Reviews are very important to our Google Places optimization, so when is it NOT OK to encourage Reviews?
At least not with Money or Product incentives!
Here at Local Oxygen we are always looking for new ways to enhance our Local Clients Google Places listings but of course staying within the Google Guidelines.
Recently we had a business who wanted to run contests to get customers to leave reviews, however Mike Blumenthal mentions that Google has come out and stated that incentives used to gain reviews are no go!
This is taken directly from Google Places quality guidelines:
Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased. For instance, as a business owner or employee you should not review your own business or current place of work.
Don’t offer money or product to others to write reviews for your business or write negative reviews about a competitor. We also discourage specialized review stations or kiosks set up at your place of business for the sole purpose of soliciting reviews.
As a reviewer, you should not accept money or product from a business to write a review about them. Additionally, don’t feel compelled to review a certain way just because an employee of that business asked you to do so. Finally, don’t post reviews on behalf of others or misrepresent your identity or affiliation with the place you are reviewing.
Seems a bit unfair here since you are not required to give a positive review in order to qualify.
Since the May 2012 update it looks like Google is definitely making it a clear case that you are not to solicit reviews by offering money or product in any way.
What’s Working Now for Obtaining Reviews from Customers
With the latest update to Local Oxygen, we have now introduced a dedicated review gathering process that fits nicely with Google Places/Google+ Local guidelines.
Your clients have a branded, customized page for customer to leave reviews
This makes it very simple and easy for your clients to actively seek customer reviews without having to set up “review stations” as Google calls them as these breech the guidelines.
With the increased number of reviews our clients and Members clients are getting, the results are very positive on the Google places optimization side with healthy increases in rankings!
“Great News for Local Marketers and Agencies!”
Chris and I will be re-opening the doors to Local Oxygen very soon to let a few more lucky folks in to enjoy the awesome benefits of our Unique Local Marketing Software System.
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