When building your company’s online reputation, it can be tempting to take shortcuts and try to buy Google reviews.
This is particularly true for companies with not-so-positive reviews and 1-star ratings. For them, buying fake reviews on Google and other top business review sites is the easiest, most affordable solution. After all, a stream of fresh positive reviews can quickly bury negative feedback and clear out blemishes in online search results.
This explains the increasing market for businesses looking to “buy Google reviews,” typically posted under a random name and Google user who may or may not even be a real person, much less a real customer.
How to Buy Google Reviews
If you type “buy Google reviews” on search engines, you’ll see that 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 claim that their methods are “100% safe,” and that their fake reviews are permanent and will not be deleted.
They also say that the “review accounts and profiles are always USA, UK, CA, or AU,” but that you can change the country as you wish. 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.
What does it mean to buy Google reviews? It is just as it sounds. You pick a provider or supplier, you add their service to an online shopping cart, you provide information on your Google My Business listings, and — voila! — you easily earn Google reviews with great ratings and positive feedback to the tune of 10 bucks a pop.
Want to find out how many Google reviews you need to improve your overall rating and reputation? Use the free Google star calculator to find out.
Should You Buy Google Reviews?
If your company wants to buy Google reviews as part of its overall online review management strategy, you have to consider the risks and consequences of doing so. It sounds like a great, cost-effective solution for propelling your company to the top of relevant search results, but it will almost certainly do you more harm than good in the long run.
It Violates 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, based on the Google review policy. In other words, using fake reviews to achieve maximum visibility will eventually you get zero visibility.
The FTC Will Go After You
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act was 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 or purchased 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 company.
Consumers Can Tell Anyway
No matter what “Google review sellers” say, you’re probably going to end up receiving a few online 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 company also won’t be able to leverage valuable and authentic unsolicited feedback, without which you cannot really foster meaningful business 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 truly strong online brand reputation.
How to Earn Google Reviews Without Buying Them
Instead of buying Google reviews in order to improve your company’s rankings and drum up business, you should instead develop effective strategies for asking for reviews on Google.
This kind of outreach will benefit your business in the long run. Proactively asking for feedback and learning how to get Google reviews organically should also help strengthen your customer relationships and connect 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 to 3 PM and 6 to 7 PM.
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 reviews link simplifies the process 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.
Buying Google Reviews Isn’t Worth the Risk
Trying to buy reviews on Google from a service provider isn’t worth the risk.
Instead, take time to read positive and negative feedback to see what works and what needs to change. Learning how to respond to negative reviews can also go a long way to bringing back disgruntled customers. Companies that buy Google reviews are unlikely to have developed the ability to do just that.
Most importantly, you should focus on crafting experiences that delight. 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.