LinkNow Media | Customer Reviews

The Web is Waiting For You

Month: October 2019

Can Fake Reviews Hurt My Business?

Getting online reviews is one of the fastest ways to improve your web presence. Getting fake reviews is one of the quickest ways to ruin it. Whether the fake reviews are positive or negative doesn’t matter. They’re both bad. Either way, they can destroy the trust your clients have in you, ruin your reputation with Google, and lower your ranking in local search results.

Read on to find out why and learn how to protect yourself by reporting fake reviews!

The Two Types of Fake Reviews

We can divide fake reviews into two categories: positive and negative.

The positive ones tend to originate internally. Someone within a company will write a slew of glowing reviews praising the place and padding their online score in the hopes of making themselves look better than their competitors. In some cases, companies will even buy fake reviews from a shady third-party provider on the net.

The more nefarious—and notorious—type is the negative fake reviews. A single one-star review isn’t of too much concern. Sure, it can be unsightly, but it won’t ruin your reputation. Heck, a few bad reviews can even be good for business. More frightening, however, are the smear campaigns set up by rival companies.

In such instances, a competitor will set up multiple online accounts on a review platform so that they can bombard their opponent with bad review after bad review, sabotaging their reputation and careening their business. As was the case with false positive reviews, some competitors have also been caught paying a third party to write negative reviews.

What Can Happen If I’m the Victim of a Fake Review Campaign?

Fake reviews pose numerous problems for business owners, namely:

  1. They destroy trust. Generally, consumers tend to weigh negative reviews more heavily than good ones. If you’ve been hit by a slew of bad reviews, you can expect customers to think twice before choosing you. To make matters worse, readers are usually much better at spotting fake positive reviews than fake negatives. However, with the rise in fake reviews over the past 10 years, users have, on the whole, gotten much better at distinguishing between the genuine and the fake. It’s par for the course if you’re an active internet user in 2019.
  2. They damage your online reputation. Reviews are an essential aspect of your online reputation. If you solicit fake reviews, or if you’re hit with a negative ad campaign, your reputation as a service provider will suffer. Not only will your clients not trust you—neither will Google. Which leads to our third problem…
  3. They can lead to penalties and fines.Google penalizes businesses that do not play by the rules. If you’re found guilty of violating their policies by requesting fake reviews, you may find yourself removed from local search results listings. Offenders can even be fined. In a New York sting operation, the attorney general charged fake review companies with $350,000 in fines.

To sum up: If you’ve been thinking about writing or buying fake reviews, think again. Don’t do it. It’s unethical, it’s impractical, and it won’t pay off. Just don’t.

How Can I Stop Fake Reviews from Hurting My Business?

You should report any fake reviews directly to the review platform.

To report a review on Google:

  1. Locate the review in question
  2. Hover your mouse over the review. Click the “Flag” icon:
  3. On the next page, enter your email address and the reason for the violation:

To report fake reviews on Yelp:

  1. Sign into your business account using the Yelp Business Owners website (biz.yelp.com). If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one to manage your listing.
  2. Locate the review in question.
  3. Click the Options button (three dots) and press Report Review:
  4. Enter a detailed explanation for reporting the review. Then press submit.

From there, it’s all about playing the waiting game. The more information you provide, the better your chances of having the review removed. Good luck out there, and stay safe folks!

Join LinkNow Media in the Fight Against Fake Reviews!

LinkNow Media is one of North America’s leading digital marketing agencies. With over 10,000 clients and a vast online presence, it’s safe to say that we’ve encountered our fair share of spam, fake reviews, negative ad campaigns. But through it all, we’ve persevered and thwarted every attempt on our reputation.

If you’ve faced similar problems, we can help you too.

Join us in the fight against fake reviews. To get started, leave a comment below, email us at website@linknowmedia.com, or give us a call at 1-888-667-7186 today!

Why Bad Reviews Might Be Good for Business

It’s no secret. Five-star Google reviews are the gateway to effortless leads. If there’s one trick to outranking the competition, it’s getting a ton of positive reviews.

But what happens when a scathing, one-star review taints your spotless profile? Don’t panic!  It’s not as bad as you think. Just read this blog to learn how to make negative reviews work in your favor!

