It’s no secret. Five-star Google reviews are the gateway to effortless leads. If there’s one trick to outranking the competition, it’s getting a ton of positive reviews.
But what happens when a scathing, one-star review taints your spotless profile? Don’t panic! It’s not as bad as you think. Just read this blog to learn how to make negative reviews work in your favor!
Your Marketing Strategy is Working
So, you got a bad review. It’s bound to happen. Here’s the silver lining though. The fact that someone cared enough to leave a negative review means your online marketing strategy is working.
It’s doing what you want—rather, it’s doing what you designed it to do. It’s generating traffic. Sure, in an ideal world, all your customers would leave raving reviews about how their lives will never be the same, and how they’re eternally grateful that they found your service.
But the reality is, bad reviews are par for the course on the internet.
Your Ranking Depends on Your Responsiveness
Regardless of how mean, untrue, or eccentric that review is, try to see it for what it is: a shining beacon of opportunity. Engage with it. Show that you care!
Google and Yelp have made responsiveness one of their ranking factors. This means that the content of your review doesn’t matter—what matters is what you do with it.
A company with twenty lousy reviews isn’t a foregone failure if the owner carefully, politely, and thoroughly addresses each of them. In this scenario, Google doesn’t see a lousy business owner. Google sees an active business owner who cares about their clients.
You can’t remove the negative, so milk it for what it’s worth! If you respond promptly and respectfully to your dissatisfied customer, you can count it as a win for your ranking.
Bad Reviews Build Credibility
A bad review isn’t the end of the world. One might argue that a rare negative review can increase your business’ credibility. Now, before you scoff at this statement and skim to the next section, consider this.
Customers that are browsing your company’s business listing expect to find faults. They may even want to know the downfalls of your services. Customers do their research—they compare what other people consider to be the pros and cons. And other people might not have the same priorities as them. A negative review for one person could easily be a positive for another!
Plus, a negative review can work in your favor by making you more relatable. Nobody’s perfect, after all! And your clients know that. As long as the overarching trajectory of your listing is positive, your clients will likely forgive an outlying piece of negative feedback.
Too Many Positive Reviews May Look Suspicious
You’d be surprised at how many people—even people who have never heard of SEO—are aware of fake reviews. Most of them are intelligent consumers that can weed out the real from the fake. So, relax a little! Give web surfers more credit, and they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.
Even if that nasty remark is legitimate, there’s still hope. Chances are, your clients have experience dealing with angry customers too. Or, at the very least, they’ve encountered them in line at Starbucks. Prospective consumers are usually well versed in discerning what’s worth listening to and what’s not.
The bottom line is, if you’re endlessly obsessing over a single insulting statement, stop. The majority of your clients will overlook one lackluster comment in favor of nine positive ones.
Your Prospective Clients are Waiting for Your Response
When you receive a negative review, don’t hang your head and assume the damage is done. No, you can’t remove the post, but you can redirect your customer’s attention – off the review and onto you.
Have you ever gotten into a heated discussion at work and left the boardroom thinking, “Wow, my colleague handled that really well”? The same applies online. As tempting as it might be to ignore your accuser (or snap back in anger and explain all the reasons their opinion is wrong), use your reply as an opportunity. Take advantage of the platform to showcase your stellar customer service.
You can’t stop your clients from reading the haters, but don’t forget that they’re equally interested in observing your reaction. A thoughtful reply to a mocking remark can leave your clients thinking that you’re a class act and that the rude heckler who initiated the dialogue was out of line. Your behavior as a business owner speaks volumes.
Benefit from the Constructive Criticism
Yes, there are fraudulent reviews out there. But there are also valid critiques. These can hurt. As hard as you try, mistakes can happen. Whether it’s an oversight during the busy season or employee no-shows leave you short-staffed—it’s impossible to be on your A-game 100% of the time.
When a negative review is genuine, and an anonymous customer throws the spotlight on everything you did wrong, use the criticism constructively. Be an optimist. See the reproach as a precious glimpse into your clients’ experience. Your goal is to improve that experience for the next person.
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the lightbulb, is equally famous for the number of times he failed at making the lightbulb. But in his eyes, he didn’t fail. l. Instead, he succeeded at finding 10, 000 ways not to make a lightbulb. Similarly, if you find yourself facing a seemingly insurmountable 10, 000 bad reviews, consider yourself enlightened – you just discovered 10, 000 ways not to provide your service. Your next attempt could make history.
Want to learn more about how reviews impact SEO? Contact our marketing specialists at LinkNow Media by leaving a comment below or calling us at 1.888.667.7186.