Make sure your review strategy keeps up with Google’s rules.
If you have been paying attention to what I’ve been drilling into your mind on our blog, then you know that one thing you must pay attention to as a business decision maker is your online review presence.
With such, you, of course, must take the bad with the good, and that may include getting negative reviews from customers from time to time. Google realizes that businesses do not want to receive negative feedback and that some may even take measures to prohibit or hide negative reviews. Because of this, they’ve updated their review terms.
While these updates shouldn’t have a huge impact on how you’re already gathering and receiving online reviews, below are some of Google’s terms for online reviews and a few things to note about them when it comes to your online review strategy.
Don’t use reviews for advertising purposes. This includes, but is not limited to, posting email addresses, phone numbers, social media links, or links to other websites in your reviews.
This one may go without saying and may be more relevant to the reviewer rather than your business review page, but reviews cannot have a dual purpose of trying to advertise back to something else. The content should purely be about the business being reviewed and not include links or anything about another site or business.
Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.
No one wants to receive a bad review – but you cannot explicitly ask for positive reviews or blatantly discourage negative reviews. This means that you can ask for customers to leave reviews, but none of the language in your ask can explicitly say what type of feedback you want customers to leave.
Basically, do not ask customers to leave positive reviews, and do not prohibit or gate possible negative reviews. Simply ask, and you shall receive what the customer’s opinion of your business and services or products is organically.
If you do happen to receive a negative review, be sure to reply to the reviewer’s comments in these simple steps.
Don’t include promotional or commercial content.
This rule relates back to #1 – the person leaving a review cannot link back or use the review for any promotional content. The review text has to be a review.
Don’t offer or accept money in exchange for reviews.
While you want to try to ask customers for reviews in a proactive way, you should never exchange reviews for money or gifts. You especially should never offer money in exchange for positive reviews either – as that goes against two of Google’s policies and is just not a good, honest practice.
Don’t solicit reviews from customers in bulk.
While you should always ask customers for reviews whenever you do business with them, be sure not to do some huge undertaking of trying to get tons of reviews in a small period of time. Stay consistent with gathering reviews rather than getting as many as possible at once.
While this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try gathering reviews with internal contests or still asking every customer even during a busy period, just take notice of the number of reviews you look to gain in any certain period.
Bottom line – make sure your company is being honest and trustworthy when asking for reviews and how they are being posted by your consumers. And if you do happen to receive a negative review, just follow these easy steps to respond to the review and resolve the situation to possibly turn bad into good.