Would you go to a sushi restaurant with three stars on Google? How about a sushi restaurant with two and a half stars? One star? If your answer is “it depends,” you’re onto something. Maybe the one star sushi restaurant only has one review and it’s because service was slow on the restaurant’s grand opening day. Maybe the three star sushi restaurant has 300+ reviews and great food but the location is kind of a dive and there’s always a wait. Similarly, a five star sushi restaurant could have only a few reviews for the most popular sushi rolls.

Still with me? Stars are important, but they really don’t tell the whole story. What’s arguably more important? The number of reviews a business has. I want to eat at the sushi restaurant with five stars AND 800 reviews. No matter what business you’re in, whether it’s sushi or self storage, your Google reviews are vital to the success of your business.

Guy walking his bike by a black and white mural.

Why do Google reviews matter?

Online reviews are huge when it comes to bringing in new customers. A survey from Review Trackers found that 97 percent of consumers research online before making local shopping decisions. Another survey by Search Engine Land found that 90 percent of people trust online reviews as much or more than personal recommendations.

Google My Business reviews (or Google reviews) are just the reviews displayed by Google next to verified businesses. Google reviews are separate from both Yelp reviews and Facebook reviews. (Sigh. So many reviews to manage right? If you’re sick of the juggling act, click here.) Google reviews display a star rating, photos, and customer testimonials. Google reviews can appear next to your listing in Maps, Search, Google+ and other Google services.

Basically anywhere your business appears on Google, your reviews follow it. If your business appears in the 3-pack (the top three local search results), your business’ star rating and number of reviews will appear below it. With the most recent update, customers can even filter by reviews on Google so that all businesses with less than four stars are removed from their local search listings.

Google pulled up on Macbook.

How to view your current Google My Business reviews:

If you’re new to Google reviews, have no fear. You can follow these steps to get started and check out what people are saying (or not saying) about your business on Google.

  1. Verify your business. All you need to do is sign up for Google My Business (don’t worry, it’s free) and follow the steps to verify your business listing. You might already see your business listed on Google. To verify and claim it, Google audits your information and mails a verification code to the mailing address associated with your business. Because of the mailing address verification, the process takes about a week.

  2. Read all your reviews. After your business has been verified, you can sign in and check out your reviews. If you have multiple facility locations, you can sort your reviews by your business locations.

  3. Reply to reviews. If you wish to respond to certain reviews, that process is easy, too. It’s not possible to reply to reviews in bulk, but we don’t recommend doing that, anyway.

  4. Flag and fix inappropriate reviews. If you find a review that you believe is for the wrong business, is spam, or violates Google review policies, you can flag it for removal using these steps.

  5. Get your star rating to show up. If your Google star rating isn’t showing up in search or maps, it might be because you don’t have enough reviews. Google requires five or more reviews to begin displaying star ratings and review information in search results. So go out there and get more reviews! (Read on to learn how.)

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How to get more reviews (and boost your rating!)

The law of averages says that future events are likely to balance out any past deviation from a presumed average. Non-statistical translation: If your self storage facility is great (presumably) but a customer one-starred your facility, your future reviews will eventually balance it out and move the needle back toward five stars.

The solution to fix negative customer reviews is to just get more positive reviews. Positive reviews will bring up your star average and show potential customers that you fixed the problem referenced in the past one-star review. It’s that simple! Now, how to get more reviews? To make it super easy, here are some templates you can use to ask customers for reviews.

When a tenant thanks you over the phone or in person, ask for a review.

“Thank you so much for your feedback. I’d really love it if you shared your experience publicly through a Google review. If you type in YourBusinessName.com/Google into your web browser, it will take you to our review page.”

When a tenant thanks you via email or text message, ask for a review.

Email template for asking for reviews.

When you print or send documents to your tenants, ask for a review at the bottom.

Would you recommend us to your friends? Leave a review at YourBusinessName.com/Google to let us know how we're doing.

Reviews require continuous effort, but by getting just two new reviews per month, you'll appear more relevant to potential customers online and have over 20 recent reviews in under a year. Check out these tips for even more creative ways to get more reviews for your business.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you may also like: 4 Ways to be Successful at Online Reviews and Business Listings, How to Deal with Negative Customer Reviews, and Why It’s Important to Encourage Renter Reviews.