When it comes to Local SEO, customer reviews can be the bane or blessing for a business. Owners desperately want glowing reviews, disgruntled customers can leave scathing ones, and the temptation to try influencing the balance is always there. Some recent announcements from Google have made it clear, however, that a very gentle touch is needed when courting those elusive good reviews.

Here are some quick highlights of the recent updates:

1)      Employees should not be reviewing the business they work for.

2)      Do not allow your SEO or Reputation Management company to write fake reviews for you. Google is looking for that and will take those reviews down.

3)      Do not set up a tablet or computer in your office for people to leave reviews on. All the reviews coming from a single IP address will be flagged and not posted.

4)      Do not offer incentives for customers to leave good reviews. No discounts, freebies, or promotions. This rule probably had a lot to do with the third one.

Don’t worry though! There are still lots of easy things you can do to get good reviews. Here are two.

Two Easy Ideas for Encouraging Better Reviews

1)      Step up the customer service. This has always been important but Internet reviews really stick around so it’s becoming even more important to always cultivate the best customer experience possible

2)      Encourage reviews in follow up emails or with a little reminder at checkout. It could be as simple as handing out a card with the receipt that says “Don’t forget to review us on Google and Yelp!”

n’t forget to review us on Google and Yelp!”

Jamie Bates