How to handle the fake negative reviews and secure business from this negative SEO attack? Well! It is one of the most common questions, being asked by a massive number of entrepreneurs all around the globe.
The competition in today’s business verticals has become like an F1 track wherein those top-notch configured racing cars have a common objective called winning. Instead of following the legit methods or apt process parameters, their target is merely to stand out in the competition. They target the business listings of their competitors by posting negative reviews against them. Well! It is certainly not a good business practice.
Have you ever imagined the consequences of negative reviews posted against your product or services? Being a customer, will you ever think of buying a product or service from the company that has negative online reviews posted against it on various online platforms? Most of you will it as “No”. Right? Now, place yourself in the shoes of a company, which has either come across negative SEO attack or perhaps natural negative reviews. Coming under this situation can make you lose business for sure.
Let’s leave this philosophy aside for now and come back to our core objective, which is fake negative reviews – Negative SEO Attack.
Well! By negative SEO, we mean an unethical practice used by your competitors to spoil your online ranking. And, posting negative reviews against any company is one of the components of Negative SEO attack. On the contrary, when we discuss real negative reviews, we need to understand that they are received because of lack in the quality of our products /services. According to updates mentioned in Searchengineland.com and neilpatel.com, fake reviews are becoming one of the biggest challenges of entrepreneurs globally. All, it takes is, create a fake account and post negative comments against any product/service. These reviews are usually posted on Google business listing or third party websites. However, Google has various policies against fake negative reviews, but still you must strategically monitor and respond each and every review posted for your organization.
Limitations with Reviews on Google
Google reviews are known to be the deciding factor for the purchases made by tons of users all over the world. Well! There is no qualm about it. But, the challenge here is, it accepts anonymous access of users, who can really spoil your reputation with minutes. Your years of expertise in your niche can become zero with a few bad reviews. On the other hand, it is not mandatory for a user to be your customer for posting a negative review against your product or organization. In other words, without even buying your product or service, they are free to post review for your product/service.
Good News against Fake Negative Reviews on Google
Well! If you have come across fake negative reviews against your company, then here is a chance to smile again. My digital marketing team, diligently spend time on the reviews posted for our clients. And, the best part is, continuously tracking fake negative reviews can help you create a solid case for how/why the reviews are violating the guidelines. You can get those false negative reviews removed by connecting with Google via Facebook, Twitter or flagging them as inappropriate on Google.
My Case Study of Fake Negative/Bad Reviews and the Right way to Respond:
Be it any business, having negative reviews against your company is certainly a matter of being upset. But, the right approach to fix it is, to keep your mind cool to create the right strategy against it. One of my clients received more than 10 negative reviews against their company within a time span of four minutes. And, most of them were only star ratings instead of the complete review. Since, the customer base of my respective client was limited and they had a crisp customer list, I immediately understood that it was a negative SEO attack.
Guide on how to Remove Fake Negative Reviews from Google – My Action Plan
I posted this observation on Facebook and Twitter on behalf of my client. And, fortunately I got an overwhelming response from a huge number of users. Some of them were customers of my client and a few of them were friends/co-workers.
The post was as following:
“Dear user! Who tried spamming my business listing this evening with bogus/fake review, a kind of negative SEO attack – It could have been better to use some meaningful username instead of using this fake looking username. Thank you for stopping by my business listing though!”
If you are good at your products or services, you can certainly have people or fans who stand by you in tough times. Right?
The same thing happened with my client as well. The customers who saw this post had understood this negative SEO attack issue and provided them with many positive reviews. Furthermore, they flagged those reviews as inappropriate. The point here is that we did not ask for positive reviews from anyone, it happened because of my client’s positive goodwill in the market. I just narrated the real story on social media. This is how, the energy of attacker must have depleted.
In case you encounter the same negative seo attack, you can also ask your team to flag that particular review as inappropriate. But make sure to do it as a separate user from different IP addresses.
Was the Negative Review Removed from Google
In my case, the negative reviews were removed. But, I have seen a few instances wherein Google denied removing the negative reviews. If I would have come across the same, I had another plan as well. Well! It is based on responding to those negative reviews by offering 200% refund as a goodwill gesture. And, you know that the double of zero remains zero. LOL!
Moving forward to the real negative reviews; In case you have received them, it is advisable to answer them with extreme care and patience. Let’s quickly discuss the real negative reviews posted on Google.
How to Respond and Remove Bad/Negative Reviews From Google – Local Business Listing:
Please be informed that here, we are discussing real negative reviews instead of fake negative reviews. So, here are ingredients that you must have in your curry of fighting against negative reviews:
Identification: Figure out the problem that made your customer post the negative review on Google.
Acknowledge: Acknowledge the mistake if there was some flaw in your service or the quality of product. It will certainly move your customers towards positive conversation ahead.
Sympathy, Empathy and Apology: You should include the statements encompassing sympathy, empathy and apology in response to the negative review. (e.g., Dear customer, we are extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused to you owing to our product/service. If we were in this situation, we would have felt the same.)
Resolution: Right after adding the flavor of sympathy, empathy and apology, you need to provide your customer with the right resolution to make them contended again. It can be a full refund, any freebies or additional service as a goodwill gesture.
Assurance: The foundation of sales is led by the building block of trust in your product/service. Make sure to assure your respected customer that this issue is being notified to the higher authorities and is/will be fixed forever.
Sales Pitch: Right after resolving the issue, you can again courteously ask your customer to reuse your service and refer others to use it.
Google has been working really hard to identify the fake negative reviews to boost the customer’s experience. It is expected that it will roll out the enhanced version of Google reviews algorithm, which will be more secured and justified than ever before. So, stay confident, passionate and updated to set your own boundaries in your business arena.