When building your company’s online reputation it can be tempting to take shortcuts and buy Google reviews, which can be helpful for any brand. Customer reviews data shows 63.6% of consumers will check Google reviews before they visit a business.
The high value of online reviews from Google is even more important for businesses with not-so-positive reviews and one-star ratings. This explains the increasing market for businesses looking to “buy Google reviews,” that is, posted under a random name and Google user who may or may not even be a real person, much less a real customer.
Why Shouldn’t You Buy Google Reviews?
If your company wants to buy Google reviews, you have to first consider the risks and consequences of doing so. It sounds like a great, cost-effective solution for propelling your business to the top of relevant search results, but it will almost certainly do your company more harm than good in the long run.
Violating Google’s Guidelines
Google has made it clear that review content should reflect a customer’s genuine experience at a business location. Review content “should not be posted just to manipulate a place’s ratings. Don’t post fake content, and don’t post content for the same place from multiple accounts.”
Unlike a review site like Yelp, which slaps consumer alerts on businesses that have Yelp fake reviews, Google can actually take down the entire listing of the violating business. In other words, using fake reviews to achieve maximum visibility will eventually you get zero.
The FTC Will Go After You
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act was also created as a way to protect consumers and punish those who want to buy Google reviews, or fake reviews of any kind. If you get caught using fake reviews, you’ll have to face the consequences from the FTC.
In 2019, the FTC placed a $12.8 million fine on a weight loss supplement retailer that used fake Amazon reviews. It’s a hefty fee for employing fake reviews, and while you might not pay that same amount if you get caught buying Google reviews, the fine can severely impact the financial health of your brand.
Consumers Can Tell Anyway
No matter what “Google review sellers” say, you’re probably going to end up receiving a few reviews that are so obviously fake that they don’t even succeed in adding appeal to your company’s reputation. Today’s consumers are savvy, and they have multiple ways to detect online review frauds.
Needless to say, if your company buys Google reviews, your business won’t be able to leverage valuable (and authentic) unsolicited feedback, without which you cannot really foster improvements. You’ll also likely lose sight of real customer experience issues or problems that need to be addressed by your team, which – in the long run – can lead to a better (and real) online reputation.
Don’t Buy Google Reviews; Earn Them
Instead of buying Google reviews in order to improve your company’s rankings and drum up business, develop effective strategies when it comes to asking for reviews on Google.
This kind of outreach will benefit your business in the long run. Proactively asking for feedback on Google helps strengthen customer relationships and connects your business to the voices that matter the most.
Use the Google My Business Marketing Kit
Google review stickers can be found on the Google My Business (GMB) Marketing Kit (formerly Small Thanks with Google) website, which lets your business create, download, and print personalized marketing materials and turn your reviews and business information into ready-to-use social posts, stickers, posters, and more.
Use Email to Generate New Reviews
One of the most effective ways to generate new reviews for your company is through review request email campaigns. Customer reviews data also shows that the best time to send your review request emails are between the hours of 2-3 p.m. and 6-7 p.m.
When doing so, make sure that your message is short and to the point. Make the process as easy as possible for your customers by reducing the amount of clicks required to leave a review. Implementing a Google review link simplifies the process even further by taking people directly to your GMB listing where they can leave a review. That link can also be used in other places, such as your social media pages.
The easiest, most effective way to get more (and better) Google reviews for your company is to consistently deliver excellent customer experiences and create “wow” moments with customers. Take time to read both positive and negative feedback to see what works or needs tweaking in your operation. Learning how to respond to negative reviews can go a long way to bringing back disgruntled customers while taking advantage of local SEO tactics can increase your online visibility. In time, the idea of buying Google reviews will be a distant memory as you rake in authentic and insightful customer reviews.