Online Reviews Help Build Business Credibility and Trust

Online Reviews Establish Business Credibility

Updated 7.6.2023

Businesses that have wrangled with how to manage reviews to establish business credibility are thrilled to learn that the process just became easier. When you complete a service or sell a product to digital shoppers, always ask your clientele, “Please tell me how I am doing leaving a review.”

More and more online buyers are leaning on reviews to make their buying decisions. Positive and genuine reviews make your business stand out. First and foremost, the primary thing every business must do to garner great reviews is to deliver superior customer experiences. Many shoppers no longer trust ads, but they do trust people. And they look for what they say about you. What is said or referenced about you is critical. Your business reputation evolves over the years and consumers make more purchases from a name they trust.

It just got easier for business to build a reputation of trust with connections on Google Posts, which offers opportunities for digital lead generation. Google My Business is an umbrella that covers all its current Google products rolled under this one new entity. Serving as a hub for Google Mpas, and Google Places, the one-stop access combines them into one easily accessible platform for marketing businesses on Google and gleaning product reviews. And content posted directly on a Google Platform may be indexed more quickly and understood by GoogleBot. The new Google Search Generative AI Experience is showing customer reviews and comments to searchers.

Digital Reviews Separate out the Good Guys from the Bad Guys

Digital reviews are useful for impact measurement and award top achievers. They help your website stand out in the e-Commerce world. Everyone benefits when best performers are noted for the success they generate for clients and just how they make a difference. Especially, Google Business reviews can be very powerful when gained in the right way. They help others who are looking for someone or something impactful and that provides a choice service or product more business can benefit from.

Oracle found in their 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report*, that 86% of customers indicated a willingness to pay more for a better customer experience. We firmly believe in clear and honest efforts to gain reviews. Hard work is involved to obtain legitimate and effective good reviews – and the end results are worth it. Reviews help the next buyer feel confident that you are the right place to go for business – everyone becomes a winner.

Google Reviews Build Business Reputations

The release answers the need that small and medium businesses and local search expert have requested for years. The new one-stop access utilizes a nifty dashboard comprised of the icons we are all familiar with:, Local Maps, Google Plus, Google Places, Google Analytics, AdWords Express, YouTube, and favored Google Hangouts. Marketers also gain easy access for managing Reviews, Insights, and Multi-location Management. It’s nicely compacted My Business interface offers a single account user the streamlined capacity to service up to 100 business locations.

While that may take a marketing whiz who can juggle a large number of businesses in spite of My Business’s embryo stage functionality, it is a pleasure to use for a half a dozen or so business locations. Business shouldn’t think that buying reputation credibility to the best way to succeed. Everyone appreciates business integrity and transparency when it comes to buyer experiences. Learn how to add schema markup to your client reviews.

The new dashboard and bundled features simplify the complexity some businesses have found with the frequent updates in Google’s Places and Plus platforms. My Business is not intended to garner up expectations it will boost a business to the top of search rankings. CNN quoted Google Expert Jen Fitzpatrick as stating, “This isn’t meant to change or influence our search rankings in any way.”

Online reviews have are an influential source of information that has a critical impact on prospective buyer behavior, client loyalty, and the entire purchasing funnel. Stay current on the latest trends in online reviews if you need some inspiration to see why your local business should pay attention to your online reviews. Studies of reviews for online retail shops, on booking platforms, and in social marketing play a dominant role in purchasing decisions made by consumers.

Wikipedia talks about how the reliability of an online review has been questioned. We have reason to believe that concern has lessened. We now see the return of critic reviews in search results. On September 6, 2016, Google announcedtwo types of reviews in search results.

2 New Types of Google Review Snippets

1. Critic reviews:
A snippet from a longer review article that a single editor has created, curated, or compiled for a publisher.

2. Review snippets:
A rich snippet of a review or rating markup from a review website, usually an average of the combined rating scores from reviewers. Review snippets appear in Google Search results either under the search result, in a map pack, or in the Google Knowledge Cards. As a SERP answer box has a different function, we have never found review snippets here. However, they display in both traditional desktop and on mobile devices.

