Effective strategies and tactics to protect your online presence

Studies show that 86% of customers read reviews on local establishments and a minimum of 10 reviews before making their decision. With this data, it’s important to make sure your online presence isn’t marked with negative reviews as they could drive away potential clients.   

A current trend revolves around people intentionally creating fake 4-star reviews to pull down a perfect 5-star rating. Four-star reviews don’t automatically appear as false, but in an abundance, they can pull the Google rating down. With a lower rating, a company will be further down the webpage and, therefore, will have trouble getting business. 

How to spot fake reviews

When a person leaves a Google review, it stays on a company’s profile forever. The easiest way to spot these fake reviews is to read other business reviews. If they have no others or very few, it’s most likely fake. 

Another signal of false reviews is a sudden increase in reviews for your company. This can be the outcome of someone running a promotion on reviews, which is not only unethical but illegal. Improper grammar or similar wording in a review may also be a sign of fake reviews. 

Responding to fake reviews

A good rule to follow is to respond to every review your company receives. Your company will appear careless if you only respond to positive reviews and defensive if you only respond to negative reviews. If you suspect a review is fake, you can play the fakes at their own game. Ask them to provide a receipt of their recent purchase or simply say, “Thank you for your input. We don’t offer those services here, so I’m not sure if we’re the business you’re thinking of.” When you ask them to provide proof or point out the inaccuracies, they most likely won’t know how to respond. 

The one thing your company should never do is remain silent. Eighty-nine percent of consumers make decisions based on how a company responds to customer reviews. It shows professionalism from the organization. 

How to get fake Google reviews removed

The easiest way is to follow and contact Google My Business Support on Twitter. If that doesn’t work, post your case and evidence to the GMB help community. You’ll want to present your data in the best way possible. A spreadsheet will help organize your material and spot consistencies among posts. Provide everything: links, photos, and notes on any important information that should be considered when an employee is reviewing your case. Once your case is reviewed, a decision will be made on whether or not to remove it. 

A free, must-have resource is Google Alerts. It monitors the web and alerts you every time someone mentions your name or company online. It makes it easy for you to stay up-to-date on reviews people leave. With these resources and guidelines, your company can conquer the battle of fake reviews. An increase in positive reviews will make your company appear higher up on Google search engines, increasing your chances of a possible business venture. 

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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