Google My Business

The Anatomy of Google Reviews (and Why They Matter)

Myta Santiago 6 mins read
The Anatomy of Google Reviews (and Why They Matter)

An essential part of your GMB listing is the Google reviews. It helps you attract more customers as these user-generated content bring out the best about your business and supports your prominence online. While you can’t always hit the 5 stars, a good number of high star ratings help you rise to the top faster.

What’s important to customers, however, is the actual review and how business owners respond to the review.

So this feature on Google My Business hits two birds with one stone: improving the business’ chances of being chosen by the customer and informing the customer of what to expect.

Each part of a Google review is important because they display key details that customers look for, whether it’s a star rating that helps them decide faster or a detailed review from a customer that can give them a better idea of what kind of business they’re dealing with.

A Guide to Google Reviews

Star Rating

Digitalmaas google reviews star rating

Fun fact: Did you know that the star rating has been around since the 1800s and was first used in a guide book?

Two centuries later, it’s still used the same way as it was then – an indicator of value and quality of a business as a whole or a specific product or service.

Star ratings are the first thing customers will notice on Google reviews. On your GMB listing, this will be visible just below your business name. The number of reviews is also easily seen to the right of the stars.

This is beneficial for those who just want to quickly see that you’re a good number of people will recommend if they’re looking for a business like yours. Star ratings help quickly build trust and invite customers to read more reviews to help them better decide if they should ultimately engage with you.

And usually, 4-star ratings guarantee customers that a business is worth buying from, while 3 stars and lower harm your chances of being chosen. But before that though, your business has to rank high enough to be seen on the Knowledge Graph (the area on the right side of SERPs) or on Google’s 3-Pack. Hotels, for example, that have more 4-star ratings than others enjoy sitting on top of search results when one types in “best hotel in Y location” or “X attribute hotel near me”.

That’s how influential star ratings are. That’s why they’re one of the most important local search ranking factors for Google My Business.

Review Attributes

Review attributes on Google Reviews

If a customer decides to read more sentiment, they’ll probably see review attributes. This is a relatively new feature for Google reviews and it helps users see – at a glance – what other reviewers like about your business. Think of it as a summary a customer wants to see if they don’t want to read through a review.

Here’s how it works. When a reviewer leaves 4 or 5 stars, they’ll be asked to choose positive attributes to let others know what they like about your business the most. It’s the same for those who gave 1-2 stars but Google will ask what customers disliked about your business. It can range from quality of service to professionalism of staff.

Just a word of the wise, though: Review attributes are not available to all GMB categories. They’re mostly available to local services like repair services, interior decorators and dog breeders. We’re sure the list will expand as we move forward to 2021.

So why is this important?

In understanding customer sentiment, review attributes act like a premise to a brand’s story and how they’re projecting themselves to their target market.

For example:

If you have in front of you a 3-pack of nearby barbershops, you can see different star ratings. You have a 5-star, a 3-star and a 2-star barbershop. Click on the 5-star one and you’ll be able to see what customers say about them. Most reviewers say that a barbershop’s professionalism, punctuality and cleanliness are the most important attributes they’ve noted. And if you’re the type who likes a clean cut that on time, all the time, you can definitely go to this barbershop.

On the other hand, if you click the 2-star barbershop, you’ll see customers ranting about how not clean and unprofessional their interiors and staff are. Obviously, you won’t choose this because clean interiors and professional staff are highly important traits to consider in businesses during COVID-19. And if you read further into customer reviews, you can see that the staff are loud and ask too much about your life and don’t sanitise their equipment and chairs after use. Many reviewers mention these complaints in so many ways that repeat reviews drive away customers.

Now, you’ll start to see that it’s not the brand that’s writing the story; it’s the customer. The review attributes give off a signal that tells prospects to either come over or stay away.

Review Text

Google Reviews text

Now we go into the main part of the review. We recently talked about how to get quality Google reviews and briefly touched on how people read at least 10 reviews before a business earns or loses a would-be customer’s trust. This is where review text matters.

The main body of the review entails the customers either gushing or ranting about a business, outlining things they like or don’t like and sometimes leaving some feedback for staff to take note of and improve on. Not only is this important to your online reputation, but it also boosts your local SEO. Customer reviews become a ‘free’ marketing tool that gives you a better chance of ranking, especially when the feedback mentions your services and other keywords that you want to rank for.

So if you want to rank high and become a trusted brand, do the following:

  • Ask existing customers for reviews (even negative ones – don’t bother review gating)
  • Respond to all reviews (we’ll get to that in a bit)
  • Avoid violating Google’s content guidelines

Response from Owner

Digitalmaas google reviews reply

Google reviews will not work without your contribution.

Responding to all reviews is extremely important because it tells the customer, both existing and prospective, that you’re listening and you want to improve your business. At the same time, you’re turning a regular review section into a two-way conversation between you and your customer. This integral form of customer services gives a better experience about your business – so whether or not customers expect you to answer back, please do reply.

For example: In the off chance you get a negative review and you reply, apologising to the reviewer and take the necessary steps to improve their experience (as well as others’), they’re willing to give you a second chance.

All because you replied.

Isn’t that powerful?

Just be honest and authentic. Address concerns when needed and let them know that your GMB listing isn’t just another space on the internet for you but rather a platform where your customers can find you and talk to you beyond the four corners of your store.

Make Google Reviews Work for You

Local SEO software like the DigitalMaas Platform help businesses like yours talk to customers without the noise. Work with a sophisticated review dashboard that allows you to see your total number of and average star ratings on Google reviews, as well as reviews which you haven’t replied to yet. You can also answer reviews straight from the Platform. All this and more when you sign up for an account today.

Myta Santiago

Myta is the Content Writer & Designer at DigitalMaas. Fusing content marketing fundamentals and the drive to educate customers on how Google My Business and the DigitalMaas Platform work, they're able to create all kinds of written and visual content to make everyone's lives a little easier. Outside of work, Myta is an avid reader of middle grade, young adult and adult fantasy, a casual RPG gamer and a big fan of detective and fantasy anime.


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