Google Rich Cards Feature Online Business Reviews

The new Google Search Gallery displays a list of certain business verticals to show examples of how certain types of Google structured data offer rich results in Google Search. On top of single Rich Card results, host lists can showcase a carousel from a single website. Host lists require schema markup on list pages. While this may typically be products, online reviews also can be featured in Rich Cards and the Google Knowledge Graph. For example, these reviews may be for a surgical center, a book, or a recipe.

Online reviews have are an influential source of information that has a critical impact on prospective buyer behavior, client loyalty, and the entire purchasing funnel. Stay current on the latest trends in online reviews. If you need some inspiration to see why your local business should pay attention to your online reviews. Studies of healthcare reviews and those for online retail shops, on booking platforms, and in social marketing play a dominant role in purchasing decisions made by consumers. Plan apace to highlight them in your site’s architecture.

Google Buys the Zagat Reviews and Ratings

The Zagat Survey was established by Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979 as a way to collect and correlate the independent rating reviews of restaurants by patron diners; at their conception, covering New York City, the Zagats surveyed their friends.

Wikipedia** says, At its height, ca. 2005, the Zagat Survey included 70 cities, with reviews based on the input of 250,000 individuals with the guides reporting on and rating restaurants, hotels, nightlife, shopping, zoos, music, movies, theaters, golf courses, and airlines. The guides are sold in book form and were formerly only available as a paid subscription on the Zagat website. As part of its $125 million acquisition by Google in September 2011, Zagat’s offering of reviews and ratings became a part of Google’s Geo and Commerce group, eventually to be tightly integrated into Google’s services.

How These Updates Make Online Reviews More Credible:

* Anonymous online reviews are replaced with the legitimacy of reviews placed by real people and displaying their real name, as registered when their Google Plus account was created. Reviews will be listed for the public to read, require a Google Plus account and will be displayed on it.

* This protects a legitimate business from competitor spamming by posting fabricated negative reviews. Google is protecting user authenticity and making it more difficult for unethical practices, which encourages integral business practices and lessons the unnecessary hours spent countering false and harmful reviews.

* Additionally, this reduces the ease individuals found to post a review under someone else’s name, thus adding credibility to the review system.

* In the past, a reviewer only needed a Gmail account. Needing a Google Plus profile going forward to create a review will let the world see who is saying what.

* Reviews can now be posted with a business name. By logging into a Business Google Plus page, reviews can be created for business partners and vendors and tagged with the Business name versus the individual’s name that creates the review.

* Track engagement with insights for Google+ business pages and posts.

* Access information on related Google Analytics accounts and YouTube channels.

Gain an enhanced snippet in mobile search results.

How to Build Credibility for Your Business with Online Reviews

Whatever favorable or not, online reviews influence your position in search rankings. They do this by influencing trust.

– Be bold and ask

First, get over any hesitancy due to the risks of obtaining negative reviews. “By acknowledging the dissatisfaction, appropriately apologizing, and offering to mend the situation publicly, you demonstrate that your business is handled professionally”, says Inman. Recent studies indicate that 70% of all online customers look to online reviews to make buying decisions. And since today reviews are displaying in Google’s local 3 Pack, the visibility factor can mean new business. As a business, you also establish trust and credibility with both current and potential customers that need that extra confidence to pull the purchasing trigger.

– Create room for your reviewers to offer transparent comments

It is a good thing to relinquish tight control of online messaging that encompasses your business and personal brand. Consumers want to engage in real conversations and share their experiences with others on an open and non-threatening platform. The authenticity of these reviews can be your business’s chief asset, as long as you are equipped to participate graciously in the conversation. Making a mistake is human, owning it and taking steps to rebuild trust and please clients can be your long-term win. Business credibility has become everything in the digital world of marketing. Use these tips to establish trust and build credibility in business and embrace the process of gleaning reviews from your clients and business partners.

– Build trust through positive online reviews. Ultimately a huge component that influences your position in search rankings is trust.