Your Marketing Strategy is Working

So, you got a bad review. It’s bound to happen. Here’s the silver lining though. The fact that someone cared enough to leave a negative review means your online marketing strategy is working.

It’s doing what you want—rather, it’s doing what you designed it to do. It’s generating traffic. Sure, in an ideal world, all your customers would leave raving reviews about how their lives will never be the same, and how they’re eternally grateful that they found your service.

But the reality is, bad reviews are par for the course on the internet.

Your Ranking Depends on Your Responsiveness

Regardless of how mean, untrue, or eccentric that review is, try to see it for what it is: a shining beacon of opportunity. Engage with it. Show that you care!

Google and Yelp have made responsiveness one of their ranking factors. This means that the content of your review doesn’t matter—what matters is what you do with it.

A company with twenty lousy reviews isn’t a foregone failure if the owner carefully, politely, and thoroughly addresses each of them. In this scenario, Google doesn’t see a lousy business owner. Google sees an active business owner who cares about their clients.

You can’t remove the negative, so milk it for what it’s worth! If you respond promptly and respectfully to your dissatisfied customer, you can count it as a win for your ranking.

Bad Reviews Build Credibility

A bad review isn’t the end of the world. One might argue that a rare negative review can increase your business’ credibility. Now, before you scoff at this statement and skim to the next section, consider this.

Customers that are browsing your company’s business listing expect to find faults. They may even want to know the downfalls of your services. Customers do their research—they compare what other people consider to be the pros and cons. And other people might not have the same priorities as them. A negative review for one person could easily be a positive for another!

Plus, a negative review can work in your favor by making you more relatable. Nobody’s perfect, after all! And your clients know that. As long as the overarching trajectory of your listing is positive, your clients will likely forgive an outlying piece of negative feedback.

Too Many Positive Reviews May Look Suspicious

You’d be surprised at how many people—even people who have never heard of SEO—are aware of fake reviews. Most of them are intelligent consumers that can weed out the real from the fake. So, relax a little! Give web surfers more credit, and they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Even if that nasty remark is legitimate, there’s still hope. Chances are, your clients have experience dealing with angry customers too. Or, at the very least, they’ve encountered them in line at Starbucks. Prospective consumers are usually well versed in discerning what’s worth listening to and what’s not.

The bottom line is, if you’re endlessly obsessing over a single insulting statement, stop. The majority of your clients will overlook one lackluster comment in favor of nine positive ones.

Your Prospective Clients are Waiting for Your Response

When you receive a negative review, don’t hang your head and assume the damage is done. No, you can’t remove the post, but you can redirect your customer’s attention – off the review and onto you.

Have you ever gotten into a heated discussion at work and left the boardroom thinking, “Wow, my colleague handled that really well”? The same applies online. As tempting as it might be to ignore your accuser (or snap back in anger and explain all the reasons their opinion is wrong), use your reply as an opportunity. Take advantage of the platform to showcase your stellar customer service.

You can’t stop your clients from reading the haters, but don’t forget that they’re equally interested in observing your reaction. A thoughtful reply to a mocking remark can leave your clients thinking that you’re a class act and that the rude heckler who initiated the dialogue was out of line. Your behavior as a business owner speaks volumes.

Benefit from the Constructive Criticism

Yes, there are fraudulent reviews out there. But there are also valid critiques. These can hurt. As hard as you try, mistakes can happen. Whether it’s an oversight during the busy season or employee no-shows leave you short-staffed—it’s impossible to be on your A-game 100% of the time.

When a negative review is genuine, and an anonymous customer throws the spotlight on everything you did wrong, use the criticism constructively. Be an optimist. See the reproach as a precious glimpse into your clients’ experience. Your goal is to improve that experience for the next person.

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the lightbulb, is equally famous for the number of times he failed at making the lightbulb. But in his eyes, he didn’t fail. l. Instead, he succeeded at finding 10, 000 ways not to make a lightbulb. Similarly, if you find yourself facing a seemingly insurmountable 10, 000 bad reviews, consider yourself enlightened – you just discovered 10, 000 ways not to provide your service. Your next attempt could make history.

 

Want to learn more about how reviews impact SEO? Contact our marketing specialists at LinkNow Media by leaving a comment below or calling us at 1.888.667.7186.

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