Google Review Filter & Linking Directly to G+

rossicone

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Say you have a page on your website that is used to ask patients/clients to write a review about your business. It contains logos that link to the business' listings on different sites around the web- Citysearch, InsiderPages, Vitals, whatever...

I was wondering if linking directly to a G+ listing could actually trip Google's review filter so the review never displays? I was under the impression that Google preferred someone to search organically for a business, find their listing, and then write a review. However I am hearing different things around the web, so I figured I'd throw something up on this forum to get more opinions :)

Can Google tell that multiple reviewers are coming from the same page on a website? If she can, does she care? Could it potentially trip her filter?

Thanks for your help!
 

Colan Nielsen

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Good question. I personally don't see anything wrong with doing that. In fact I think it's a good idea. My company has received several reviews that stuck where we had sent the client a direct link to our G+ Local page. So I don't think that doing so will trip a filter on it's own.
 

Linda Buquet

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I was under the impression that Google preferred someone to search organically for a business, find their listing, and then write a review. However I am hearing different things around the web, so I figured I'd throw something up on this forum to get more opinions :)
Sorry Rachel, I saw you raise that confusion somewhere else recently and meant to comment there to try to clarify what I believe you may be remembers.

Rachel I think you heard that from me (but maybe misconstrued the advice). AT ONE POINT long ago, back when the review filtering was crazy and tons were getting reviews blocked and we were brainstorming about it somewhere and throwing ideas around - that's one I threw out there to try.

But if I remember right I was not even talking about linking to G+ from your site. I think that's normal and Google expects it.

I was talking about email blasts asking a bunch of clients all at once for a review. I was only 'suggesting' to the folks that could not get any reviews to stick to 'try' linking to the maps listing or search result instead of linking to the G+ page directly. My thought was that if G saw that no one was ever hitting that page via search and other natural paths and then suddenly the page got hit 1000 times and all from direct email links and they got 10 reviews, that could cause a problem.

SOOOO that was just a suggestion for something folks could try that WERE getting all their emails blocked - back when the blocking was super bad.

That was never meant as a blanket statement to say never link to G+ directly AND I never said not to direct link from your site which I've always thought was fine.

Does that help clarify?
 

rossicone

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AT ONE POINT long ago, back when the review filtering was crazy and tons were getting reviews blocked and we were brainstorming about it somewhere and throwing ideas around - that's one I threw out there to try.
Thanks for the confirmation Linda & Colan!!

During that ONE POINT long ago (geez that does feel like forever ago!), I made the executive decision to go with the route that was the safest best, aka not linking directly to G+. Now that time has passed though, I felt it was time to re-evaluate the situation :) This is great news to hear! It is a struggle in itself to cultivate reviews for a business. I am happy we can make the process a little easier for customers by giving them a link directly to the business' G+ listing instead of having them search for it themselves. Phew, what a relief! :D:D
 

Linda Buquet

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In fact in training if you remember I even stress adding the G+ L review link on the Contact us page to make it easy to tell customers where to find the link. And I also stressed in that same section adding the link so you DON'T have to risk having them search and maybe end up leaving a review on the wrong listing if there is a dupe that cropped up. With Dentists, especially important since there could be multiple listings if multiple Drs.
 
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First off, points to Rachel for personifying Google ;)


Second, Linda is right of course. But this question about linking directly to a review profile comes up frequently with respect to not just Google but Yelp--and Yelp's even more tempermental review filter.


I've long thought this concern is overblown. Yelp and Google both know SO MUCH about their users that I have to think that the given pathway a user follows to leave a review is so miniscule a factor to the filter as to not even matter relative to all the other data. And note that if Yelp *doesn't* know a lot about you, your review is not likely to get published, anyway.


Moreover, only Yelp discourages asking for reviews; Google does not. So I suppose Yelp theoretically could be on the lookout for directed visits, but unless you're actually spamming them, I'm doubtful the referrer is a big factor. After all, driving real customers to where they can join these services and write legitimate reviews should be a win for everyone.
 

Linda Buquet

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First off, points to Rachel for personifying Google ;)
"She" (Rachel) is a good listener. I've been calling G Local a "she" for years! :p

Here's why...

<a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local/1825-google-local-she-he-proof-its-she.html">Is Google+ Local a SHE or a HE? Proof it's a SHE</a>

Oh and this one: <a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/break-room/13879-if-google-guy-funny-video-but-google.html">If Google Was a Guy - Funny Video - But Google Local is Really a SHE</a>

Oh and we even had a poll about it! <a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/break-room/514-google-googlebot-female.html">Is Google (or Googlebot) female?</a>
 
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Ha! Amazing. I had no idea. But Google as "she" made intuitive sense to me, mostly because at the end of the day I just don't understand her ;)
 

rossicone

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Moreover, only Yelp discourages asking for reviews; Google does not. So I suppose Yelp theoretically could be on the lookout for directed visits, but unless you're actually spamming them, I'm doubtful the referrer is a big factor.
Thanks Jon, you bring up a good point about Yelp. Linking directly to Yelp listings is something I have been thinking about recently as well.

Yelp offers badges for businesses who have at least three reviews on their Yelp listing. You would think that putting this badge on your website, which is the purpose of having one, could easily be used to cultivate reviews. I contacted Yelp to ask if using their badge on a website could actually trip their review filter. Of course I received a very general answer back, not answering my question whatsoever.

"Youcan showcase your Yelp reviews on your website through free Review Badges,available through your Business Account."

Thanks Yelp! That helps a lot haha. I did some more research and I believe if there is wording on your site around the Yelp badge asking to write a review, then there is a good chance the review will be filtered. I know that Yelp has real people monitoring/checking listing information with the website associated with it, so I wouldn't be surprised if they checked sites to see if the business is actively asking for reviews as well.

I always error on the side of caution, so I am not currently using Yelp badges. Do you have any thoughts on this though?

Thanks!!
 
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@Rachel,

Yep, erring on the side of caution makes sense with Yelp, prickly as they are. Although I find the company's self-righteousness so offensive and their policies so unfair that I can support businesses who flout Yelp's rules as a matter of principle.

The bottom line with Yelp as a marketing channel, of course, is that really only active Yelpers matter. Yelp badges and non-solicitous stickers that say "People love us on Yelp" *may* be enough to remind *active* Yelpers that a business is listed on the service and values reviews there.

After all, you can get non-Yelpers writing reviews on Yelp all day long, only to have each and every one of them wind up in review filter hell.

That's why I generally advocate a "review funnel" approach to asking for customer reviews, where Yelp is 0 or 1 of several choices. The idea is to guide customers to where they will be most at ease and most useful leaving a review: steer non-Yelpers *away* from Yelp, give them a range of other choices, point out where they can login with Facebook or leave a review without creating an account, etc.

For a simple example: http://grade.us/yourname
 

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