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What is online review management

What is Online Review Management?

Everything you need to know to manage online reviews and maintain your brand’s reputation

Quick summary
  • Online review management is the process of monitoring reviews across all platforms and taking action to reply, report fakes and resolve complaints
  • Responding to reviews is important and can actually lead to a boost in both review quantity and quality
  • Keeping track of your online reviews is no small task, so larger businesses with multiple locations leverage review management software to lighten the load

Why is online review management important?

Online review management means taking care of reviews that come in through external platforms such as Google Business Profile, Facebook and Yelp.

According to Harvard Business Review, actively replying to reviews can result in a 12% increase in the number of reviews you receive, as well as a 0.12 rating boost on a scale of 1 to 5.
Analysts believe the reason for this is that people are more inclined to criticize a business online if they feel there’s no one on the other end of the conversation, but when they see responses, they think twice about an overly negative complaint.
Reviewers who are ignored might even take their complaints to other platforms and further impact your brand’s online reputation.
Customers today rely on peers to report their experiences with brands in online reviews to help them make decisions about where to spend their hard-earned cash.
Positive reviews look great on your website too, and you can use widgets to embed ratings from your preferred platform at crucial conversion points.
Good online review management will attract testimonials you can use on your website to boost conversions
Good online review management will attract testimonials you can use on your website to boost conversions
Reviews not only impact how people perceive your business, but they can also boost your local SEO rankings (you can track this using Semrush’s Review Management tool), so it pays to have a solid online review management strategy in place.
Online review management is a vital part of protecting your brand’s online reputation, so it’s important that whoever is in charge of it knows what they’re doing and how best to respond.

How to manage online reviews

You’ll want to reply to each review individually and ideally reference something they said so the user knows you genuinely care.
Make up a document with a few responses to typical reviews that you can tweak to save time, but don’t copy/paste the same canned response so it feels like they’ve engaged with a bot.
Drawing up a series of reply templates can also help you in tricky situations where you don’t quite know what to say. Consult your legal or management team about especially sensitive topics like discriminatory behaviour from staff or payment disputes.
Respond to all reviews, including the negative ones. The occasional two- or even one-star review is to be expected, but leaving them unanswered doesn’t look professional and opening the line of dialogue may result in the user changing their mind and editing it later.
Your responses must be professional. If the review upsets you, maybe take a break before you reply so you can do so with a cool head.

How to respond to reviews in Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile Manager interface for online review management
Google Business Profile Manager interface for online review management
  • Log into Google Business Profile.
  • In Google Business Profile Manager, select Reviews in the left menu.
  • From here, you can view and respond to all your Google Business Profile reviews.
If you’d prefer not to log in to each platform separately, Semrush’s Review Management tool lets you reply to all reviews in one simple interface.

How to create an online review management strategy

The first step is to decide which platforms you're going to focus on. With so many places for customers to leave online reviews, you’ll struggle to keep track of all of them.
Google Business Profile and Facebook are two of the most important places you’ll want your business reviewed. Add some industry-specific sites to your list (TripAdvisor for travel businesses, for example) and some local directories for brick and mortar businesses or those that serve a specific geographical area.
Location and hotel highlights on Tripadvisor
Location and hotel highlights on Tripadvisor
Next, decide how frequently you’re going to check each platform. You should get an email notification for new reviews coming in if you have an active profile on the platform, but they’re easy to miss, so it’s worth looking in periodically (or leveraging Semrush’s Review Management tool to save time and see everything in one place).
If you’re going to be the one to manage online reviews yourself, make sure you have a clear set of documents drawn up so that if the job has to be handed over to someone else, it'll be clear how to pick up where you left off.
You’ll also need to make review generation part of your online review management strategy. This is mostly just a process of reaching out to customers and asking for a review; you’ll be surprised by how many people are happy to do it!

How do I report fake and inaccurate reviews?

It’s not just your customers you need to keep an eye on, you’ll also need to report false and malicious reviews from competitors.
Google, for example, has a long list of reasons it might suppress a review, including harassment, fake engagement and explicit content.

