Read this before you buy reviews on Google!
Table of Contents
Having a sound online presence has become an important prerequisite for businesses across the world, irrespective of their size and offerings. Considering that the digital age has blurred boundaries, businesses are tapping the huge market online to acquire customers, build lasting relationships with existing customers, and grow their revenue manifolds. But how is it that customers and businesses find each other? It is simple: through reviews. Organic reviews can do wonders for a company’s growth. However, when you buy reviews on Google, your actions can have serious repercussions on the reputation of your business.
When a customer is looking for a product or a service owing to his/her needs, he/she will do a Google search to get the best results. Among 5 businesses that top the SERPs, which business with the customer likely to contact? Well, that depends on the reviews and ratings that the business has. While a business with ample positive reviews and a star rating of 4 or more will catch the eye of the customer, a business with negative reviews will not make the cut.
All in all, the reviews will act as a major catalyst in the customer’s final purchase decision. However, the customer might be making a wrong decision if the business in question is buying Google reviews. If as a business you buy reviews on Google, you’re already creating cracks in the foundation of your business. Should you buy reviews on Google? What if you do? What are the alternatives to buying Google reviews? Hang in there, as we have answers to all your questions!
Importance of online reviews
Online reviews, in the current digital arena, are similar to personal recommendations. Most people find confidence in a brand based on their reviews and star ratings. Did you know that customers spend 30 percent more on brands that have excellent reviews? Here are some interesting statistics that will prove how important Google reviews are for businesses and customers alike:
- Businesses that have more than 200 reviews successfully generate 2X revenue
- 21 percent of customers will most likely leave a review after they have a negative experience
- 67 percent of businesses strive to maintain a star rating of 4 and above
- Around 89 percent of customers make the effort to read online reviews and compare businesses before they make a purchase decision
- 63 percent of customers take the help of Google reviews to learn about a business
Google reviews are important as they help in strengthening the overall online reputation of a brand. Reviews act as a mirror for businesses to assess customer experience in a holistic manner and also help build the trust of the customers.
However, in order to demonstrate a positive brand image, businesses often take undue advantage of people’s trust by posting fake reviews on various review sites.
As a business, when you buy reviews on Google to portray your brand in a positive light, you are putting a big question mark on your authenticity. Considering that your customers make their purchase decisions based on the reviews they see on Google, you are tricking them into believing in your product or service. When you implement strategies that are frowned upon and are taking a toll on consumer trust, you are already failing as a business.
So, if you are tempted to buy reviews on Google, read ahead to know the consequences that follow.
How businesses buy reviews on Google
There are multiple ways that businesses resort to when they are desperate to buy reviews on Google. Unfortunately, buying 5-star Google reviews is quite easy. While some companies offer money in exchange for positive reviews and five-star ratings, others reach out to freelance platforms and ask them to leave positive reviews in exchange for money or other requirements. Some businesses, that do not buy reviews, resort to review gating, which is another practice that is illegal.
How your business suffers when you buy reviews on Google
Buying reviews on Google is illegal and is something that you should not engage in, as not only do you risk your credibility but also break the trust of your existing and potential customers. Let’s discuss in detail how buying reviews on Google can impact your business:
You violate Google’s guidelines
As per Google’s content guidelines, businesses are prohibited from publishing anything that doesn’t represent a genuine experience. In the case of reviews, businesses aren’t allowed to incentivize customers to leave positive reviews for them and offer money to purchase phony reviews. Here the catch is that both customers, Google, and FTC can detect a fake review. Here are the elements of a fake review:
The below image is a snippet of the kind of content that is not acceptable by Google and can invite consequences.
Even customers can detect a fake review
When normal customers detect a fake review, they will immediately lose trust in that business and will choose some other service provider. When you buy reviews on Google, you are not attracting potential customers to your business, but are driving them away. A negative review will do less harm in comparison to a fake review, as the former will at least not question your credibility. It is a bad idea to offer incentives or rewards or even money to people in exchange for positive reviews that are fake.
