Google Updates Review Content Policy

Google has just updated the review content guidelines to explicitly prohibit review stations AND employee reviews.

The changes to the policy are noted in italics:

For instance, as a business owner or employee you should not review your own business or current place of work. Don’t offer money or product to others to write reviews for your business or write negative reviews about a competitor. We also discourage specialized review stations or kiosks set up at your place of business for the sole purpose of soliciting reviews.

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Google Updates Review Content Policy by

11 thoughts on “Google Updates Review Content Policy”

  1. Discourage=We will just filter out reviews from the same IP.

    I’m wondering if this will effect in anyway mobile reviews via a QR code in the business?

  2. Having been on the receiving end of what I’m 99% sure were competitor driven attack reviews I’m curious about the language with regard to discouraging attack reviews:

    “Don’t offer money or product to others to write reviews for your business or write negative reviews about a competitor.

    Great opportunity for a Googler to comment here to the public about these policy changes.

    Any googlers want to jump in???? :D

    (don’t be shy now ;)

    I’d like to know if you good googlers have any way to enforce or follow up on the attack review part of your changes??

  3. I recommend my customers train staff to notice when you have an extremely satisfied customer, and politely ask, “Would you be willing to give us a review online?” Ask politely and really happy customer is willing to leave a review. Then get the customer’s email address and personally send them a link to the Plus Local page.

  4. @chad I like that approach of getting the customer email. Doing this in conjunction to a business card with a thank you and a QR code on it also helps. Our clients have seen that mainly the extremely satisfied customers are more likely to leave a review with that card. I will advise my clients to get an email address to send a “reminder” email for the review.

    Also, I have found that one of the easiest ways to get people talking about QR codes for reviews is to simply ask “Have you used one of these QR codes before?” I use this approach with a more reserved client that may be a little timid to ask for a review.

  5. Can Google determine that traffic to your G+ page came from an Email you sent out and therefore discount its value? I think I read that somewhere, the solution was to link to your website first, then have them click a link to your G+ page. What do you think Mike?

  6. @Andrew, I think sending them back to your site is a safe bet one way or the other. You can link to a variety of local listings (some people prefer Yelp, etc. over G+) and also get them on a remarketing list if your business is such that customers buy from you more than once.

  7. Hey,

    I have a client who has 53 hotels within their Google Places account (all verified)

    Around about 3rd/4th of December 2012 their impressions dropped dramatically on 15 of their properties, increased dramatically on 12 of their properties and the rest remained stable.

    I’ve been hunting around for some kind of update that took place to cause this, but cant put my finger on anything definitive.

    So far it might be:

    1) Hotel finder launching in Australia (within the SERPs)
    2) “Fake reviews” as mentioned in the post above (however the client has not done any fake reviews)
    3) Some other issue

    Thanks for any insight,

    Robin

  8. Not since the legendary John Kerry have I seen such flip-floppery!

    For pete’s sake @Mike, didn’t they explicitly state review stations (e.g. iPads) were OK as recently as Minneapolis Local U?

    Geez. I tell ya.

  9. @Will Scott

    Google is an ever changing landscape, that’s what I love about it… it changes faster than just about anything in the technology sector.

    We all gotta stay on our toes.

  10. Hi all. This is in response to Robin “I have a client who has 53 hotels within their Google Places account (all verified)
    Around about 3rd/4th of December 2012 their impressions dropped dramatically on 15 of their properties, increased dramatically on 12 of their properties and the rest remained stable.”
    Could it be, that Google now is promoting its own hotels search box, above the local results ?
    Take “new york hotels” query for instance. You get 2 sponsored ads as first search result, and after that follows “New York hotels on Google” googledotcom/hotels. After that you have few organic results, and then the locals.
    So there is no surprise, their impressions dropped.

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