Online reviews are an integral part of an online reputation management campaign. The whole campaign revolves around the online reviews. They are no less than gold. Here are the pros of having the good Google reviews.
Elevates the customer’s trust
Promotes your business for free
Brings in customers
Strengthens consumer relationships
Improves Brand awareness and Brand loyalty
Customers do not hesitate to pay more
However, gaining positive Google reviews is difficult. A business owner has to put a lot of efforts. Most of the time it is time consuming. To gain quick positive reviews, some business owners think to buy Google reviews, which can be lethal for their online reputation. There are no shortcuts in online reputation management. If you are thinking to buy Google reviews, you must consider the following facts.
1. Paid reviews are against Google guidelines.
Well, that is obvious. Why would any review platform allow a business to buy reviews? People read reviews to know the post buying experience. They expect a review platform to have genuine reviews. Some paid reviews put the credibility of the rest of the reviews at risk. That is the reason why buying reviews is against the rules of all the review platforms.
When it comes to Review Guidelines, Google is strict. Violating any guidelines can put you at a huge risk. Google actually can take down your business listing for buying reviews. Your small shortcut for establishing a quick reputation might put an end to everything. Here are the types of content that are prohibited and restricted on the Google Reviews. Read them carefully and be on the good side.
2. Buying reviews is illegal.
Yes, that is one hundred percent true. Not many know that purchasing reviews is against the law in many countries. Government bodies are set up to fight against the paid reviews. Doing any such activity can land you and your business in huge trouble.
In United Kingdom, we have a government department called CMA, which stands for Competition and Markets Authority. It is a non-ministerial government department and has the sole purpose of strengthening business competition, and preventing & reducing anti-competitive activities. Clearly, this government department considers buying of fake reviews as anti-competitive practice.
Similar to United Kingdom, in United States, there is Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which works in similar fashion and fights against the buying and selling of online reviews.
3. Consumers are smart.
Consumers are generally good at spotting fake Google reviews posted by business owners to establish an excellent reputation. They are the ones who read the reviews regularly. They come to know when the review is not posted the real customer. Only a customer can understand the language, behavior, concern and mood of the other customer.
If a customer thinks, you have fake reviews, you will lose the trust of the customer. As a result, a customer will opt your competitor. The worst part is that genuine reviews which you have earned by giving good customer services will go waste. A couple of fake reviews will kill the credibility of the whole business which you are running from several years. Is it worth the risk? You should ask this most important question to yourself.
4. Google can detect fake reviews.
Google Reviews has become the most successful review platform for a reason. People trust Google Reviews and the reviews on it. It is the responsibility of Google to maintain the people’s trust. Therefore, it has developed very powerful algorithms to detect fake reviews. These algorithms are regularly updated by the search engine giant to make them more and more effective. Here are some of the examples how Google identifies fake reviews.
Large number of reviews posted within a short period of time.
Large number of reviews posted via one computer, mobile or tablet.
Several reviews posted from an inactive Google account.
Quality of the reviews left on the other business listings.
Well, these are just the basic. Google uses numerous other factors to determine whether the review posted is fake or genuine. If found guilty, Google may filter all the forged reviews or take down your listing.
5. Buying fake reviews will destroy the feedback loop.
Reviews play an important role in a business feedback loop. It contains vital information about how you can improve your business. With that information, you can do some changes in your business to make it better. After that, again your customers will leave the reviews, and again the cycle continues. With each cycle, your business becomes one step closer to perfection.
If you are buying reviews, you will not know what your customers are liking in your business. As a result, you will not know how to improve your business. Such situation is a great opportunity for your competitors to leave you behind and capture the market. In short, your feedback loop will be completely destroyed. As a business owner, you will have to take help of trial-and-error method. While doing so, errors committed will bring you negative Google reviews, which will further damage your reputation.
6. Customers might mention the incentive.
Customers are usually not aware of the consequences of posting fake Google reviews. They also are not aware of how to write a fake review that looks real. They might mention the incentive, which you gave them. Let us take an example.
Let us say a customer writes, “Burger Houze makes the best burger in the city. They gave me one burger free for leaving a review. Wow! That is amazing.” Now the people who read this review will conclude that the business owner is buying reviews by giving incentives to the customers. Consequently, they will not trust you and abandon your site.
To encourage your customers to leave a review you can adopt some other good methods For instance, you can pick some random reviewers, including the negative reviewers, and declare them as winners. Next, you can offer some discount coupon for the winners as the prize.
Conclusion: Earn Your Positive Google Reviews
Instead of buying reviews in order to improve your online reputation, conversation and ranking, develop online reputation management strategies or take professional help from an online reputation management company. Buying reviews is a huge risk, and it is not worth it. Yes, building reputation takes time. However, adopting natural methods is safe, and they give long-lasting results.
Keep following the online reputation management best practices, even when you have a good online brand image. An ongoing online reputation management campaign is a great way to guard your hard-earned reputation from future attacks.