Reputation Management and Local Reviews
Reviews Review Reviews. We've been hearing a lot about this lately and I have actually been approached by many clients asking about reputation management.
Google is responding back, with exactly what I've been telling my clients, here are my two favorite recommendations for Google themselves:
1. Be wary of an SEO or reputation management service that promises to generate reviews for your business. We’ve seen companies make up fake glowing testimonies -- and we’ll take them down.
2. If a third party claims that they know how to remove reviews from Google, don’t believe them. Google does not work with any third party reputation management companies and we certainly don’t remove reviews unless they violate our guidelines.
You can read their full response HERE
This is an area I need to invest more time and focus. Whilst it is clear that it is valuable, it seems like its value will continue to increase?
Funny enough, this isn't new news at all. Google has said these types of things numerous times in forum posts for years, yet never clearly laid it all out in one place.
Google Review Content Policy: http://support.google.com/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=187622
All those points were vaguely eluded to in the section of the content policy which is labeled "conflict of interest." Since Google was a little vague about what is and what isn't acceptable, and the only way you really found out was when a review was taken down... there were a lot of people who abused the system.
By saying be wary of an SEO or rep management company who generates reviews, they are referring to the sections on "Advertising and spam" and "conflict of interest," though there were actually no clear guidelines on what could and what couldn't be done.
I'm hoping more small businesses will wise up about working with those shady rep management companies now.
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