There are tons of businesses out there with legitimate reviews about their services. However, there are also plenty of businesses that are manipulating their reviews and star ratings on platforms such as Google Maps and Facebook. When your competitor or competitors are clearly manipulating their local SEO, this can make life hard. However, they are doing this at great risk.
This begs the question as to what is the best way to get great reviews for your business?
Well, we can flat out tell you right now that going to an online market place or instructing your digital marketing freelancer or company to go out there for the purpose of ‘buying’ Google reviews is a very bad idea!
How do Google Maps reviews work?
· Why should you NEVER buy Google reviews?
· How do you get legitimate or a lot of reviews?
Well, let’s begin with how Google Maps local SEO works…
Google Maps has a review and star rating. Now, this system is extremely popular indeed. Maybe you use Google Maps yourself to find local businesses such as cafes, restaurants, and so on. Maybe not in your own local area but when you are on holiday or travelling to another area in your country.
The way Google Maps validates people’s Google accounts is as follows:
· Have they made reviews before?
· Is the Google account roaming? (on a smartphone with location activated)
· Has the person visited the business? (determined by the location)
When the competition, or you for that matter, but local Google reviews, Google will check how many of those reviews tick the above 3 bullet points in the list above. If the reviews do not check these boxes, then the chances are that Google will ban your business account or penalize it without you even knowing.
What does a banned ‘Google My Business Account’ this mean for your business?
If your Google account is banned, then it will be extremely difficult to set up a new Google account meaning you lose the power of Google Maps as a local business marketing tool.
You would literally have to change your company name and maybe even the address because Google My Business will know it has banned this account in the past – reason – manipulating reviews. Therefore, we hope we have put you off buying reviews altogether because this is a bad marketing strategy.
How to Get Good Reviews?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist how to figure out how to get good reviews. You do not even need a good digital marketer in most cases because you can get the reviews yourself.
Here are some suggestions:
· Politely ask in person for Google Reviews
· Leave instructions on the menu how to leave a review
· Create an email campaign for all those on your company email list
Meanwhile, make sure you always follow Google’s guidelines. For example, Google says that it does not approve of tactics such as:
· Give something away for free to a customer in your shop
· Offer a discount on an item
How Google would ever discover you paid or offered a discount for a review is another story. In fact, it is practically impossible unless you are advertising the fact on social media or your business website.
One quick word of advice and it is only a precaution. When people leave a review, try to get them to do so when they are not connected to your businesses WiFi. Google may or may not pick up on this and see that reviews are being given from the same IP address. It sounds silly we know, but Google can be fickle with so many little quirks. You can always switch on a VPN on your internet router for the purpose of the review but just make sure the privacy software you use a local IP to hide your identity or one as local as possible.
Replicate the Same Tactics for Facebook Reviews
Facebook reviews are another great way to have people rate your business. Now any business these days should have a social media page, and Facebook is arguably the most popular platform for business pages and reviews. Need we say more…
Not many people use or have access to local directories these days. At least not as many that regularly and easily access social media or Google reviews. However, if you do happen to come across people that use a local directory, then this is another avenue to encouraging good reviews. Yellow Pages, White Pages, and local industry websites still get a fair amount of traffic these days and reviews on these websites can only help enhance your business’s reputation within the local area.
How to Start Your Reviews Campaign
Starting a reviews campaign means avoiding buying reviews – that is the first rule to success. Always look for the most honest marketing tactics out there to gain good reviews about your business. We understand that some businesses do not activate reviews for fear of the competition writing bad reviews about your business, plus sometimes you will receive a 3-star or 4-star rating from a legitimate customer. If this happens, use it to your advantage by taking it as constructive feedback that tells you how to improve a certain aspect of your services.