Avoid getting penalized for your reviews by Google

Google My Business has unveiled a fresh approach to tackle accounts dabbling in fake reviews. The black market for fake review services is vast and at its peak, and now Google has stepped in. Google My Business is rolling out a new strategy to tackle the situation.

Here’s the breakdown.

In the past, Google penalized businesses swamped with fake reviews, which led to bans. This was in line with Google’s fake engagement policy. The old system had its flaws: it only caught the most obvious offenders, and many businesses slipped through, while some innocents got wrongly banned.

Now Google has enhanced their security and will also penalize suspicious behavior. They’re targeting businesses showing patterns that just doesn’t make sense, and as a penalty, these profiles could be restricted from receiving any ratings or reviews for 30 days.

To avoid getting penalized, here’s what you should know:

First off, let’s just clear out the obvious, never buy fake reviews. Whether they’re from a vendor in the US or someone from Pakistan, even if they use VPNs or change account names to look legit, Google is on to it. 

Nowadays, they will “guarantee” you that they will stick and that they won’t get removed. But guess what, they don’t care about you. All they care about is getting their money in.

Now that the obvious part is away, let’s move on to the less obvious part.

Review velocity is crucial. A sudden influx of reviews can trigger Google’s algorithms to investigate the origin of these reviews.

The location of the reviews also matters. If your California roofing business starts getting reviews from Miami, it’s a giveaway that something’s off, especially if your business calls are local and you’re getting a bunch of reviews from another state.

As for creating multiple accounts to leave reviews, it’s a no-go. Google tracks the location and IP, and it’s a dead giveaway if a new account’s first action is to leave a review.

Regarding former or current employees leaving reviews, Google’s got its ways, often with help from your competitors. They’ll flag reviews that seem too personal or familiar, hinting at a personal connection with the business.

Stop paying people to leave a review. We know that a review can be worth a lot. We work with reviews every day. But paying someone to make a review is not going to work out for you. Chances are, that Google will realize that individual is not a real client, and they’ll potentially delete the review, and then you can’t just get your money back.

Keep these pointers in mind to stay on Google’s good side.

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