On September 23rd, New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman hit 19 companies with over $350,000 in fines for posting fake reviews on sites such as Yelp, Google Local, and CitySearch. They Attorney General’s office called 19 of the top SEO companies in New York and said they were a yogurt shop that needs to combat negative online reviews. The SEO firms obliged and offered to write fake reviews and post them online. This act on its own says quite a lot.
The fact that these 19 companies were ready to offer fake reviews would lead one to believe that they get calls often from companies looking to combat negative reviews. Their answer must have often been to offer fake reviews. Their clients accepted this, wanted this, and got what they paid for. It’s a pretty sad day when businesses need to take to fake reviews to help their online reputiation.
If you’re a business and your online name is being smothered in negative reviews, this is actually a fantastic opportunity to do something positive about it. Ideally, you might want to make some business changes, value your customers more, and start working towards having real, postive, reviews of your business online. Customers that have positive experiences will tell their friends, and they will also be more likely to post a postive review online. It’s so easy to post a negative review online. To post a positive review, a customer needs to be wowed. It’s time you enter the wow-ing business.
A large factor that’s part of SEO is user experience. Consider this…Google will often consider elements such as your site’s bounce rate in order to determine the quality of your site. If the majority of your visitors only visit one page and then leave, there’s a good chance that Google will work to ensure you’re not a top search result. On the other hand, visitors who your explore your site a little further tell Google that your site provides a positive UX, and you’ll be more likely to rank higher on search engines. A quality SEO firm will help you to realize this, and will also help you to develop strategies and tactics to improve your overall user experience.
If you’re receiving countless negative reviews online, it’s time to focus on your offline user experience. This can have immense benefits to your local listings, site rankings, and business as a whole. SEO firms can, and should, help to get you to where you want to be. Get creative. Have awesome promotions, amazing staff, and work towards having customers that love you. Recommendations and positive reviews will come your way, and it’ll be true, positive, SEO that’s making the difference. When you’re using fake reviews to cover up the negative ones, you might bring in more customers temporarily, but wouldn’t you still have negative reviews? Why wouldn’t you? If you’re not focusing on your offline user experience, the negative reviews will continue. The shoddy SEO firms will gladly take more of your money though…Until the next round of fines come in.