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    Review-Gating is Now Against the Google My Business Guidelines

    This post brought to you by Joy Hawkins - Sterling Sky


    As of April 12, 2018 Google has updated the review guidelines to clarify that review-gating is not allowed. They added the following to their guidelines: “Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.” What is review-gating? Review-gating is the process of filtering candidates before asking them to leave you a..
    The post Review-Gating is Now Against the Google My Business Guidelines appeared first on Sterling Sky Inc.



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    Re: Review-Gating is Now Against the Google My Business Guidelines

    How is this even enforceable though? How does Google know who you ask and who you don't?

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    Re: Review-Gating is Now Against the Google My Business Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by djbaxter View Post
    How is this even enforceable though? How does Google know who you ask and who you don't?
    Is it possible to track the links from review-requesting SaaS?

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    Re: Review-Gating is Now Against the Google My Business Guidelines

    I don't know, DMG.

    But in retrospect, my question is a little naive. It's like asking 10 or 15 years ago (maybe more) how Google can know who bought links and who didn't. The answer is they can't know about all of them but they don't need to. They find some. They deal harshly with those they find.

    Anyone who continues to violate guidelines has competitors. Some of those competitors will happily provide information to Google. When they do, the violators will fry.

    Who is willing to risk that?

    It's about deterrence.

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    Re: Review-Gating is Now Against the Google My Business Guidelines

    Joy, I've had a look at the new Google guidelines for reviews and it also says this: "Don’t solicit reviews from customers in bulk"

    I'm a bit confused. I mean say you have a business with a reasonably high turnover / volume of customers, are you supposed to only ask like 1 in every 50 for a review or something? What's "bulk"?

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    Re: Review-Gating is Now Against the Google My Business Guidelines

    Hi Mopo,

    Joy may be able to add more, but asking each customer individually for reviews would be considered natural, not "bulk" and not every customer would leave one anyway.

    My interpretation of "bulk" is if you send mass emails to all 3,000 of your customers at once which could result in 230 reviews all in one day, which would not look natural.

    Joy feel free to weigh in with more. Just my 2 cents...
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    Re: Review-Gating is Now Against the Google My Business Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by djbaxter View Post
    I don't know, DMG.

    But in retrospect, my question is a little naive. It's like asking 10 or 15 years ago (maybe more) how Google can know who bought links and who didn't. The answer is they can't know about all of them but they don't need to. They find some. They deal harshly with those they find.

    Anyone who continues to violate guidelines has competitors. Some of those competitors will happily provide information to Google. When they do, the violators will fry.

    Who is willing to risk that?

    It's about deterrence.
    I wasn't going to correct you lol! Good insights, I've found that dentists (the niche I serve) is all about understanding review policies. Not so much for technical SEO lol!

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    Re: Review-Gating is Now Against the Google My Business Guidelines

    Hi Linda, we get about 30 to 40 new customers per day and send out feedback/review requests to them several weeks later. For convenience we send out the requests in batches over several days, at a rate of about 75 requests sent per day.

    That has worked fine so far with about 8% leaving feedback, and a smaller proportion going on to leave a review (after being filtered to do so based on their feedback score).

    Now that we're going to funnel them more directly towards leaving an online review (and without filtering) I'm just a bit concerned if say we get like 3 or 4 reviews in one day. Would that trip a red flag?

    I'd say we're pretty small scale, but it would be helpful if Google clarified a bit more what they define as "bulk".

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    Re: Review-Gating is Now Against the Google My Business Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by djbaxter View Post
    Anyone who continues to violate guidelines has competitors. Some of those competitors will happily provide information to Google. When they do, the violators will fry.

    Who is willing to risk that?

    It's about deterrence.
    I can also see unhappy customers reporting. "I had a really bad experience at this place and only the 5 star reviews show, I think they just bury reviews for anyone that's unhappy."


    Quote Originally Posted by Mopo100 View Post
    Hi Linda, we get about 30 to 40 new customers per day and send out feedback/review requests to them several weeks later. For convenience we send out the requests in batches over several days, at a rate of about 75 requests sent per day.

    That has worked fine so far with about 8% leaving feedback, and a smaller proportion going on to leave a review (after being filtered to do so based on their feedback score).
    Have you considered asking 1 or 2 days later, while the experience is fresh in their minds? I think you'd see improved conversions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mopo100 View Post
    Now that we're going to funnel them more directly towards leaving an online review (and without filtering) I'm just a bit concerned if say we get like 3 or 4 reviews in one day. Would that trip a red flag?

    I'd say we're pretty small scale, but it would be helpful if Google clarified a bit more what they define as "bulk".
    My guess is that bulk is not about a specific number, but a suspicious pattern that trips the filter.

    So if in your industry most companies get reviews once a month and you are getting 20 a day, that would look fishy.

    Or if you average 3 reviews a day then suddenly have a spurt of 50 in one day.
    (For example.)
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    Re: Review-Gating is Now Against the Google My Business Guidelines

    There was a case where a company created links to automatically post GMB reviews with 5-stars set as the default. Google wiped out all of the reviews associated with the business. The same will happen when somebody posts on the GMB forum. It will be super easy as they will be able to grab a screenshot of the questionnaire. I know of a few businesses doing it and in violation. It is just a matter of time before somebody gets reported. I am certain, Joy will be sharing them as an example and warning to others.

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