Penalties are heavy for fake Google reviews
Businesses are always looking for ways to get more visibility and gain success and Google Reviews is one of the best ways to get both.
If you are reading this article because you are considering purchasing Google Reviews for your business, we will save you the trouble of reading the rest with a quick answer – don’t do it.
If you want to learn more about why buying Google Reviews is illegal and in the long run will hurt your reputation, read on.
Buying reviews is illegal
First, it is illegal to buy Google reviews according to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC). According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) article “FTC Puts Hundreds of Businesses on Notice about Fake Reviews and Other Misleading Endorsements” they are now using a Penalty Offense Authority and have sent a Notice of Penalty Offenses to more than 700 companies that could incur significant civil penalties -up to $43,792 per violation.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
– Warren Buffet
Google will remove all reviews – even authentic ones
Google has been cracking down on businesses who buy reviews from third parties and will remove every review, even the positive authentic ratings if they find out that you have been buying them. For small businesses, this could be a huge mistake.
If you have gained real and authentic reviews, don’t risk losing those reviews. Every honest review is a testament to your business and reputation.
Buying reviews kills SEO traffic
If you pay for Google Reviews and they are discovered by Google, your company will be drastically penalized. This means that Google will block your ability to rank, which can really hurt your business – permanently.
SEO strategies and company rankings can take months, if not years to build up. As your company works to rank with quality content, authentic backlinks, and keywords, it all can be ruined by a couple of fake reviews and is not worth it.
Google Reviews can be such a valuable asset to a business and their SEO. Working on both of those strategies authentically can impact your business’s reputation in positive ways to help you boost your industry authority, create leads, and build your customer base.
Interested in SEO for your business? Here are 5 SEO Tips You Can Do Right Now.
Google’s reviews rules
- Reviews can’t contain illegal, plagiarized or copied content.
- Content must not violate Google’s content policy.
- No advertising, spam or fake reviews.
- No off-topic or secondhand reviews.
- No conflicts of interest such as reviewing your own business.
How to get unpaid reviews
For many small businesses, it can feel uncomfortable to ask current/past clients or customers for reviews. It can feel self-serving and weird. This is one of the many reasons that businesses often want to look at other ways to acquire reviews, like purchasing them from a third party.
Understand that most people, even those not in business, appreciate the value of Google Reviews. Ask yourself, as a consumer, when you are thinking about working with or using a business for its services if Google Reviews plays a part in your research and choice of who to work with. If you say yes, then it’s easy to see the value of reviews as well as why most of your customers or clients will be able to better understand why you are asking.
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Here are a couple of tips on asking for reviews:
- When you ask for reviews, do not bribe, offer anything for free, or provide an incentive for reviews. This is manipulation. This is frowned upon by Google.
- Don’t ask for a positive review. This is also a form of manipulating the system. Asking for a review means letting your client or customer write about their experience and be open to it being good or bad. If you do not feel that you will get a good review then don’t ask.
- Be direct and honest. Let them know what reviews mean to your business and ask them if they would leave a review of their experience.
- Give them a direct link to your Google Business Page. Make it easy on them to leave a review (directions on how to do that below)
Example Google review request
Give them a direct link to review your business
When sending a request for a review it is important to give the person the direct link to leave a review quickly and fast. We live in a time when everyone is very busy. The easier you make it for your clients and customers to leave a review the more likely they will do it.
How to create and share a Google reviews link
- Go to your Google My Business Dashboard
- Locate “Get More Reviews”
- Click on “Share Review Form Button”
Respond to Google reviews (good & bad)
When you get a review, nurturing your client or customer does not just stop there. Making sure that you promptly respond to all negative and positive reviews is very important.
If a review is bad, quick damage control can help to maintain a good reputation. Everyone makes mistakes, even businesses and when we own those mistakes and try to make them right it can help us to gain back the respect of a disgruntled client or customer.
Also, when someone leaves you a good review, it is just as important to share an appreciation for the time taken to leave your business a good review. According to Reviewtrackers online reviews statistics, 80% of consumers believe that a company cares about them when someone from the management team responds to their review. Unfortunately, 63% say that a business never responds to their feedback.
Use your google reviews on other sites
Google reviews that you earn authentically are social proof of your business and build an online reputation. Some people do not realize that they can use those reviews in other places, like their very own website. If you earned those reviews, they are your reviews to share.
Take a peek at our reviews section on Rise Visible where we share our Google Reviews on our website as social proof of the quality of our work and services. You can do the same!
You can also make them into graphics and share them on social media or add them to your newsletters. When you get raving reviews, share them as much as you can. You worked hard to get them, you deserve to share them!
Conclusion: get authentic reviews
Don’t buy google reviews for your business – it’ll ruin your reputation in the long run. If you want to see results from Google, focus on improving your SEO, local listing, and providing good quality service where you can ask current and past customers to give you an authentic and quality review.
Building authentic reviews will help build you a reputation as a business and your reputation is one of the most important assets to any business.
If you need help strategizing a way to get authentic Google Reviews for your company, set up a FREE Consultation!