Looking to Buy Google reviews? Do this instead (Why You Should Not Buy)
Buying Google reviews might seem very tempting when you are at the initial stage of your business. But you must understand that there are certain major risks associated with doing the same where the benefits it might offer are temporary.
Google has strict guidelines against paid reviews as it considers these reviews as fake because these are not actual customer experiences. There are certain practices that brands can use as an alternative to buying Google Reviews to avoid issues.
We have listed down some of the major reasons why you must not get involved in such practices. We have also listed some alternatives that you might use to increase your Google reviews.
What are Google’s policies against buying Google reviews?
Google has strict policies against buying and obtaining fake reviews, as they undermine the integrity and reliability of the review system. Here are key aspects of Google’s policies related to buying Google reviews:
Google prohibits the creation of fake reviews or any content that misrepresents a business, product, or service. This includes reviews written by the business owner, friends, family, or anyone else with a vested interest in the business.
Google strictly prohibits the buying and selling of fake reviews. This includes any attempt to artificially inflate a business’s reputation through the purchase of positive reviews or the sale of negative reviews.
Offering incentives in exchange for reviews, whether positive or negative, is against Google’s policies. This includes providing discounts, free products, or any other form of compensation.
Businesses are not allowed to offer compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for reviews. This includes purchasing positive reviews or providing incentives to individuals for leaving favorable feedback.
Third-Party Review Services
Using social proof tools that promise to provide positive reviews or boost a business’s online reputation through artificial means is also prohibited.
Review Gating with Compensation
Businesses are not permitted to selectively ask for reviews from customers based on their feedback, especially when compensation or incentives are involved. All customers should have an equal opportunity to leave reviews without being influenced by rewards.
What are the risks involved to a business?
A brand must always avoid buying Google Reviews as it not only impacts their reputation but violates Google Review Policies. Following are some of the significant reasons why it is never a good idea for a brand to buy Google Reviews.
Google Review Policy Violation
Google has always been very clear about its stand on brands buying Google Reviews. They have repeated time after time that they are strictly against paid reviews and there are consequences for brands caught doing so.
The brands might face penalties including removal of purchased reviews, temporary suspension of Google Business Profile, or in some cases permanent removal from search results and Google Maps.
Loss of Credibility
In a world where more than 99% of customers check online reviews before buying a product, the impact of a Google review can be huge. Therefore if a customer sees a positive review on your business profile, it might create certain expectations in their mind.
However, if the review is paid, then the details given in reviews are most likely to be fake. Hence when the customer actually uses your service or product, it will never be as per their expectation, decreasing the credibility of your brand.
Not Effective in Long Term
When you buy Google reviews, it only can change the opinion of a potential customer about your brand. But once the customer experiences your service/ product, they get to find out the actual quality you provide. Ultimately it’s their experience that lasts and if it is not what is mentioned in the reviews, it can be bad for your reputation.
Hence, in the long run, buying Google Reviews will either have no impact at all or will impact negatively.
Genuine customer reviews provide important details about the product or the service of your brand. Brands can use the information provided to enhance their product/service quality and improve customer management.
On the other hand, if there is a paid review, it will never provide any useful information that you can use to get better. This makes the feedback from a paid review unreliable and useless for the brand.
Risk of Negative Exposure
If customers or competitors discover that a business has engaged in the practice of buying reviews, it can lead to negative exposure and public backlash. Such revelations can spread quickly through online communities and social media, amplifying the damage to the business’s image.
Ways to get more Google reviews instead of buying
Enhance Customer Service
Engaging more with the customers and responding to their reviews can motivate others to leave a review on your Google Business Profile. When a brand replies to the customer’s review, it can make the customer feel acknowledged even if the nature review is not positive.
This increases the chances of retention and shows others that the brand is committed to customer satisfaction.
Prioritizing customer satisfaction also helps the brand make its services/ products better, increasing the chances of positive reviews as well.
Simplify Review Process
A brand can ensure the process of the customer reaching the review page is straightforward. Google allows brands to send direct links that they can attach to their emails or on their social media to ask customers to leave a review. Sending a review request with an easy review process significantly increases the chances of a customer leaving one.
Brands have also used innovative ways to direct their customers easily to their Google Review Page such as Displaying QR codes in physical spaces or sending a review request just after the transaction is completed.
One of the most effective ways to organically increase Google Reviews under your name is Email Marketing.
Sending out emails to customers to promote your brand and the amazing services you provide can impact their opinions. Adding a review request at the end of the mail increases the possibility of them leaving a review as their opinion is fresh.
Sending follow-up emails to ensure that the customer leaves a review is also an effective way to considerably increase reviews on your Google Business Profile.
Monitor and Analyze Feedback
Instead of paying for more reviews, brands can focus on understanding and responding to the concerns already raised by the customers. This will help the brand improve and provide better services, eventually increasing the reviews itself.
The brand must monitor the feedback to gain insights that can also help enhance the practices it uses to increase its sales.
Utilize Social Media
Leverage your social media platforms to encourage reviews. Share positive feedback you’ve received and invite your social media followers to share their experiences on Google. Regularly feature positive customer experiences on your social media platforms to increase your brand’s reputation as well as your online presence.
Now that you understand how dangerous it is for your brand to buy Google Reviews, you must look for the best alternative. You can choose from the alternatives provided above to increase Google reviews on your Google Business Profile. Paying for reviews can only be harmful to your business and is never good for the long term.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
It is illegal to buy Google reviews as per the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is responsible for penalizing the ones caught doing so. Buying Google reviews is not legal primarily because it violates various laws and regulations related to deceptive practices, false advertising, and fraud. Hence a brand must stay away from buying Google Reviews.
Google explicitly forbids businesses from compensating individuals, whether through money or other means, in exchange for reviews on its platform. This policy aims to safeguard the credibility and authenticity of reviews, ensuring they truly represent unbiased customer experiences.
Breaching these guidelines may lead to the removal of reviews, suspension of the business listing, or expulsion from Google Maps and search results. Complying with these rules fosters a fair review environment for users seeking accurate information.
Yes, Google employs sophisticated algorithms and manual review processes to identify fake reviews. They analyze patterns, content, and user behavior to detect and remove fraudulent reviews that violate their policies.
Factors such as sudden spikes in review activity, repetitive language, and unnatural review patterns trigger scrutiny. Users are encouraged to report suspicious reviews, aiding in the ongoing effort to maintain the authenticity and reliability of reviews on the platform.