By: JOSIP SOBIN, CEO
Google reviews are more important than most people think. In the digital age, almost all information is collected exclusively from the Internet. We usually start the process of gathering information not by directly entering the website we want to visit, but by using a search engine. We used several different search engines 15 years ago; however today Google has the absolute dominance in the market with over 80% of all the searches. This number is probably closer to 100% if we only consider the western world. Only in the Far East some regional search engines are being used as they are adapted to the local markets.
When searching for information, it is extremely important for all of us to get to the right information in the shortest possible time. That is why Google has developed a whole science of website ranking according to a wide range of different parameters. The ultimate goal is to find the best content according to what Google estimates the user is looking for.
One of the ranking parameters are Google reviews. Today, you can leave a review for anything - from local businesses, landmarks, beaches, promenades, etc. However, reviews are probably the most important for companies, especially those that provide services. Restaurants, cafes, clubs, hairdressers, sports centers, etc. receive the most reviews.
Google review can be left by anyone who has Google account, and most of us do have it, if for no other reason than to be able to use different services and applications on our smartphones.
You can leave a review online or directly through Google Maps. Pictures or videos can be added to your review, and you get a certain number of points for each review that you leave. Collecting points also increases your personal ranking on Google, and others can see that you are labelled as a "local guide", which again means that people will read your reviews more often than someone else’s.
Personally, I always like to leave Google review wherever I go. First of all, I find it fair to reward someone who gave me a sense of satisfaction for using their services of buying a particular product. I also find it helpful to warn other users in case of dissatisfaction - it‘s always better if you can learn form other people‘ s mistakes rather than your own. And finally, the scoring and ranking system is quite fun for me, some extra motivation:)
After having left over 250 reviews and just over 150,000 people have read them, here are five quick and helpful tips for writing Google reviews.
Write a review
Although Google allows a simple rating (1-5 stars), the rating is not nearly as useful as the review itself. When someone reads reviews, they are always interested in the personal experience of the person leaving that review. Therefore, your review will have greater effect than the grade itself, and you will get a lot more points :) If your review has 200 or more characters, you will get extra points for having left a detailed review.
Add a photo or a video
We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words. In the 21st century, photography has become a cult. Instagram has surpassed all the other social networks and people are falling off the cliffs trying to get a selfie. Wherever you are and whatever you do, chances are you‘re taking photos with your cell phone. Why not add them to your review? You‘ll make it more complete, other readers love seeing them, and you‘ll also get extra points for your post.
If everyone repeats the same thing, readers are essentially left with very limited information. Describe your own experience- diverse and authentic reviews ensure that each reader can find information that is useful to them when making a decision.
It is important to leave as much specific information about your experience as possible. For example, if you liked the food in a restaurant but you waited for too long, that is exactly what you need to write. By doing this, other readers will know exactly why you rated them the way you did, and will be able to decide for themselves whether this is something that’s relevant to them or not. When I am not completely satisfied with a service, I usually include both positive and negative things in my review, in order to point out all that was good, but also leave suggestions for improvement.
Manage your expectations
Although I left this as the last piece of advice, in my opinion it is the most important one; and it is the one that most people completely ignore. I often find reviews that are completely unfair because they are not apt for the place being rated. For example, you‘ll often find a review of a street food restaurant that was written as if the reader was expecting a Michelin Star restaurant. Another example would be hotels. If you were staying in a four-star hotel, then your review should reflect whether the hotel provided you with a four-star experience, and not leave a bad review or a comment because the hotel did not have a spa. If you went to a burger bar, rate it according to whether the burger was good or not, not whether the place had royal candlesticks or offered a rich wine list.
And finally, don‘t forget to leave a Google review for your favourite school- Jantar ;)