing:

  • Make sure you have updated all website and social links.
  • Brand it up with well-designed logos.
  • Include pictures so people can see who you are and what you do – (including storefront photos.)
  • Update all of your contact details, address, and opening hours.
  • Include FAQs.
  • Include the correct business category.
  • Create a tight business description with business related keywords.
  • Make sure all information is current and standardised with no conflicting information.
  • Make sure you don’t have duplicate listings.
  • Post messages to your listing – just like you would to Facebook.
  • Embed a Google Map on your business website.

Remember that Google loves it when you provide the most information possible, making sure it’s up to date and without confliction.

How do you increase your Google Review scores?

Now we come to the other aspect of your Google My Business and Google Maps rankings and attractiveness – your Google Reviews scores.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that when people see positive reviews and good scores, they are far more likely to get in contact with your business. This is known as ‘social proof’ and is as powerful as being recommended a business by a trusted friend.

“The idea of social proof is that someone can be persuaded into trying a product or service simply because they’ve seen a positive review or read an expert quote that is linked to the product.” – Hubspot.

As we’ve noted already, many potential customers will also filter out businesses that have a Google Review score of less than four stars.

You’ve probably done this yourself when perhaps looking up restaurants near you. If you see a Thai restaurant with 3.9 stars and another with 4.1 stars, which do you choose?

Even though the difference is only .2 stars between them, the disparity seems stark and the choice becomes apparent…

So, your mission is clear – do all you can to keep those scores above four stars.

This can be easier said than done, but there is always something you can do:

  • First, simply provide excellent customer service. Go above and beyond with your customers and deal with complaints or unhappy customers carefully and with contrition.
  • Simply run your business as best as you can. Continually improve what you offer and how. In essence – do your job to the best of your ability every day.
  • You need to ask for and encourage reviews. You can do this in person, or even incentivize it if this is appropriate. If you’ve delighted a customer, don’t waste an opportunity to simply ask for a review.
  • Respond to both positive and negative reviews by regularly checking your Google My Business page. Be diplomatic and make sure you handle yourself courteously, but acknowledging all the people who’ve taken the time to leave you a review, raises your standing, and you will be viewed as engaged and professional.

By looking after your Google My Business listing and making yourself attractive and searchable through Search and Maps, you’ll inevitably bring in more business without exerting too much effort.