If you think a review you’ve received qualifies for removal, you can report it:

  • Log into Google Business Profile.
  • In Google Business Profile Manager, select Reviews in the left menu.
  • Find the review you want to report.
  • Click the three dots and select “Report review”.
  • Choose the reason it violates Google’s policy.
  • Wait a few days for Google to get back to you with a verdict.
Remember: You can only report reviews that infringe Google’s policy, you can’t remove bad reviews from Google Business Profile just because you don’t like it.

How to set up Google reviews for my business

You can’t manage online reviews if you haven’t got any to manage, so let’s run through the basics of how to set up Google reviews.
First, you’ll want to get control of your Google Business Profile. If your profile already pops up on Google Search or Google Maps (this may have been auto-created by Google or perhaps set up by a former employee) you simply need to claim it.

How to claim your Google Business Profile

  1. Find your profile by searching your business name in Google Search.
  2. Underneath your basic information, click “Claim this business” or “Own this business?”
  3. Follow Google’s verification instructions.

How to set up a new Google Business Profile

No sign of your business on Google yet? Then you’ll need to go ahead and create a profile.
  1. Head to the homepage and click “Manage now”.
  2. Sign in with your Google account.
  3. Fill out all your business’ details.
  4. Follow Google’s verification instructions.
Tip: If you want to get the ball rolling a bit quicker, you can get your Google review link before you’ve been verified as the owner of your business.
Stuck? Check Semrush’s complete guide on how to add your business to Google for a more in-depth explanation.
Remember: Once you’ve set up your Google Business Profile, connect it to Semrush’s Review Management tool to quickly check its consistency with your other listings. Plus, you can manage your online reviews in one place!
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Using Semrush’s Review Management tool to manage online reviews

As you’ve probably gathered, manual online review management is pretty time-intensive and, let’s be honest, a tedious task with plenty of room for errors if you’re not 100% on top of things.
But with Semrush’s Review Management tool, you only need to check in with one website to manage all your reviews so you can rest assured you're all up to date.

Stay current with all your reviews

You can set alerts to check all the different review platforms or rely on notifications, but that doesn’t quite get you genuine peace of mind that you didn’t let a single review go unanswered.
Semrush’s Review Management tool lets you respond to reviews on Facebook and Google right from its interface, but also gives you the ability to monitor and get notified of reviews from other directories.
Plus, the Reply Rate widget shows you a satisfying “100%” mark when you’re done, so you know every review has been replied to and your online review management work is complete.
Respond to reviews and monitor listings from 80+ directories with Semrush´s Review Management tool.

Get a true reading of how you’re doing

Ditch the unwieldy spreadsheets and tedious data entry!
Semrush’s Review Management tool lets you gauge what all your reviewers are feeling about your business in one place with Sentiment Analysis.
Discover the most common words people are using in their reviews and the way they’re writing about them with a simple assessment from “poor” to “wow”.
Gauge what your reviewers are saying and feeling about your business with Semrush´s Review Management sentiment tab.

Widen your online review management strategy

With Semrush’s Review Management tool, it’s easier to expand the number of platforms you focus on in your online review management strategy.
Not only can you monitor and be notified of reviews across several platforms, but you can also make sure all your business information is up to date so users know they’re in the right place.
And if the tool alerts you to duplicate profiles that might confuse people, you can suppress them in one click (rather than having to log in to each platform and report each incident).
With Semrush´s Review Management tool businesses can make sure their information is up to date accross platforms with a single interface.

See how your online reviews boost visibility

Great online review management doesn’t just build trust with customers and increase conversions, it directly impacts your local SEO tool
Track your local SEO positions and understand the role your reviews play in your journey to the number one spot.
For the ambitious marketer, Heatmap shows you a visual representation of your search data so you can learn exactly where users are looking for businesses like yours.
Boost your organic traffic with great reviews, and monitor your SEO position with our Local Ranking feature.
Still have questions about online review management? We’ve got answers!
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