How to Manage Negative Google Places Reviews Effectively

Travis Van SlootenSmall Business SEO

Google Places reviews can boost the local search rankings of your business. Reviews that contain popular keywords can help your business land on the first local search page.

The goal of every business owner should be to rank in the top 7 local search results. Referred to as the “Magnificent 7,” the listing is the first set of businesses that searchers see after they input their keyword(s).

Searchers rarely look past the “Magnificent 7” to find the business that meets their needs.

Google calculates local search rankings by considering a number of factors. Most business owners are aware of the importance of keyword optimization, but do you realize the impact that reviews have on your local search ranking?

Positive reviews matter when it comes to Google calculating your business ranking in local searches. On the other hand, negative reviews can push your business from the “Magnificent 7.” You need to know how to manage negative Google Places reviews effectively.

The easiest solution for managing negative reviews is to delete the reviews. However, Google does not allow you to delete negative Google Places reviews.

You cannot simply hope that a negative review will suddenly disappear. You must be proactive and build your business credibility by implementing 4 easy steps.

Solicit More Positive Google Places Reviews

Even the best-run businesses receive negative reviews. You counter one negative review by soliciting 50 more positive reviews. A disproportionate number of positive reviews will mitigate the effect of one bad review.

Business owners should encourage their loyal customers to post positive reviews on their Google Places page by providing incentives on their organic websites. Incentives can include bundled products, free service, or a lifetime warranty.

Respond to Negative Reviews

First, you have to verify your Google Places listing before you can respond to any reviews. Some business owners confirm their Google Places listings, but they forget to verify that all of their information is correct.

Once you verify, respond to a negative review in a conciliatory manner. Your instinct may be to attack the poster of a negative review, but that approach only breeds more ill will. Thank the poster for informing your business about the problem and take whatever measures necessary to correct the situation.

You can enhance your Google Places listing by properly addressing negative Google Places reviews.

Flag a Negative Review as Inappropriate

Google does not distinguish between legitimate reviewers and reviewers who have an axe to grind with your business. A former employee or an envious competitor can wield the axe.

However, you can flag inappropriate negative reviews and Google will address your request. Google will discern if a slew of negative reviews came from a single IP address, among other methods they use to investigate whether your flag has validity.

Google investigations of inappropriate flags take some time to complete, so do not expect instant removal of an inappropriate negative review.

Turn a Negative Review into a Positive

Negative feedback can provide you with opportunities to improve service, revamp a product, or change the way you promote your business. Your business goal should be to find ways to improve your operation.

Negative reviews point out flaws that you may not see because of your deep involvement with the business.

Moments of truth present businesses with the opportunity to change a dissatisfied customer into a lifelong, loyal customer. Most business owners and managers know how to handle the moment of truth in a personal interaction. They offer sincere apologies, ask what it will take to make amends, and take immediate action to rectify the situation.

Unfortunately, most businesses do not take such a proactive approach when it comes to disgruntled customers who communicate their displeasure online. You will conquer the moments of truth online when you learn how to manage negative Google Places reviews effectively.