If you're considering paying for Google reviews, you may want to reconsider. There are many reasons why buying fake reviews is a bad idea, no matter how desperate you may be. Find out why we never advise paying for positive reviews and what we suggest you do instead now.

Do some keyword research around the word 'Google' and you'll soon see that "buy google reviews" is a pretty popular topic, so there's clearly a bunch of people out there who are interested in buying fake reviews. Why?

Well, if you're not actively asking your customers for reviews, your review collection rate is likely to be pretty low. Not only that, but the 'organic' reviews you do have are much more likely to be negative than positive.

A low star-rating can, understandably, cause panic for business. And we're guessing it's then that companies seek out a quick fix and look to buy fake google reviews for their business.

Sound like you? Well, let's first see 3 reasons why you should never buy Google reviews.

1. Paying for reviews is illegal

Many countries around the world have strict laws against fake reviews or false customer testimonials. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) took action against a marketing agency writing fake reviews for its clients in an effort to get them to rank more highly in Google.

By writing fake reviews or allowing fake reviews to be written, UK companies are in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and may face civil or criminal proceedings.

The rules aren't just limited to the UK either, the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. has similar rules and has a range of guides available giving some recommendations to follow.

It may sound extreme, but customer feedback is all about giving consumers a voice and improving the trust and reputation of your business. Buying fake reviews destroys all that.

2. Google doesn't like it

Google's entire business is based on the trust it has between itself and its users. Users trust Google to provide them with accurate information in response to any given search term. As Google regularly provides reviews and testimonials in its SERPS for most business search terms, it's really important that those reviews are accurate and genuine.

But buying fake reviews for places like Google Plus or Google My Business (anywhere there is a local search result including a map) you're not only going to get found out by Google (who will very quickly bump your My Business local search box out of the search results), you're also going to get found out by your customers.

The damage to your reputation will far outweigh the perceived benefits you may have of a temporary boost in your star ratings through fake review collection.

3. It's easy to spot a fake review

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Fake Google reviews are really not hard to spot. They're generally poorly-worded and most often don't bear any specific relevance to the company or product in question. When looking at the review profiles of these accounts, you'll often find a wide range of reviews on a range of different products, all in a short period of time. You may also spot inconsistencies in the location of the reviewer compared to the location of the company they are reviewing.

Your customers are also pretty savvy. They'll be looking around online on a variety of different sites for reviews, and any inconsistencies will be spotted pretty quickly.

Best practices for review collection

Now you know what not to do, it's time to learn what you should be doing in terms of review collection.

  • DON'T ask third parties to write fake reviews for you - you'll be responsible (read: liable) for their actions.
  • DON'T pretend to be a customer writing reviews about your own products
  • ENSURE that any third party you work with adhere to these rules (including agencies, SEO, web designers, PR companies)
  • DO work with a reputable Google Licensed review partner such as Reviews.io to manage authentic review collection on behalf of your business.
  • DO be good at what you do and your happy customers will write positive reviews - you just need to ask them

Basically, the solution to fixing your low review count and low star rating is simple: collect more positive reviews.

How do you do this? There are many ways, but the key to most of them is being proactive. Did you know that only 15% of customers regularly leave reviews, yet in a study, 68% of people were found to leave a local business a review when asked.

The key, then, is not to purchase Google reviews, but perhaps, to sign up to a Review Platform like Reviews.io. They make it easy to contact your customers - both past and present - and request feedback. All the ratings collected can then be sent to Google and will boost your review tally and improve your score.

In Summary

As with all quick fixes, buying reviews in Google may give you a small short-term benefit, but the longterm consequences could be really detrimental. If you really want to solidify your online reputation, consider investing in a Review Platform. With the increase in customer confidence it brings, it'll soon pay for itself.

Want help improving your online reputation? Give one our friendly team a call, or head over to our website to jump on live chat with one of our advisors.