When building your company’s online reputation, it can be tempting to take shortcuts, find a quick fix, and buy Google reviews.
This is particularly true for businesses with not-so-positive reviews and one-star ratings. For them, buying reviews on Google and on other review sites can be tempting. After all, a stream of fresh positive reviews can quickly bury negative feedback and clear out blemishes in online search results, right?
This explains why there’s an increasing market for businesses looking to “buy Google reviews”: fake 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.
Service providers left and right are offering “5-star review services,” promising “quality work” with “fully completed (Google) profiles and realistic photo-attached accounts.” These providers also say that the “review accounts and profiles are always USA, UK, CA, or AU.”
There are even companies offering reviews written by “100% real people or real users.” These users, allegedly, are from more than tens of thousands of different cities around the world, with local IPs and native users and multiple languages to choose from.
So yes. Today, your business can easily buy a Google review with great ratings and positive feedback to the tune of 10 bucks a pop.
Should You Buy Google Reviews?
If you’re buying fake Google reviews, you have to first consider the risks and consequences of doing so.
While it sounds like a great, cost-effective solution for propelling your business to the top of relevant search results, buying Google reviews will almost certainly do your business more harm than good in the long run. It’s not a very good idea at all.
Buying Google Reviews is Against Google’s Guidelines
Google has made it clear that review content should reflect a person’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 buy or fake their reviews, Google can actually take down the listing of the violating business. So the risk you run of buying fake Google reviews is that, instead of achieving maximum visibility, you get zero.
The FTC Will Go After You
In the last several years, regulators have been cracking down on fake online reviews. The Federal Trade Commission, for example, executed “Operation Clean Turf” in which they caught and slapped hefty penalties on companies buying fake reviews as well as companies writing or creating fake reviews (as part of their “reputation enhancement services” offering).
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 reputation. Today’s consumers are savvy, and they have multiple ways to detect online review frauds.
Your Business Doesn’t Benefit from Fake Feedback
Needless to say, if you buy Google reviews, your business won’t be able to leverage valuable (and authentic) customer 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.
Earn Your Google Reviews
Instead of buying Google reviews in order to improve your rankings and drum up business, develop strategies for earning authentic reviews and candid feedback 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.
Here are a few tips to help you get more Google reviews:
Use GMB Marketing Kit / #SmallThanks with Google
Google review stickers can be found on the Google My Business Marketing Kit (formerly Small Thanks with Google) website, which lets you 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 is through review request email campaigns. According to research, as much as 70 percent of reviews come from post-transactional review request emails.
A software tool like ReviewTrackers offers an easy way to generate new reviews through email. Just create and customize your template, add your customers’ email addresses, and choose the sites where you want to generate new reviews. Hit “Send” and you’ll soon have a community of advocates building hype for your business.
Create a Link for Customers to Write Reviews on Google
Creating a unique link and sharing it to your customers encourages them to review your business on Google. To create your Google business review link, follow the steps outlined in this guide.
Once you have your Google business review link, you can share it on your social media profiles, in email campaigns, printed receipts or customer feedback surveys, or whenever and wherever customers are likely to leave a review.
Make Your Customers Happy
The easiest, most effective way to get more (and better) Google reviews is to consistently deliver excellent customer experiences and create “wow” moments with customers. Companies that buy Google reviews are unlikely to have developed the ability to do just that. Sadly, they’re also destroying the credibility that other businesses have worked so hard to build.