Small Business News

Google Warns SEOs

Google announced that it has made some improvements to its spam detection algorithms that increased the number of reviews that appear on some Google+ Local pages.

Google’s Dasha made the announcement ina Google Groups forum thread (via Search Engine Roundtable).

“Online reviews have been in the news a lot recently, and we at Google are committed to helping people to get ratings, reviews, and recommendations that are relevant, helpful, and trustworthy,” Dasha says. “To protect both business owners and customers from spam reviews, we have systems in place that may remove individual reviews.”

“No one likes spam, and we’d like to talk about what you can do to make sure all of the reviews on Google+ Local are useful, honest, and written by real people!” adds Dasha.

Google advises business owners to be wary of SEO and reputation management services that promise to generate reviews, and Google says it will take down fake “glowing testimonies”. The company also notes that it does not take down negative reviews for just being negative for anyone, and instead advises business owners to respond themselves. Google also says not to trust anyone who says they know how to remove reviews from Google.

Interestingly, a specific guideline Google lists for business owners is to not set up a computer or tablet in their place of business customers can leave reviews on site. The company also reminds business owners that it doesn’t allow them to give customers free gifts or discounts in exchange for reviews. It’s kind of like the whole paid links thing.

Google tells SEOs specifically, “If a business accepts paper comment cards it might be tempting to collect them and “digitize” them by posting the reviews on Google+ Local. We ask that all reviews come from first hand experience and do not allow posting reviews on behalf of others.”

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