Reviews can make or break your business, especially on a platform like Google. However, your rating on Google isn’t the only thing that makes a difference nowadays. Guests want to see more than just a number. Curious guests take their research in your Google Reviews a bit further.
The better your reviews, the easier to find
Google's goal is to show you the best results as quickly as possible. This works the same for restaurants. Google has the following to say about the link between reviews and findability:
“Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business's local ranking.”
This works for local search, but positive reviews also help you in the organic search results:
- Organic: Let’s say a guest searches on Google for a restaurant with French cuisine. Do you belong to this category? With a lot of positive reviews you will probably appear high in the search results.
- Local: Guests massively use Google Maps to search for a restaurant. If guests search for restaurants closeby, the top rated restaurants will show up on their list.
How ‘modern’ guests make their choice
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that positive reviews help with your findability, but there is more you can do. You won’t be the only restaurant in the list with a great review score. Luckily, the ‘modern’ guest does a bit more research so there are enough possibilities to stand out. How do you ask? To answer this question we came up with three questions the ‘modern’ guest asks herself before she makes a reservation:
1. How many stars?
Next to your rating you see a star-rating. These stars gain more attention than a number. The way your the amount of stars gets decided by your number works as follows:
The difference between a 4.2 or 4.3 maybe seems nothing, but costs you half a star and let’s be honest: 4.5 stars look way better than 4. Have a look at your rating, maybe you can gain half a star only by improving 0.1 of your rating.
- Pro tip: Did you know you can add a minimum rating to your search criteria? On smartphones you can search from a maximum of 4 stars and on your desktop you can even go up to 4.5 stars. The amount of stars does matter, otherwise you maybe won’t survive the first selection.
2. What do other guests say?
Stars are important, but your stars can still me similar to other restaurants. If guests are really curious, they start reading reviews of other guests. What are your best features? What’s the returning feedback? Guests will search for the trend in your reviews, positive as well as negative. Sometimes, negative reviews don’t make any sense, the modern guest will notice that.
- Pro tip: Respond to reviews makes the difference, especially if you respond to negative reviews. So show that you care about your guests, even if they had a bad experience.
3. When is it written?
Some guests take their research one step further. They don’t care about the overall score, they want to know if your restaurant is in good ‘form’. To check this, they sort your reviews on ‘latest’. If your last ten reviews are all negative, the modern guest sees that you’re not in a good shape. This works exactly the same the other way around. If you started off a bit negative, but you’re drowning in five-star reviews the last few weeks, the modern guest will probably take a visit.
- Pro tip: Make sure you keep the reviews keep. How relevant is a month old review? Maybe you already serve a completely different menu, so make sure your reviews stay up-to-date.
Check your own review page
Have a critical look at your own review page. Is there something you can do about your star-rating? Haven’t you had a new review in a long time or is this about time to start answering to some reviews? Taking care of your review page will definitely get your more guests.