Don’t Buy Google Reviews. How Do I Get Real Reviews?

Don't Buy Google Reviews

The impact of online reviews is undeniable. Good reviews can give you an enormous advantage over competitors. But reviews are only effective if they are authentic. There are many people out there who buy Google reviews in an attempt to manipulate their business’ image. Review sites such as Google are getting better at learning when a review is fake and aim to keep all reviews real. Deleting Google Reviews is not a simple task and is not always possible in many situations, so receiving fake reviews can be a bit of a hassle.

Why would you pay for Google reviews when receiving real reviews from real customers is not that difficult? Businesses need more than just Google reviews to be successful, and if you have bad reviews it can be tempting to do anything to get paid Google reviews. Buying reviews may seem like a quick and easy process, but it can lead to several negative consequences. These reviews will be removed by Google and will also be at fault for breaching multiple rules, guidelines, policies and laws as determined by individual jurisdictions.

Are Fake Reviews Illegal?

Fake reviews are illegal and buying Google reviews definitely falls underneath this category too and are against all of Google’s policies. Many countries around the world have their own policies outlining what is allowed under law and what is illegal. In Australia, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) outlines the guidelines for managing online reviews and the penalties for breaching such rules. The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 is breached when ‘Businesses and review platforms do not remove reviews that they know to be fake’. 

They also list the types of reviews which are specifically breaching these rules. Breaching the rules are any reviews that may mislead consumers if they are presented as impartial, but were written by:

  • The reviewed business
  • A competitor
  • Someone paid to write the review who has not used the product
  • Someone who has used the product but written an inflated review to receive a financial or non-financial benefit

The ACCC also states that “Consumers expect reviews to be independent and genuine to help them make more informed purchasing decisions”. This is a statement that also resonates with Google as they also only want to have the most genuine reviews online and try to keep bought and misleading information about businesses away.

In the United States buying fake reviews (including Google reviews) is illegal under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. This includes third-party companies offering to write reviews for companies at a price that incentivises genuine customers. Other methods which are illegal and banned include offering real customers coupons, discounts and other incentives like free goods, all in exchange for positive reviews. Having employees write negative reviews online about competitors is also an offence and is a misconduct that is taken very seriously.

Buying Reviews Is Unfair To Competitors

Competitors who don’t pay for reviews on Google have complained long and hard about competitors who buy Google reviews. The complaints stem around the fact that paying for Google reviews is misleading to potential customers and is not fair. Of course Google struggles to know exactly what is real and what is fake in terms of reviews. They try to use their automated systems to work out if reviews are paid for or not but this is quite tricky. Their automation is not good enough to determine fake and false reviews, but these can still be reported by flagging reviews in order to try and get deleted from Google.

How To Get More Real Reviews

We often get asked ‘How to get Google Reviews for my business?’ and we tell them in order to get real reviews the best way is by simply asking your customers for reviews. Asking for feedback on any business transaction will help your business see the number of people who submit reviews increase. When you generate reviews for your own business, you will gain a good amount of data on how to fix any negative problems. This can result in less negative reviews from future customers and increase the overall satisfaction level with your business. 

There is nothing wrong with asking your customers to leave you a review and is a much better alternative than opting to buy Google reviews. If you have done a good job, you will find that satisfied customers are willing to say something nice about you. Sometimes it takes customers a friendly prompt to leave a review as many people won’t even consider taking their time to give feedback, especially when they have a positive experience, Customers are 21% more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive experience. To gain more positive reviews, simply asking for them can help boost the number of positive reviews compared to negative reviews.

How To Ask For Google Reviews

It can be quite daunting to ask for reviews from your customers as it could be seen as nagging them to do you a huge favor. However, many consumers understand the importance of online reviews so if your products or services have been great, they will feel inclined to leave positive feedback. 81% of people would leave a review if requested, so a quick reminder is always a great idea. Reaching customers when the memories are still fresh and the emotions are still strong will help increase the number of positive reviews collected. Here are 2 quick methods that can help  

Send Requests Via SMS And Email

Many businesses will have records of their customers either through SMS messaging or email addresses. This can help streamline the process of asking for Google reviews with data already from your customers. AddMe Reviews has fully customisable templates that can help produce a higher reply rate from customers with personalized messaging (as seen below). A simple message sent to a customer could be something as simple as this. “Hi {First Name}, Thanks for recently visiting {Business Name} and we hope your visit was great. If you wanted to leave us any online feedback we would really appreciate it: {Review Link}. We hope to see you again soon!”. 

