Got Bad Google Reviews?
For any business owner, large or small, A Google My Business, or just Google Business Profile, is a must-have. In 2022, the Yellow Pages are not exactly being passed out to every household like they used to be 20 years ago. Now it’s all about search engine rankings, and if you’ve got bad Google reviews, your business is going to suffer the consequences.
Things aren’t what they used to be, and if you’re not keeping up with the changing marketing landscape, you’re going to get left behind… FAST! In fact, I challenge you to even ask a kid nowadays if they even know what the yellow pages are. You may be surprised, but chances are that kid is going to look at you like you are speaking Swahili. The best way businesses are found today is online, and most via the Google search engine.
Your Google Business Profile
A Google business profile is like a full-page yellow pages ad, that comes completely free of charge. Not only is it free, but it’s also interactive. Meaning your customers can, and will, interact with your Google business profile and leave reviews, good or bad. Those reviews reflect on how you manage your business, and in turn, interact with your customers.
If you have purchased a business with bad google reviews, you have pretty much just bought a vehicle with a bunch of body damage, but very could end up having a solid engine. Most customers that google “fancy pants widgets for sale in my area” will likely scroll through the list of Google business profiles and only click on the ones with good reviews. These people are literally letting other people shop for them, and why not?
Why are Google Reviews so Important?
Any marketer worth their salt will agree that word-of-mouth marketing is by far the best and most effective form of marketing there is. Before all the TV commercials and giant looming billboards, word of mouth was the only marketing approach available. Even back in medieval days, everyone knew that the very best chicken gizzards were from old man Edmund’s farm and not from the chicken shack at the market. This is because when old Edmund made sure his gizzards were fresh and tasty, everyone would talk about them gizzards and word would spread to all the villagers.
If you bought a business with bad Google ratings, expect the baggage that comes along with it. We hate to say it, but you now own that dirty, run-down chicken shack selling the rotten gizzards. Now don’t get us wrong. You certainly have the chance to turn things around and start showing your new and old customers that you’re better than the previous owners. However, you’re stuck with any bad reputation your company might have at this point. So be prepared to attack this problem quickly and forcefully!
How Can Bad Google Reviews Affect My Business?
A bad review on Google is just like bad word of mouth. If a potential customer asks a friend if the gizzards at the market were any good, and are told no, old man Edmund’s are better, you just lost that potential customer. Nowadays, your potential customers don’t even have to ask anyone about their opinion of your new business, it and many more are front and center on their phones, computers, and tablets, displayed as Google reviews.
This is why 9 times out of 10 if you leave a negative Google review, a responsible business owner will reach out to you and try to connect with the hopes of correcting whatever may have ruffled your feathers. They do this not only for customer retention but also with the hopes that you will amend your negative review on Google because they know just how important Google reviews are.
Google Reviews and SEO
As a business owner chances are you have heard of, and likely even know about search engine optimization (SEO), and what it can do for your business. However, there are still some business owners out there that think that just having a website is going to generate customers online, and when they get that website and nothing happens, they don’t understand why.
SEO is the work that needs to be done to get your website listed on google when folks search for your goods and services. What a lot of business owners do not know is there are both local SEO results as well as national and international results. This is one of the reasons Google is always asking your phone “to access your location.” It is this location that helps Google list local business profiles for locals searching for goods and services.
The Times They Are A-Changin’
20 years ago, you could literally register a domain name like A1chickengizzards.com and be listed on the first page, if not the first result listing when someone searches for “chicken gizzards.” This was because, at that time, the Google listings were ordered alphabetically. Boy, wasn’t being an SEO specialist back in those days easy, let me tell ya. Today, it’s much more complex and difficult to get listed on that coveted “page one” of Google.
What happened was over the years Google caught on to tricks like registering domains starting with “A1” to get a good listing and started updating their algorithm so that the listings they displayed were more apt to actually have to do with chicken gizzards and not garbage spam links. Now over the years, and as Google grew, the Google algorithm grew alongside the giant corporation.
Today, the Google algorithm knows every trick, tip, and fast track that has ever been thought of and is virtually impossible to fool. Because of that SEO in today’s world is hard work and there are no shortcuts. You just must build a good, search engine-friendly website, and produce solid content that your website visitors, and therefore Google will enjoy. This on top of a bunch of other SEO tactics will ensure that you will eventually end up getting some good, targeted traffic from Google.
How Good is Your Site… Really?
Outside of the hundreds if not thousands of tiny little details that Google will notice about your website, the one and most important thing that Google will notice is how much the people who are visiting your site enjoy the content. Google knows if someone who searches for chicken gizzards and lands on your page that sells chicken gizzards, then immediately leaves your website, and goes and buys his gizzards from the next guy in line. Google will remember that and perhaps think the next guy’s gizzards even better than yours. Especially if this keeps happening over and over.
