Updated Google Review Guidelines To Block Review Gating

Businesses that use Google My Business there is an important update that Google has published recently, about the review sections. The update, released on the 12th of April, specifically talks about review gating on the user-generated content on Google’s search and map results.

Does Your Review Management Process Include Review Gating?

Have you or any of your team members actively tried to get in touch with satisfied customers about leaving you a good review? Whether on the phone, via email or text. Conversely, have you tried to get dissatisfied customers to use other means of venting their anger rather than by posting on the Google My Business Review page? If you are, your business could be at risk of violating Google’s review guidelines and having all your reviews rescinded.

How Google’s New Review Policies Businesses?

Google previously penalized businesses that were discovered violating their guidelines by removing all reviews collected from the date of violation. For instance, a company has been buying reviews from the start of the year. Google discovers their unethical methods and penalizes them. The penalty would be, all reviews received from Jan would be removed from your Google page. Including the legitimate ones as Google would not know the difference. It would simply assume all reviews received since then were incentivized.

Take into account the current process your business follows for review collection. If you are sending only positively biased reviews towards your Google page while negative reviewers are directed towards management or some other feedback form, you could be taking part in review gating. Basically, if you’re trying to prevent reviewers who view your business in a negative light from posting on Google you may be violating their guidelines.

How Do You Ensure Your Business Isn’t Review Gating?

So what do you do to ensure your business process for reviews isn’t seen as review gating? If you are personally getting in touch with your customers to gather feedback, take a look at the questions in the feedback form. If you are sending out automated messages, via software, to the customers, you may need to check the messages that are going out to them. In either case, you need to make sure that all your customers are provided with all the possible options to leave their feedback regardless of their bias towards your business or their recent experience with your product or service.

Why The Change In Policy And Why Google See’s Review Gating As Bad Business?

Google is the eponym for searching something online. We use it as a verb constantly. They’ve reached this milestone by constantly providing their customers with exactly the right information at the right time. Their philosophy has always been to provide their customers (the user online and not the businesses) with the information they can trust so the next time they need to look up something online they come back to Google.

Reviews play a large part in how users make their decisions online. If Google is the marketplace and the economy is based on trust then the customer reviews are the currency that is exchanged online. To continue to remain the market for customer searches, not only does Google need to provide quick answers, they need to do so accurately. One way Google manages to provide such information about businesses is by using the reviews posted online.

To continue to promote its search engine as a trusted source of reviews they need to prohibit businesses from finding loopholes in their systems and finding unethical means of gathering reviews.

There are several stakeholders in the online review game. Current customers, future customers, review sites, review management software, advertisers, search engines, and the businesses involved. Protecting the customer’s trust in reviews isn’t just great for businesses though, it’s great for all participants.

Guidelines To Ensure Trust in Reviews

Ensuring you meet Google’s new guidelines for their review system can be very beneficial for your business. Having your reviews for potential customers to read is an excellent way to them to trust in the system. Following the guidelines ensures that the reviews stay and improve the online reputation for your business. We wholeheartedly support Google’s decision in trying to protect the review process and the power of the reviewers and so should you.

Let us know your thoughts about Google’s new review update in the comments below. If you have any questions or clarifications please do let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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