If Google doesn’t trust your business due to poor reviews, no reviews, or exaggerating your awards, or misstating your content, you simply will not reach a prime position in the search results. Search engines are evolving to be savvier at promoting the best possible websites. GoogleBot strives to ensure that every website on the first page can be trusted to provide the best user experience possible. Positive online reviews provide more reasons for consumers and Google to trust your business. Gaining positive feedback from consumers and incorporating testimonials on your site has become a foundational SEO practice.

– Know how your number and quality of reviews stack up next to your competitors.

Structured data markup for online reviews can result in rich snippets to show both your number of reviews and the quality of their ratings. If you don’t have this also indicates your business needs to do more to increase your trust, reputation management, and in turn your page rankings.

– Create spaces online where reviewers can post.

A significant percentage of shoppers look at reviews before making a decision online. Register at trusted directories that offer a digital space where your business can accept reviews, We suggest you begin with: Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google My Business, Angie’s List, and TrustPilot.

Top 3 Things Consumers Look for in Reviews

There are three primary things that consumers most look for while reading business reviews:

1. Whether or not that particular company is reliable

2. To what extent they are niche experts

3. What previous buyers say about how professionally they respond to consumer complaints and requests

If you are a local small business, you may not think that this applies as much. However, in reality, tending to involve more of an unknown factor, they may be perceived as less professional. Local search and online reviews as less professional. Local search and reviews will help you compete better with a larger, well-known business. Many shoppers no longer trust ads, but they do trust people. And they look for what they say about you. What is said or referenced about you is critical in 2016. Your business reputation evolves over the years, and consumers make more purchases from a name they trust.

A Growing Dependence on the Influence of Business Reviews

More and more buyers are depending on online business reviews to influence their next purchase.

That makes the skill of knowing how to build relationships and foster reviews a necessary part of small business owners’ success in gaining new business. Given the pace of life for most people today, gaining such testimonials takes more than offering a stellar service or product, it takes know-how to ask for a review. It takes knowing how to add review markup. You can use the copy of your client’s feedback even if they prefer to not give it out in their public comment. It will then miss the required name field for this type of structured data, but we believe that respecting Internet user’s privacy is more important than our personal gain.

All major search engines take into account the number of business reviews they find and how your clientele has ranked them. When a business gains a significant number of mentions, typically that achievement translates into appearing more often and higher in search results versus another business that isn’t reviewed often.

Research supports the premise that consumers generally trust peer recommendations over any other form of advertising. Since honest and voluntary reviews come from someone was has already used the same product or services that they are considering, it sheds trusted light on the decision-making process. A recent Neilsen study found that of the 25,000 internet shoppers from 50 countries who participated in the survey, 90% trust recommendations from people they already know while 70% trusted consumer opinions found online. Mobile users respond well to product reviews displaying in product carousels.

4 Way to Professionally Foster Online Business ReviewsHow to gain 5 star Google business reviews

1. Be timely when requesting business review

Encourage your customers to post ratings and reviews of your company when they communicate satisfaction. Send a quick pre-prepared email after a service is delivered; give them a flyer when checking out, a call to action on your thank you page, a follow-up phone call or a simple text message. Don’t be so busy or reserved that this task doesn’t get done. When you have done a magnificent job – requesting a professional endorsement is fine, as long as genuine.

2. Provide options of where to post reviews

It is easy to add links to these places within the body of an email message. With the click of one finger, they can be already directly posting a review. If you just sold a product, built a home, crafted a marketing plan, spoke at a convention or whatever, don’t let asking for feedback and reviews become an afterthought, when it could your well-prepared moment to close the deal on that.

3. Respond to Reviews Quickly

Always say thanks. We have the opportunity to learn from every comment or reaction. Whether a positive one, a ho-hum one, or a negative review, thank the person and genuinely mean it. Invite them to buy an accompanying product or use your services in the future. By expressing appreciation for their time and honesty, you show your professionalism with all who read them. Tactful replies will stand out online and are memorable in the business world.