Google reviews are no different. Google trusts your customers much more than it trusts you. If you have 78 five-star Google ratings all raving about your chicken gizzards, Google is no doubt going to cross-reference those reviews with how long website visitors are staying on your gizzards page, what sort of interactions visitors are having on your gizzards page, along with many other off-page factors like other websites linking to your gizzards page that talk about how good your gizzards are. All these factors, plus many more contribute to how Google is going to rank your website when someone searches for “Chicken gizzards.”
To Delete or Not Delete, That is the Question
Now that you are now the new owner of the shabby, poorly managed chicken gizzard shack at the market, now what? Your new business is sitting at about one and a half stars out of five with nothing but negative feedback in the review sections, blasting not only your gizzards but also employees that no longer even work for the company. The first and most important step is to always keep in mind that Google is watching you. No, I’m serious, Google is always watching.
Your first instinct would be to try and delete the old Google My Business Profile and start fresh. This may or may not work and here is why. One of the tried-and-true aspects of SEO is the age of a website. Google generally shies away from listing brand new websites on page one of search results because they have not compiled enough information yet to determine if the website is spam or a legitimate business. Google Business profiles are not any different.
When someone searches for chicken gizzards in Reno, all the business profiles that sell chicken gizzards in Reno are going to show up that have been indexed by Google, regardless of what kind of reviews they have. The order in which they show up is based on how likely it is (according to Google’s algorithm) that that business does in fact sell chicken gizzards in Reno.
So, deleting the old business profile and starting fresh just might not be the best move. After all, if you do, you’re now buried in the chicken gizzard results as a new Google My Business Profile and are not likely to be seen by customers. That is until Google decides that you do actually sell gizzards. Remember, indexing takes time.
So now you have this aged Google My Business Profile, that shows up on the first page of a “chicken gizzards in Reno” search, but nobody is clicking because of your outstanding 1.5 stars out of 5 reviews that were gathered by the previous owner and staff. Well, there is a way out of the review pit. One that will take far less time than creating a brand-new Google Business Profile.
How to Fix a Purchased Business With Bad Google Reviews
Google is somewhat flexible about removing a bad review from your Google My Business profile, but only when that review violates their Content Policies. Fake reviews from competitors. Spam. Off-topic reviews regarding products your business does not even provide. Sexually expect content. Reviews of this nature can be pulled as if they never existed. But it’s up to you to put in the requests. After all, Google can’t do all the work!
Reviews that Violate the Rules
So, your first order of business would be to go through all of the negative reviews on the Google profile and see if you can find any that violate Google’s content policies. Any dangerous or derogatory content is a prime example of a review for removal by Google.
Folks tend to get pretty mad when they have a bad experience at a business and if they decide to let that anger flow in their writing, chances are you can have it stricken from the record. Google even provides a Reviews Management Tool that makes this process easy for business owners. I’m sure you are starting to see how you might be able to recover when you’ve purchased a business with bad google ratings.
Responding to Bad Reviews
Your next step will be to go through and respond to the bad reviews. This will cause Google to notify the reviewers that the business has responded to them. People like to be heard, and more important than that, people like to be told that they’re right.
If you are sympathetic to their issue without being combative, you may be surprised by how they respond. Explain to them that the business is now under new ownership and management. As a result, they may amend or even remove their Google review. Perhaps offer a discount on their next visit, or a gift card of some kind to make amends for the past wrongdoing of the negligent previous owners.
You would be pleasantly surprised with how many of the reviewers will respond to you. Simply take the time to address their issues. As a new owner, putting in the effort will turn heads. After all, it wasn’t even you or your staff that caused the bad review in the first place. Therefore, you are already on great footing. While this strategy seems time-consuming and nobody likes to take the brunt of someone else’s mistakes, this strategy will be well worth your time when the bad reviews start to drop off, or even better, turn into positive reviews.
Turn Things Around & Set a New Standard
The last step of the process after you have purchased a business with bad Google Reviews is simple. Just do a good job. Start impressing customers with your excellent customer service and delicious, top-quality chicken gizzards.
After you have blown off your customer’s socks, and this is important… ask for a review on Google. Heck, go ahead and give them the link that takes them right to the review page! Make it easy for them. Closed mouths don’t get fed, and while some of your customers won’t even bother, some will. Eventually, all the good reviews will far overshadow all of the bad reviews left by the previous owners.
After time and hard work, you will start to see those stars creeping up. Not long after, you’ll be one of the best-rated chicken gizzard shacks at the market.
Let Our SEO Professionals Take Care of it
We hope that this article offered some tools you need after you purchased a business with bad Google reviews. Here at Wonder Web Development, we understand how hard it is to run a business. How much work needs to be done every single day. When you buy another business, especially a mismanaged one, turning things around can be hard.
Our Website and SEO experts are here for you to help you shoulder the burden. Now you know just how much work turning a Google My Business profile around can be. With that in mind, it might be better to just let the professionals handle it. We will be here for you to make sure every aspect of your internet presence is top-notch and perfectly in accordance with Google standards and its algorithm.
Contact us today to discuss with you just how Wonder Web Development can help you and your business succeed.
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