Google Review Guidelines Every Business Must Follow
More reviews mean more business. That’s the reason every business wants to increase reviews and those who are new to this search for how to get reviews. Google reviews are considered legitimate because Google keeps a strict policy that businesses must adhere to.
As a small business owner, if you want to succeed in securing more reviews and don’t want them deleted due to violations, take note of the below Google review guidelines.
Don’t Review Your Own Business Or Ask Your Staff/Family/Friends
Google reviews are meant to be honest remarks about your business. It must be unbiased. So, if a business is reviewing itself, it won’t be able to fulfill that requirement. You’ll be practically manipulating your rating which violates the TOS of Google.
Similarly, asking your family, friends, or employees to use proxy accounts and review your business is strictly prohibited as well and may get your business banished from Google My Business.
No Review Gating
Review gating is having a customer fill out a survey about a business, and if they seem satisfied, only then they are asked to leave the review. This practice violates Google guidelines because the business in question is filtering out negative reviews by having them fill out a survey first and asking for reviews only when they are satisfied.
This may look like a surefire way of getting positive reviews, but whenever Google will find this out, all the reviews will be deleted forever.
Never use any tricks for filtering out negative feedback and make sure your review management tool is not doing this.
Moreover, review gating stops a business from improving. At its core, customer reviews are meant for the business in question. The feedback enables a business to know what’s working and what’s not. When you’re not allowing negative reviews, your business isn’t being informed about its weak areas.
Don’t Offer Money For Reviews
This is an obvious prohibited practice. Offering people incentives to leave reviews will directly impact customer behavior and they will more likely leave a stellar review. This keeps the review system from an honest and fair representation of what customers think about that business.
The penalty for this violation is unclear and businesses do get the standard warning from Google. Perhaps, it depends from case to case. On repeated violations of this rule, Google can delete the reviews and can also ban the business from Google My Business.
Don’t Arrange Review Contests
Review contests are usually about entering a customer into a giveaway if they leave a review. So, more people will start reviewing the business denting the authenticity of the reviews. Review contests can be tempting for businesses that want to boost their reviews, but keep in mind that they clearly violate Google’s TOS.
And no, it doesn’t make the review contest fair if the customer is asked to leave any review (positive or negative) to enter the contest.
Don’t Review Competitors
Monitoring and keeping up with your competitors is a good practice and every business performs this practice, but reviewing competitors is crossing the line. Google considers any review or content published by any competitor to decrease the rating of a business as deceptive. It is also a violation of the Terms of Service laid out by Google and results in penalties/penalty.
Avoid Soliciting Reviews In Bulk
Google doesn’t prohibit businesses from asking customers to leave reviews as long as the business is not offering a reward or taking part in malpractice. But if your business listing begins getting many reviews in a short amount of time, Google may consider it bad.
It’s possible that you sent review request emails or texts to a large list of customers and many of them complied by leaving a review, but you should still avoid it unless your business gets reviews at this speed all the time.
A steady flow of reviews is better so frequently sending a section of your customers reminding them to leave reviews is better than emailing all of them at once.
Your business depends on reviews to get more sales and also to improve. Don’t fall for the easy paths and shortcuts. Use legitimate review management strategies and white label review management software to grow your business.