Google’s New Spam Detection Update for Reviews: What It Means for Your Business

Internet Marketing February 15th, 2013

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Google's New Spam Detection Update for Reviews: What It Means for Your Business

Having a solid lineup of reviews is a great way to give your company some credibility. Companies have a motive for trying to make themselves look good, but those reviewing a company usually don’t. This makes reviews one of the biggest considerations that customers take into account when forming an opinion about a company. This is particularly popular when it comes to restaurants on Yelp and even products on Amazon, but more and more businesses are jumping onto the bandwagon now that Google+ allows for reviews.

Unfortunately, this popularity has also made reviews a popular target for spammers. For this reason, Google has just announced a new spam detection update for reviews.

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The Issue With Spam and Reviews

For those who are unfamiliar, the update was announced on February 4 and promised to shoot down reviews on Google+ Local pages that seemed fake or computer generated. If a testimonial seems too good to be true (what Google called a “fake glowing testimonial”), then there is a chance Google’s new algorithm update will remove that particular review. If there is a negative review, however, Google will only remove it if it violates Google’s guidelines. This helps ensure that only true reviews are being posted—negative or positive.

This leaves many companies wondering what they can do to make sure their Google+ reviews remain on the page. While it’s great that spammy reviews will be removed, how do you ensure that your other reviews won’t get deleted?

How to Make Sure Your Reviews Aren’t Affected

Google works hard to make sure that only irrelevant reviews are removed, but business owners can help out by following a few simple rules. It’s not always about making sure your valid reviews remain on the page, but about making sure that you handle the reviews that are valid appropriately. Below are a few things that business owners should not do, especially now that the update is in place:

  • Do Not ignore negative reviews. The new update is not going to remove reviews just for being negative, so be sure you respond and do what you can to fix the situation or whatever it is that got you that negative review.
  • Do Not let someone remove spam reviews. There are many spam companies and people out there who claim that they can remove spammy reviews for you. Google’s new algorithm will take care of this, and they are not using any third party.
  • Do Not give free gifts for reviews. If someone is giving you a review just to get a free gift, it’s not really a real review. Google forbids this, so it’s best to simply send an email and ask customers to review your company on their own time. The new update might not catch reviews that were written for a free gift, but it’s best not to even take the chance (and you might be surprised to find that you probably don’t even need it!).
  • Do Not hire someone to generate reviews. This is where fake testimonials will probably come into play, and that is exactly the kind of thing that this new update will take down.

Google also had some advice for those reviewing a company. Some of this advice includes not writing reviews for a current employer, reviewing a specific location as opposed to the business as a whole, and not using URLs to redirect reviews (obviously). Business owners might want to remind customers of these review guidelines to ensure that all reviews are natural and following the rules.

Why the New Spam Detection Update Matters

The new update is actually said to increase the number of reviews that show up on your Google+ Local page. Even negative reviews can be good for your company because it shows that you’re not trying to make anything up. You can take the criticism, make it constructive, and move right along. You would be surprised how many people will be able to see through reviews you try to give yourself, so just embrace the update and keep an out!

Do you have an opinion about the new Google reviews update? Have you already seen the affects of the update? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Post By Amanda DiSilvestro (2 Posts)

Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from algorithm updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO consulting firm that offers Ecommerce SEO services to a wide range of companies across the country.

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Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from algorithm updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO consulting firm that offers Ecommerce SEO services to a wide range of companies across the country.

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