Request Review Template

Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a great way to measure customer feedback with a quantitative figure. Using NPS or Google reviews can be a tough choice, but the majority of the public understand and want to see public facing reviews to decide if your business is right for them. This makes Google reviews a priority but NPS is great for business feedback that is to be kept either privately or could even be made public. 

NPS uses a 1-10 scale to determine the overall level of satisfaction a customer has with your business. The main NPS question is usually something like “How likely would you recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”. The scores are split into 3 categories for easy determination of results.

  • Promoters (or Advocates): Customers that leave a 9 or 10 rating who are considered to be loyal and satisfied customers who will continue to do business with you
  • Passives: A rating of 7 or 8 is a customer who is satisfied with your business but could be persuaded to go elsewhere
  • Detractors – A 0-6 rating is a customer who is dissatisfied with your product or customer service and will go to another business

The overall NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Advocates to calculate a satisfaction score out of 10. It is a simple test that is quick and scalable as it can always use the same question all the time.

Create A Google My Business Listing

In order to get Google reviews, your business needs to have set up a Google My Business (GMB) profile. Of course if you don’t want Google reviews at all you can always delete your GMB account, however opting against collecting reviews is certainly not advised. 40% of organic traffic signals come from Google My Business and online reviews, so this is a huge amount of traffic that could be wasted by not getting more Google reviews. Below is the simple process on how to create a Google My Business listing.

  1. Firstly go to https://business.google.com/create 
  2. Enter your business name and business category
  3. Add your business address and any areas you service
  4. Enter contact details like phone number and website
  5. Verify your business listing (more on this below)
  6. Your business should appear on Google after verification is complete

How To Verify My Business On Google

This is one of the most important steps in the Google My Business setup process. There are a couple different ways to go about this, but not all businesses are eligible for all the methods. The main method is a physical postcard mail verification.

Postcard Verification

The postcard will have a unique verification code specifically for your business. Enter the code to confirm that your business is located at the provided address. Most postcards will arrive within 14 days from the verification process beginning. Simply log in to the GMB dashboard and click ‘Verify now’ to enter the code.

Phone Verification

Some businesses will be eligible to verify the location via a phone number. Google lets some businesses verify their location by phone. If you’re eligible, find the ‘Verify’ tab and click on your phone number. Simply login to your GMB account and enter the code you receive on your phone to complete the process. 

Email Verification

Some businesses can verify their location by email. If your business is eligible, you will see your email appear in the list under the ‘Verify’ tab. Follow the instructions and find the email in your inbox to complete the verification process.

These are just some basic pieces of information about how to set up a GMB listing. As this topic can be expanded on even further, we have created a comprehensive guide for Google My Business including optimization tips and more information about other frequently asked questions.

Why Is Reputation Management Important?

You may have never heard about reputation management and the importance of monitoring what people say about your business online. A lot of what is said about your business online is through customer reviews, with most of these coming in the form of Google reviews. It is more important than ever to encourage your customers to leave positive reviews about their experience with your business. It’s easy to get lots of real reviews from your satisfied customers without buying Google reviews or any other reviews. When your customers have a fresh memory and strong emotions, you have a higher chance for a customer to leave a positive review. 

How AddMe Reviews Helps Businesses Collect Real Reviews

We have built our review platform to help increase the number of real reviews that businesses collect in a bid to improve their online reputation. There is not too much we can do to stamp out those who illegally buy Google reviews, but what we can do is promote the use of real reviews through the AddMe Reviews management platform. Contacting real customers is your best bet to improve your reputation online and start seeing the benefits more reviews can bring to your business. You can always try AddMe Reviews free for 30 days to see what benefits obtaining real reviews can do for your business.

AddMe App

Our easy to use mobile app also helps you generate business reviews on the go and you will never have an excuse about not being able to obtain more reviews by being away. Once you discover the power positive reviews can bring to your business, you don’t need to worry about thinking of buying Google reviews or about your competitors who buy them.

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