Google reviews are one of the signals that the search engine uses to select the most relevant results for local searches. As a result, all businesses are looking for any possible way of collecting as many positive reviews as possible. And where there is demand, offers sprout overnight. You may have stumbled upon offers to buy hundreds of Google reviews at an affordable cost. We understand that you were tempted at first to take the offer.
However, we also congratulate you if you resisted the temptation. Unfortunately, many business owners found out the hard way that buying fake Google reviews was one of the worst decisions they made. In this article, we want to offer you a complete guide to understanding the mechanism behind Google reviews. We will show you why you must never buy fake reviews and how to ask for genuine positive reviews from your customers.
What Is Wrong with Buying Fake Google Reviews?
First of all, buying reviews is dishonest. You are asking people who never bought your products to praise them. This is morally wrong and we know that you are an honest business owner.
We understand that, as you’ve just started in business, your company does not have many customers, so you do not have many reviews on your Google My Business listing. However, fake reviews will not make your business popular and will not boost your page rank.
In reality, you will be digging a deep pit for your business, and it will be very hard to crawl back to surface. Here is why you must never buy fake Google reviews (or any fake reviews at all):
1. It Is Illegal
The Competition and Consumer Act of Australia enacted in 2010 specifically requires businesses to monitor their positive reviews and make sure that they are factual. Moreover, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has the authority to fine companies that do not remove fake or misleading reviews.
There are several legal precedents in this respect, including the case of a woman who was taken to court for a fake negative review and was ordered to pay AUD 530,000 in damages. In a separate case, a company was fined AUD 6,000 for failure to remove fake reviews.
In conclusion, fake Google reviews are against the law and both parties are liable, so it is a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.
2. Google Will Find You Out – and Penalise You
Let us assume your fake reviews manage to pass under the radar of the ACCC. However, you will not be so lucky with Google. The search engine monitors automatically each review being posted and removes them if they appear to be fake.
As per Google’s policy: “Reviews are automatically processed to detect inappropriate content like fake reviews and spam. We may take down reviews that are flagged in order to comply with Google policies or legal obligations.”
That is not all. You will not only lose the reviews you paid for, but you will also see your page rank dropping dramatically. Your site will be bumped down in all search results, no matter how hard you work on your SEO strategy.
3. People Can Spot Fake Reviews
Fake reviews are not only untrue, but also poorly worded. They do not offer useful information. They do not say anything about the experience of buying from your business or the benefits of the products. You will get a 5-star rating and “Great product!” Honestly, would you trust a business, if these are all the types of reviews you can find on their GMB profile?
Also, fake reviews are spotted easily because there is no match between the user’s location and the business location. If someone living in Bangladesh or India reviews a restaurant in Perth, a hairdresser in London and a chiropractor in New York in the span of a week, one of two things can be said about them: they discovered the teleportation technology or they are lying. Which one is more likely?
What to Do Instead: Ask for Honest Positive Reviews!
Instead of spending money and risking your business reputation, you should focus your efforts on encouraging actual customers to leave positive Google reviews. There are so many ways in which you can collect real reviews, which will truly be helpful and determine other people to buy your products.
Here are just a few ways in which you can achieve this:
1. Send an Email Blast Asking for Feedback
You can send an email to all your subscribers, asking them to give feedback on your business. You will probably receive mixed reviews, but they are all useful, because you can evaluate the customers’ overall feeling towards your business.
Select the best replies and ask the respective users to help you out by posting a public review on your GMB profile. If they took the time to reply to your email, they will accept to post a review.
2. Send Personalised Emails to Your Most Loyal Customers
You already know who your best customers are. They keep buying from you and they interact with your social media accounts a lot. Create a personalised email for each of them, asking them to leave a Google review for your business.
The email can have the same text, but address users by their name and remember to use pronouns correctly!
3. Ask for a Google Review after Each Completed Order
When you send the Thank You note after a purchase, add one more line to the email, asking the customer to leave a review on your Google My Business profile. This is the best moment to ask for a review, because the client has already received your products and experiences the initial excitement of using them.
4. Ask for Reviews on Your Website
Many websites include a direct request for users to leave a review, sharing links to all their profiles: on Google, Yelp, Amazon, etc. The placement of this invitation to review varies. Some websites display the message on the “About Us” page, while others add it at the end of the Testimonials page.
As you can see, there are so many ways in which you can get real and honest positive Google reviews. With patience and doing a great job at keeping your customers happy, you will see lots of great reviews on your Google My Business profile. Good luck!