Thursday 11 August 2016

Google reviews - are they credible?

Our simple answer is 'Yes' - but no review system is 100% watertight, so here we mine down into the Google system.

 We understand that the marketplace is crowded with competing independent review sites - in a way we are lucky that helpHound, as review managers, can sit above the fray - but we're concerned that the independents shouldn't call Google reviews' credibility into question without backing that up with hard evidence. As review management professionals we're often the first to spot anomalies in Google reviews - we alerted Google to a nasty US-based bot posting negative reviews earlier this year - if you have any examples of competitors successfully posting damaging reviews, do post a comment here, because we very rarely come across such behaviour on Google (unlike TripAdvisor and Yelp and some of the other independent sites).

You can post a review to Google if:
  • You have a G+ account
  • You have a Youtube account
  • You have a Gmail or Googlemail account
Here is what a Google staffer had to say on this subject in 2013:

For some people there is an inherent negative in this policy (they may be reluctant to post reviews under their real names, or they may be reluctant to attach their name to a sensitive business - medical being an obvious example).

We strongly feel that the positives - reviews having to be attached to an identifiable entity - outweigh any negatives. From a business's point-of-view it is preferable to accept that some people will not post to Google as a trade-off for the credibility Google reviews have built-in. 

But what about Google reviews like this?

And Names like this?

They are - almost - a thing of the past. There continues to be the occasional suspect username...

But if it is one amidst a sea of obviously genuine names...

...and 282 other reviews, is it that big an issue?

Think a review contravenes Google's Comment posting policy?

Then you can always flag the review: 

 Mouse over the area immediately to the right of the review date and this flag will appear

And, for our clients, if you feel a review contravenes Google's posting policy, consider using our review appeals advice. it certainly worked wonders for this client whose business was being severely damaged by a fraudulent review by a genuine G+ member. Our extensive experience and expertise in wording appeals has generated many success stories like this one.

In Summary

The overwhelming majority of Google reviews are the genuinely held opinions of real customers. Over and above that, they are the guide of choice for billions of consumers worldwide. So if someone is trying to put you or your customers off Google reviews by undermining their credibility we would respectfully suggest they think again.

Google is the gatekeeper. ALL your customers see your Google reviews - even if they never visit your website. You have to look great there and you have to look great on your own website (not on what we call 'hostage' sites: sites which invite reviews from your customers and then effectively sell them back to you!). 

And: if and when one of the independent review sites becomes more important than these two, we will be the first to let you know.

HelpHound: review management, not a review website (we should know, we were once upon a time!).


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