4. Always seek real and transparent relationships

False reviews, whether left or given, taint this process and eventually surface for the core of what they are. You can steer the visibility your business has online by your own exemplary conduct and responses. When it comes to long-term customer relationship building – everyone needs a big picture focus and patience to build trust over time.

Request a Review from the Right Customers

One of the most underrated and underused tasks many businesses perform well is knowing how to ask boldly for a review. If you have already established personal, transparent communications with your clients, “the ask” will be more natural. Your clients may indeed love your product or service and are more than willing to be doing business with you. However, you’re still not forefront in their day; they are. They may be busy with running their own business; while you must work hard to grow your business. If you are eager to glean online reviews, become more comfortable with how to ask them.

Remember that not all reviews may be positive reviews – and that is what you need. To accomplish that, you need to be asking the correct customers. They are the clients who are benefiting the most from your product. In the end, the best reviews do more than flatter a product; rather, they clearly state why the product is ideal for them and how they benefit. Also, consumer reviews show up on Google Maps and in search local packs. Try to include your client reviews in your Google Posts; watch and measure the difference that they make.

“There is perhaps nothing more important to consumers than seeing the opinions of other consumers about the products and services they are thinking about spending their money on. About 90% of all consumers have read online reviews at some point in the time online.” –

“ Reviews are like word of mouth recommendations but have the added benefit of taking on a viral form of feedback that can virtually reach an audience that extends beyond a friend of a friend. Peer reviews help others make and solidify their purchasing decisions acting as a kind of marketing currency that is provided by your loyal fans.” –

SEO is a critical part of the research process, especially for long sales cycle products. People use search engines to create a list and then use them to collect opinions (reviews) and input and make decisions. 44% of online shopping begins by using a search engine.+ – BrightEdge

Reviews are a Core Part of Your Online Reputation Management

Your online reputation management is an essential job. The trust barometer others have for you can be a decisive factor in evaluating your business, and therefore, a website’s quality. Google guidelines inform us that reputation is a core component of trust. Google judges site quality and a business’s integrity to do business well and whether or not what you state online is true. If you need help repairing negative reviews that impact your reputation, give us a call.

In its help page for managing your online reputation, Google states: “Google search is often the first place people look for information that’s published about you.” Think of the increased amount of digital chatter that goes on.

Today, people are twitting, commenting on social media, writing opinion based articles, friends and business associates tag you in photos, YouTube videos go up – and in the process of when a good dose of personal information goes public. This all may become a part of your business’s digital footprint. Reviews should also be a part of your Google Ads optimization strategy.

If you are finding it challenging to know how to request reviews for your Google My Business Page, call and ask me for guidance. It has been changing as the platform updates. We welcome showing you first hand as a curtsey to being introduced to our services. We all read reviews and often evaluate them carefully before making buying decisions based on them. Machine learning also can align your reviews into PPC advertising. Your potential shoppers and friends are doing the same when they consider your business. Many people carefully exam the reviews before hitting the purchase button. Often, once a buyer sees too many negative reviews, they move on to look at other businesses.

Social Media Powered Rating and Reviews

Social media sharing can be done in a transparent moment of sheer pleasure or frustration. “For content contributors, the benefits of participating in social media have gone beyond simply social sharing to building reputation and bringing in career opportunities and monetary income,” says Wikipedia***. Don’t underestimate social media-powered ratings and reviews. Know what is going on in your digital space; engage quickly and respond favorably to any form of review. That may range from thanking clients for a positive review to making it right if another consumer felt that your product fell short.

Google uses a “world-class sentiment analysis system”; just how or if it is being used as part of the ranking algorithm is unclear. Reviews need to be genuine and posted with the intent to voice a legitimate experience with a company or individual’s product or service. Prospective buyers are influenced to go ahead or step back from a purchase decision by how a previous buyer rated their experience. Once they qualify for aggregated review markup, add your reviews and audit for correct markup.

