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January 17, 2020

What is the Ideal Google Star Rating? (Hint: It's Surprisingly Low)

Is 5.0 the Google star rating your business should be shooting for, or is it more complicated? Learn how customers are interpreting different rating levels.

Not all online reviews are created equally.

There are glowing reviews, libelous reviews, straightforward reviews, funny reviews, and more. With Facebook as a notable exception, most review sites run on a five-star scale.

Intuition says that businesses should shoot for a five-star Google star rating every time, right? We’re here to tell you that might not actually be the case in terms of overall online reputation management. Below we discuss what the ideal Google review rating is. 

Let’s start at the bottom.

According to Podium, the lowest rating that consumers consider engaging with is 3.3. That doesn’t mean your business should settle with this subpar rating.

Increasing your rating typically leads to more clicks.

For example, one study found that when businesses improve their rating from 3.5 to 3.7 stars, they saw an increase in engagement (a store visit, phone call, or directions request) by almost 120%

If improving your Google rating leads to more clicks, doesn’t a 5.0 lead to the most clicks?

Actually, no.

According to High-Level Marketing, when there are no negative reviews, 30% of consumers assume the reviews are fake.

It’s important to have a number of imperfect reviews containing feedback or complaints to demonstrate that real customers are sharing their honest opinion.

This, of course, will bring down your score, but that’s okay!

Not only do negative reviews gain the trust of readers, but they can also help your business improve its service and resolve customer concerns. 

With all this in mind, what is the ideal rating?

A study by the Spiegel Research Center determined that ratings of 4.2 - 4.5 are the most trusted.

This is a great goal to aim for, and realistic as well. Mistakes happen in every business in every industry. It’s a waste of time to stress over a single negative review or an unattainable perfect rating.

Instead, focus on providing great service to your customers. Your reviews will reflect your effort. 

Even more important than your rating is the frequency of your reviews. Potential customers are interested in feedback from recent visitors to your store, not those who made a purchase in 2010.

In fact, Brightlocal’s 2019 Local Consumer Review Survey found that 84% of consumers “believe that reviews older than three months aren’t relevant.”

Don’t let the negative review you received last year bother you. Put your attention on collecting reviews from your current, happy customers, and you’ll set yourself up for success. 

To increase your online rating and keep reviews coming in consistently, partner with Widewail. Our review generation product Invite syncs with your point of sale system to automatically send review requests to all of your customers.

We also answer reviews on behalf of your business through our Engage service, working directly with your team to ensure that every customer receives an appropriate and timely response.

This will help improve your rating and increase your review volume; by as much as 12% according to one Harvard Business Review study.

Get your understanding of best practices up to speed or take your skills to the next level with Widewail Academy.


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Jane Garfinkel

I’m a New Jersey native who joined the Widewail team during my brief stint in Burlington. Now living in Jersey City, I currently serve as the Response Team Lead and Content Specialist. My background is in writing and my work has been published by Thrillist, Reductress, McSweeneys, The Rumpus, and more. I occasionally update my own blog No Meat, Some Potatoes, and in my free time I hang out with my dog Jake.

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