As a small business owner, you also understand that good reviews are imperative to winning new customers.

Now, it looks like Google is planning a new SERP feature to get your products/services in front of keen customers called find places through reviews.

How would it work, and what does it mean for your business? Well, all that remains unclear for the moment. However, I can share what we know and explain why reviews are vital to your business.

Let’s get started.

Gonzalez stated that the image appeared when she was looking for a local vet. As you can see, find places through reviews does pretty much what it says on the label.

You’d enter the search term, and relevant reviews from local companies appear.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

I can certainly see the advantages of putting a search term in Google, getting instant reviews, and then clicking through to my preferred business/service, can’t you?

Now, assuming the find places through reviews become a firm feature, what does this mean for your business, and what can you do to prepare for it?

‘When you reply to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and their feedback. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location.’

I’ll look more at the importance of answering reviews later, but let’s just park that there for now.

Second, let me share a stat with you.

If you’ve ever wondered whether reviews matter to your business, Brightlocal’s research should leave you in no doubt, especially considering the role Google plays.

Here are some more stats to get your head around.

Analysis from Review Trackers estimates that 75 percent of new business is influenced by a handful of business review sites, and you don’t get any prizes for guessing which one dominates.

Now all of that tells me your Google business profile reviews will become even more important than they already are.

With a feature flagging what others are saying about you online when people look for a local business, positive feedback is imperative.

In the above section, I stressed how important Google reviews are to your business. Here, I focus on some best practices you can apply.

This is review management 101.

According to research from Uberall, larger global businesses respond to just nine percent of reviews.

Want another reason to answer reviews? OK then. How does an increase in conversion rates grab you? Uberall also found that conversion rates (clicks on phone numbers, driving directions, and websites) increased measurably when companies answered.

When responding to reviews, always:

Signs that a review could be fake/fraudulent include:

You can also check your database to see if the reviewer is a customer of yours.

The quicker you respond to reviews, the better. Customers almost always appreciate a speedy response, especially if it’s to their negative feedback.

According to Review Tracker’s research, 53 percent of customers expect a response to negative reviews within a week, while 1 in 3 expects a response within three days or less.

Check your Google My Business account regularly to see what people write, then answer and thank them.

If the review isn’t so positive, don’t worry, there’s plenty you can do.

Dealing with negative reviews is something every business owner has to face at some point. However, as Google states, responding helps with trust-building, and there’s a simple reason why: it shows there’s a person behind the brand that cares what people think, and it humanizes your business.

Responding politely to negative feedback and offering possible solutions to solve the problem also demonstrates professionalism and that you’re keen to put things right.

Additionally, if you feel the review is unfair, replying gives you the chance to give your side of the story, and if the feedback is justified, responding positively and taking it onboard shows your business is willing to learn and improve.

It’s a new feature that Google is testing to enable searchers to find a local business through online reviews. 

To get the most from your reviews, encourage customers to leave them, send them a link to make it easier, include relevant keywords in responses, and add the reviews to your website.

If a review is fraudulent, Google has a removal request option where you can report a potential violation.

It seems Google is testing a ‘find places through reviews’ feature. A few SEOs have shared Tweets about it, and the feature appears to be a great addition to local search.

There’s limited information, so it’s hard to tell what this addition would mean for businesses and the impact it would have on them.

What would find places through reviews mean for your business?