SEO Companies and Fake Google Places Reviews

google reviewsThere’s a growing trend among a lot of SEO companies to use fake reviews on their clients Google+Local Pages. They use third party websites a lot of the time to go to a specific page and leave a review even if they haven’t even been to that place of business. In return, they get paid for the review. For whatever reason now, Google has come out in condemnation of such a practice.


In  an article on the website, they reported, “An 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”.


My problem with this is how would they know that the reviews are fake? Apart from the fact if most of the reviews come from the one IP address, it would be very hard to know. However, if they have their way of knowing, then it had better be a fool proof system because in the past, Google have deleted a lot of genuine reviews. I know this because it happened to this site a few months ago. Quite a few of the reviews were deleted and they were genuine.


The article went on to say, “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”.


Something that many people complain about and that is negative reviews. Google has emphasised and rightly so I think 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”.


This might be a good lesson for anyone who decided to employ an online reputation management company to ‘bury’ some of those negative reviews. If they say to you that they have a working relationship with Google and they can get those reviews deleted, run as far away from that company as possible!


Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics


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