Nobody likes receiving a bad review. Not only does it sting a little bit, but as all business owners know, it has the potential to directly affect how many calls you receive – your reputation is at stake!

On top of all of that however, negative reviews also have another, lesser-known problem: they can harm your tradie SEO strategy.

Unfortunately, sometimes negative reviews are simply unavoidable.

Take heart, however: all is not lost! With the proper response, you can minimise the damage and potentially even turn things around.

First thing’s first: how will negative reviews impact your SEO?

You and your tradie marketing agency have spent months and months refining your tradie SEO strategy. You’ve slowly been climbing the search results. You’re starting to see the results.

And then you get a negative review.

As you know, reviews impact your search engine rankings. Naturally, you start to panic: is this going to set your tradie SEO back months? Will people start calling your competitors instead?

Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world.

In fact, in some instances, a bad review can actually improve your rankings, believe it or not!

Here’s how…

Negative reviews increase total reviews

“Quantity has a quality of its own.”

While the history books are a bit divided on who actually said that (contenders include Napoleon), one thing that isn’t in doubt is its relevance to your Google reviews.

Google prioritises local businesses with good reviews, it’s true. However, another thing you mightn’t have noticed is that it also looks at how many reviews a business has too.

Google takes the total number of reviews as proof of your business’ credibility. As long as your average score doesn’t take a nose-dive, you should be in the clear.

Negative reviews increase your credibility

Who do you trust: one single 5-star review, or a dozen of them?

Let’s face it, when we see nothing but glowing 5-star reviews, we get a little bit suspicious – it’s simply too good to be true. In fact, according to Harvard University, it’s the middle-of-the-road reviews that are the most persuasive and helpful!

Google operates on a similar principle.

A greater variance in review scores (assuming your average is still positive, of course) appears to have the greatest effect on your long-term page rankings. In Google’s eyes, it’s “more authentic” – your site may therefore see better results than a competing tradie with suspicious 5-star reviews.

Google knows that even the best businesses get bad reviews

Maybe a part you used broke on its own. Perhaps you’ve encountered an unexpected complication mid-job, and wound up taking much longer than initially expected. It could be as simple a stubborn or overly-demanding homeowner!

Whatever the cause, even the best tradies get a bad review here or there.

Google knows that it’s simply unavoidable. Thus, it won’t punish bad reviews unless your business is earning a consistent stream of 1 or 2-star scores.

SEO tradie

So you’ve gotten a bad review – what now?

A bad review doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Like we mentioned above, the occasional negative review can actually be good for your SEO.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can get away with sitting by idly!

So, how can tradies handle negative reviews in a way that protects their reputations and doesn’t affect their SEO strategy?

Act and respond immediately

It’s tempting to ignore the problem and hope it goes away. Take it from us, however: waiting days or weeks to respond to a negative review (or worse, not acting at all) is a bad look for you.

Instead, you’ll want to respond and offer a remedy immediately.

We suggest rifling through job sheets and investigating the specific issues raised by the reviewer. Armed with this information, you’ll want to get back to the reviewer as soon as possible with a fix.

When contacting the reviewer, we also suggest responding directly to the reviewer as a reply. This way, you make it clear to casual browsers that you’ve taken action.

Apologise right off the bat

Apathy is a bad way to respond to a bad review. Just as bad is pride.

Being defensive will not only create a bad image, but will also show how poorly you respond to problems. Needless to say, that’s the last thing a customer wants when looking for a tradie to fix up their home!

We suggest apologising immediately. Even if you’re certain the fault doesn’t lie with your team or workmanship, an immediate apology can go a ways towards neutering any negative response you may have received.

Another good idea is to follow up by offering to fix the problem for them. This demonstrates your customer service (something that tradies stereotypically aren’t known for) and shows other customers that even if something goes wrong, you’ll stick around to help.

Follow up and ask for the negative review to be amended

So the customer has accepted your apology, you’ve come in and fixed the problem and everything’s fine now.

There’s just one problem: the negative review is still up!

You can only file to have a review taken down if you can prove that it’s false or misleading. Luckily, you aren’t completely out of options.

After you’ve rebuilt your bridges and fixed the client’s problem, the question becomes what to do about the negative review that’s still up.

Obviously, you can’t force the customer to take down or edit their review. However, you can ask politely – fingers crossed, you coming back to fix the problem will be enough to convince them to amend their review to a more positive one.

Need help with your tradie digital marketing?

If so, iformat can help!

Our specialty is getting you more leads, phone calls and jobs. Using proven and effective techniques, we build tailored tradie marketing strategies that get you found online and raise your profile:

On top of that, we also help tradies like yourself with advice on other parts of your tradie marketing, including positioning, CRM management and yes, handling negative reviews.

Contact iformat today at 1300 88 6450 or fill in the form and we’ll get back to you ASAP!