Many business owners are thinking one thing: “Once I get X online reviews, that’ll be enough and I can check that off my list.”
The truth is that online reviews aren’t so simple (though we all wish they were). There is no magic number of online reviews that will allow your businesses to retire the initiative and move on to the next thing. Instead, gathering online reviews must be a constant process to maintain your great online reputation. Luckily, this will help you stay competitive in your industry, and make a bigger impression on potential customers who tend to disregard online reviews that are older than 6 months.
We know, another case of “What have you done for me lately,” but it’s also an opportunity for your business to get to know customers better and capture valuable feedback that will improve your business for the better.
When businesses teach their staff how to properly ask for online reviews, soliciting reviews to maintain your online reputation becomes an ongoing task that actually doesn’t require much thought. Aside from asking, appointing a staff member to then manage those online reviews should only take about 30 minutes of their time per week if they used a centralized review system, like RepCheckup.
How Many Online Reviews Should I Aim For on My Google Profile?
Now that we know there isn’t an exact “magic” number to get to before “quitting,” let’s talk about how many reviews you should aim to start off with to give yourself a goal that can help you begin measuring how successful your online reputation management plan is working for you.
If you are starting off at zero, you are in a great position to hit the ground running. To discuss Google My Business specifically, they recently changed their policy that required a minimum of 5 reviews for Google to even give you a star rating.
However, you should still aim for getting at least five reviews. With a good review-gathering strategy in place, getting five reviews won’t be a huge task, especially since the majority of people are more likely to leave a review if only they’re asked.
Once you’ve gotten your first handful of online reviews, you can plan on having a steady stream of in-coming reviews that will allow you to better the chances of appearing in search results pages and of avoiding a catastrophic dive in your star-rating if someone does leave a one-star review.
What Star Rating Is Best?
Other than a five star – the best star rating is the highest one you can achieve fairly to accurately represent your business online. This means that you should not have staff, friends, and family leave 5-star reviews on your business to bump up your rating.
If you want your business to appear on the “Best (Restaurant, Dermatologist, Hotel)” search results pages, then you’ll want to strive for a minimum of four stars for your business to qualify for ranking on those pages.
It goes without saying that a 5-star rating is better than a 3 or 4-star rating, but keep in mind that the majority of businesses do not have a clean streak of 100% 5-star ratings. Similarly, the more reviews you gather, the most difficult it will be to raise your overall rating if many of them are leaving, for example, four-star reviews.
This doesn’t mean that having a lot of reviews is bad; on the contrary, the fact that it may be more difficult to raise your star rating from a 4 to a 5 if you already have 100 reviews is that negative reviews will have a similar level of difficulty bringing your reputation down.
So, Google reviews do matter, but – like most things in life – there isn’t a magical number for you to aim for before you’re able to quit and ride the coattails of your online reputation forever. Reviews and ratings are able to change quickly depending on the amount of reviews you’ve gathered, and users weigh newer reviews much more heavily than older ones. This means you’ll want a long-term plan in place that allows reviews to trickle in and maintain your reputation for you.