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Google Warns SEO & Businesses to Avoid Fake Reviews

Danny Goodwin
by , Comments

google-localAn update to Google’s spam detection algorithms will grow the number of reviews appearing on some Google+ Local pages. And Google has shared some advice with reviewers, business owners, and SEO professional on how to keep reviews from being deleted.

Google warns business owners that “fake glowing testimonies” written by SEO or reputation management companies will be taken down.

Also, “if a business accepts paper comment cards it might be tempting to collect them and ‘digitize’ them by posting the reviews on Google+ Local,” Google says in its advice for SEOs. “We ask that all reviews come from first hand experience and do not allow posting reviews on behalf of others.”

On a related note, Google advises against companies asking customers to write a review on a computer or tablet located on the business’s premises. Google said businesses should send reminder emails to customers encouraging them to review the business on their own time – just don't go so far as to give free gifts or discounts in exchange for encouraging them to leave positive reviews, Google warned.

Positive reviews on Google+ Local can help attract new customers. But when it comes to negative reviews, Google emphasized that it doesn’t take down negative reviews (unless they violate Google’s guidelines) or work with third-party reputation management companies. Google urged business owners to respond to such reviews and address the reviewer's concerns.

As for reviewers, they should:

  • Write reviews are about one specific location if a business has multiple locations.
  • Not write reviews for a company they currently work for.
  • Not include links in the text of reviews.

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