Research shows Google is the Fastest Growing Review SiteGoogle is the fastest growing review site study by BrightLocal

Rosie Murphy published a January 17, 2018 article titled Comparison of Local Review Sites: Which Platform is Growing the Fastest?

Key Insights:

  • Google is acquiring reviews at the fastest rate – new reviews jumped 278% in 2016 from 2015
  • TripAdvisor is the second fastest-growing review site – an increase of 82% in 2016 (after a decrease of 115% in 2015)
  • Facebook’s sum of user reviews was slow in 2014 and 2015, but then it vastly climbed in 2016
  • Yelp’s review growth has dumbed down since 2014 – but remains in a growth mode
  • Foursquare is the only review site to consistently receive fewer reviews than in the previous year

• Typically businesses accrued fewer new reviews on Facebook in 2016 than previously – suggesting an increase in the lack of engaged reviewers on that platform. TripAdvisor notably gained the newest reviews per business on the platform.

• It is best to research which ‘local’ review places your average customer is using more often. Have your pulse on the percentage of any new reviews your business is gaining or if you experiencing a slowdown of review growth, where and why that is happening.

5 Steps to Handling Online Negative Reviews 5 Steps to Handling Online Negative Reviews Infographic

1. First and foremost, offer an understanding approach.

2. Acknowledge their point of view.

3. Write a response as soon as possible to let the unhappy customer, and the rest of your online audience, know that your business handles client concerns professionally.

4. Keep communications short, simple, soft-spoken, and to the point. After responding digitally wherever it was posted, communicate with your client in person.

5. 5. Honesty is always the best response; then demonstrate your sincerity by offering a special.

How to Manage Negative Business Reviews

As vulnerable as you may feel about being online, remember that the strength of reviews is that they are voluntary and the individual can post what they really feel. That is precisely why others trust reviews. Even if they show up in Google immediate SERPS, it gives you a chance to engage the person and turn things around.

If someone has become known as a challenging customer or negative person who too frequently leaves negative reviews, somewhere that too catches up with them and establishes an online footprint for them, too. If some aspect of the review hits you as is a bit sideways with a complaint, research the person online to learn if they have a reputation problem of complaining when likened to other reviews and outcomes posted. People are “like a box of mixed chocolates”, some leaving an opinion are on the iffy as a person. So if your gut feeling is that something is amiss, stay professional in the way you handle your online reputation; start with this brief investigation.

Another thing that happens, sadly, is that another business who may be feeling pinched could take the rather less ethical approach of attempting to undermine you – as a competitor that they are watching. Some terms often used for negative reviews are words like ‘scam’, ‘fooled’ or ‘rip-off.’ If you are just starting out in a new online business, you have a climb ahead of you and must be on the alert to protect yourself from low trust rating that could impact your domain authority and trust factor.

Never let yourself take a negative review personally and shut-down. Keep all emotions that could pull you off-base in check when it comes to business. Negative reviews actually give you a chance to shine. It may be your ideal moment to be the humble-yet-professional responder that others will admire. If your critic’s delivery lacked diplomacy, you have an even greater chance to show your true personality with a kind and generous statement.

Keep in mind that Aggregate Rated Reviews with markup are essential for attracting new customers.

Garnering online reviews involves the chance to glean insights from what some else may want to tell you, yet lacks the courage to do so in person. We all make mistakes at times, so it is no big deal if the mistake was yours this time. As always, the “deal” is not so the circumstance and how we respond to it.

Be Honest in the Realm of Reviews: Don’t Play Games for Rankings

A Google blog is titled quite clear: “Being bad to your customers is bad for business”. It talks about how they may “expose user reviews and ratings for various merchants alongside their results” Today that is easy to see as rich snippets reveal both the number of reviews and gold star ratings right in search engine result pages (SERPs).

Since there are new business and money to be made behind higher rankings, gaming reviews happens every single day. That is good cause for GoogleBot not to disclose more on how the underlying signals that build trust and online credibility happens. We do know that their data sources include scoping for reviews. It should already go without saying that being bad to customers is bad for business on Google. Good work deserves honest praise. That can be what your reviews are – contributing towards better search results that prove your excellence.