You can face legal troubles when you buy reviews on Google
In the USA, if you are caught misrepresenting your business through fake positive reviews, you are at the risk of facing civil fines by the Federal Trade Commission and are also at the risk of losing your rankings on Google. Here is a case study to help you understand the magnitude of consequences that you can face when you buy reviews on Google.
In 2019, the FTC imposed a hefty fine on an independent retail website that was paying money to a third-party website to leave positive reviews about their weight-loss supplements. Considering that such companies are required to run clinical tests before claiming the effectiveness of such products and need scientific evidence; the retail company did not demonstrate any of it and rather endorsed their product by fabricated reviews. That obviously didn’t work well for them as they came into the limelight of the FTC. The violation of guidelines cost the company $12.8 million.
You won’t know what’s working for you and what’s not
When you buy reviews on Google, you are basically painting a rosy picture about your brand for your audiences. While you are making an attempt to fool your potential customers, you are also doing grave damage to your growth as a business. How will you know whether people are really liking your services, or figure out what it is that you need to improvise to enhance customer experience and satisfaction? Honest feedback acts as a mirror to understand the customer’s perception of your brand. So, instead of buying fake reviews that will temporarily portray you in a positive light.
You might ruin your online reputation
If you are caught buying fake reviews to enhance your online presence, then you not only face legal consequences but also lose the trust of Google and your customers. All of this will lead to the downfall of your reputation online, something that you had built over the years. So, while buying online reviews to enhance your online reputation might be an easy thing to do, it is certainly not legal and can cause a sharp decline in your customer base, and overall revenue. Why risk your reputation over a few reviews? Instead, implement ways to get more reviews on Google organically.
So, if you’re thinking of buying Google reviews, think again.
What should you do to get more reviews on Google organically?
While buying Google reviews can put you in a negative light, there are multiple ways to get more reviews to grow your business. Here are some top ideas for you to consider in order to get more Google reviews for your business:
Ask for feedback
When a customer avails a service from you, make sure you ask them to leave a review for your business. But, there’s a catch to asking for feedback. You must ask when the experience of your customer is still afresh. Do not wait for a perfect time to ask for reviews, as there isn’t any. Make sure to ask your customers to leave a review as soon as you provide a service to them.
Use SMS in your review generation
SMS is a great way to ask for reviews from your customers directly. Since text messages are the most popular form of communication and have an open rate of 98 percent, it is high time that you make use of it and garner reviews from your customers. A simple ‘Hey, we are happy to serve you. Would you like to leave a review for us?’ would be enough while asking for reviews on text.
Make the process hassle-free
When you convince your customers to leave reviews for your business, the last thing that your customers want is a cumbersome process of doing the same. So, make sure that the process of leaving reviews is super easy and doesn’t take much time. You can add a review link on your email signature, or any texts that you send out to your customer base.
Always respond to reviews
Irrespective of the nature of the reviews, make sure that you respond to all the reviews. If the review is positive, simply thank the customer. If the review is negative, ask how you can make their experience better. Check out negative and positive review examples and how you can respond to those reviews. Doing so will establish you as a credible business and will come to the notice of potential customers who are looking for similar services. This will also give you a chance to acquire customers and retain them.
Generate more organic reviews and track your progress with Emitrr’s capabilities
Witness the testimonials of excellent customer service and grow your online presence with Emitrr’s capabilities. The software offers end-to-end management of reviews and reputation, which can help you generate 10X reviews from your customers on industry-specific sites.
As soon as your customer avails a service, the software will automatically send a request asking the customer to leave a review. There are also multiple templates that you can choose from to create your own review requests. Not only that, but you can also decide the duration after which you want the software to send out review requests.
Once you garner reviews from platforms such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc; you can view all those reviews from a single dashboard and respond to those with utter ease. You can also analyze your strengths and weaknesses from those reviews and track metrics by applying a variety of filters. With so many features, we don’t think you’d feel the need to buy reviews on Google.
One of our customers, Dr. Mary Tilak and Associates had only 5 percent of their total customers leave reviews. Check out how they utilized Emitrr’s review and reputation management capability to attract more than 300 reviews in just two months. So, book a demo to see how you can benefit from software like Emitrr.