How to Respond to Reviews

Writing great review responses has the potential to help both your reputation and your Google ranking. Here’s how:

  1. Reputation: Consider every review a conversation starter from your customer. Responding in a friendly, concise way ends your interaction on a high note and reflects your gratitude towards customers. When a new prospect discovers your business online, your positive interactions will give them the confidence to do business with you.
  1. Rankings: Your search engine optimization (SEO) gets a boost when you make it a habit to respond to reviews. Google says that since replying to reviews shows consideration for customer feedback, it can help bump up your ranking in search results. It can also start a cycle of earning you more reviews. According to a Harvard Business Review study, responding to every review can earn a business a 12% increase in their review numbers.

Responding to reviews simply makes your business look better, with 89% of customers reporting they are more likely to choose a business that replies to every review. Replying quickly is now the norm. Review Trackers reports that 53% of consumers expect a response in less than a week and 33% have even higher expectations of a response in less than 3 days.

First, the basics: To reply to a review, log into your Google Business Profile and click “Reviews,” and then “Reply” next to the right review. If you use a reputation management platform like Swell Review, just use your dashboard to reply to reviews.

Keyword Responses Get You More Bang for Your Buck

We’re always shocked to learn how many businesses don’t know they should be using keywords in their replies to get the biggest SEO boost.

What do we mean? Your keywords are simply the terms you think a local searcher might type into Google to find a business like yours. 

For example, if you’re a florist in Charleston and do wedding arrangements, this is your chance to say so. Respond with those keywords: “Thanks for your review! We love doing floral arrangements for local weddings here in Charleston!”

Now, when a nearby bride-to-be searches for a florist, you’re more likely to show up near the top of the page. 

Responding to a Good Review

Replying to positive reviews is an easy chance to use keywords and briefly show your gratitude to the reviewer for helping you out with your reputation.

Positive Review Response Examples:

  • “Thanks so much for taking time to leave us a great review!”
  • “Thank you for sharing that feedback! We’re glad you had a great haircut at our Draper location.”
  • “We’re so happy you enjoyed our scooter tour.”
  • “Thanks for the five star review! We hope we’ll see you at our Cherry Creek shop again soon.”


To sum it up, here’s what to do when you get a great review:

  • Always respond
  • Show gratitude
  • Include keywords when relevant
  • Keep it brief
  • Switch up your wording each time—don’t just copy and paste!

Responding to a Bad Review

It never feels good to get a bad review, but an occasional 1- or 2-star rating won’t sink your business. In fact, 95% of searchers suspect a business is censoring reviews if they only have 5-star reviews.

Some reviewers bring their own petty agenda, but occasionally they might share feedback you can use to improve your business. Either way, replying to their review gives you a chance to show your true colors and win over any future prospects who read the negative review. In a study, 45% of people who read reviews said that by responding to every negative review, a business could make them more likely to visit.

Negative Review Response Examples:

  • “Thanks for sharing your experience. We’re really sorry to hear about this and we’d like to discuss how we can make it right. Please give us a call at 123-456-7890 so we can figure out a solution.”
  • “Thanks for sharing a review. It’s important to us that our customers feel respected in every interaction and it sounds like we missed the mark.” 
  • “We’re sorry your appointment didn’t start on time. We’ve taken your feedback into account and will be using a new system to make sure no appointments start late.”
  • “We’re sorry to see your review. Is there anything we can do to make it right? Our email inbox is open at business@bestbusinessever.com and we’d love to continue the conversation there.”

To sum it up, here’s what to do when you get a bad review:

  • Give yourself time to cool down first
  • Focus on your business values
  • Stay polite
  • Encourage a one-on-one talk to resolve the issue
  • If you can, reach out privately to discuss with the reviewer
  • You don’t have to apologize for something you don’t agree with, but a review response isn’t the place to get into a heated debate

Replying to a new review should only take a minute and it can mean a lot to your reviewer and blunt the impact of a negative review by 70%. Get in the habit of writing a quick response to every review and you’re on track to an online presence that stands out.

Get a demo to see how Swell helps you collect so many 5-star reviews you won’t be losing sleep over a few bad ones.

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