Businesses that offer a legitimate service and sought after products should certainly ensure that they have online reviews and that they’re positive ones.

3 Additional Articles That Reinforce the Value of Online Reviews

Create a sense of credibility for your business by learning more about how to stand out in search results with online reviews.

• Mintel****: Seven in 10 Americans seek out opinions before making purchases – This article discusses how online reviews are relied on more often for consumers in the 25-34 age bracket. So if your target audience largely consists of this tech-savvy age group, it even more important that you build your online reviews. Also, worthy of note is that most survey respondents age 18-54 concur that online reviews are key in their decision-making process.

Your mobile marketing search strategy should include reviews that are relevant to each product or service page.

• Zendesk Survey*****: 90% Of Customers Say Buying Decisions Are Influenced By Online Reviews – Read this article to learn how customer service experiences are put to print in a story format and widely circulated, especially negative reviews, have a significant impact on a business. I am not sure that it is the best reflection of human nature, but this survey states that “95% share bad experiences and 87% share good experiences with others.” This is why you need to be asking how you have performed after your service or product is used. Is it easy to request that if the response is excellent, as for an online review so that others can have the same great user experience.

AdWeek: 81% of Shoppers Conduct Online Research Before Buying – Here is a rich article that posts a number of details around online reviews. 4 of my favorite are:

1. Eighty-one percent of all shoppers surveyed first perform online research before buying.

2. Sixty percent begin by using a search box when seeking the products they want to find.

3. Sixty-one percent will consume product reviews prior to going forward with any purchase.

4. Sixty-nine percent skip making a purchasing if reviews or social media comments indicate that returning a product would be a challenging process.

Go-ahead – Build Online Reviews to Gain the Trust Your Business Deserves

No matter the platform used or method you choose to build up your online reviews, if you sell something, you need to build trust with consumers in order to obtain both new and repeat business. Retail transactions online can have less of a trust factor than when buying in-store or in-person. Yet more than ever shoppers are buying on the Internet. That increases the importance of building a strong business reputation with digital reviews. Respond quickly to all reviews posted on your Google Business Listing. Excellent rapport with customers will help you become known as “the place to buy” in your niche. Customer reviews and endorsements from others are extremely valuable. Reviews can be some of your website’s best content. Many times you might say the same thing, but when it comes from a consumer, naturally, it’s more trusted.

Using the Google My Business platform efficiently to add the benefits of positive online reviews. Hill Web Creations offers ongoing updates to best practices and current trends in what searchers and search engines need that ensure client’s products and customer service reputations are given the accolades they deserve.

Professional services to help companies gain online reviews to establish business credibility and boost sales

Basic Tips for Establishing Business Credibility with Reviews

In summary, the key advice is for businesses to go back to focussing on having a good presence in your local community, good communications, excel in customer service, and offer the best product. It’s the best way to build trust and credibility with customers.

1. Be sure to ask everyone body for a review. Don’t sort who you send requests to by your expectations of it being favorable or negative one. Being consistent and all-inclusive builds brand trust as well as lets you know where you need to improve most.

2. Ask first via a first-party review to get more objective data that you own versus “renting” that data from a third-party review platform. 3rd parties add additional proof that can be powerful – but you don’t own that data platform.

3. Ask regularity, every time you interact with a patient or customer, re-engage on this topic. Ask them how they are doing today. Them you can mix and match where you ask for review placements in your future requests.

4. Consider reviews as a long-term investment. You want an on-going flow of fresh review content to build your product’s worthiness and entities. Add qualify reviews to your product schema markup as you gain them.


Hill Web Marketing is proficient in establishing digital credibility for a business, how to manage Google reviews, grow credibility online, Google My Business account management, and how to make a negative review turn into a good thing. Professional services to help your business gain credible consumer reviews begins at 1,500.00 (Offer ends July 31 2024).

Call Jeannie Hill at 651-206-2410.

Learn how to improve your website’s visibility in our latest post titled: Google SEO Structured Data Markup








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