Why it's crazy to fake Google restaurant reviews
Reviews are important: this isn’t so much old news to a restaurateur than the equivalent of the first book of Genesis to a restaurateur.
Still, reviews are becoming increasingly important to restaurants in new ways as traditional review websites like Trip Advisor and Yelp make way for Google restaurant reviews; now, if you Google a business, or even Google a query that will result in business listings (i.e. Italian restaurants in New York), you’ll see the business’s name with its number of Google reviews and average star in a prominent position underneath.
So anyone who has an interest in your restaurant will be immediately confronted with its review status. And as we said, reviews are very important.
Just how important, BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Study tells us: 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more and 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business.
Google restaurant reviews
When you hear these stats it’s tempting to panic and try the quickest way to tot up those five star Google restaurant reviews you need, even if it’s not exactly legit.
Listen to us carefully: don’t do this. There are few things Google hates more than fake reviews. Don’t ask your employees to leave five star reviews. Don’t offer bribes or service in return for a glowing review. And most dangerous of all, do not pay a business or group of people to write positive reviews for you. Don’t think you’re smarter than Google. You’re not, there’s always a chance they will find out, and if they do they will ban you from the Google listings, a scenario no restaurant wants.
Google’s Review Guidelines state: “Conflict of interest: Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. If you own or work at a place, please don’t review your own business or employer. Don’t offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor. If you’re a business owner, don’t set up review stations or kiosks at your place of business just to ask for reviews written at your place of business.”
Google is watching you. Every major Google algorithm update is usually preceded by long periods of testing, machine learning and human monitoring by Google created to combat people who are trying to scam the system.
How simpleERB can help
So what to do then? How do you accumulate those positive reviews you need and still play by Google’s rules? You do it organically by encouraging your customers to leave a Google restaurant review if they wish, something simpleERB can hugely help you out with.
simpleERB has a one stop option that allows restaurant owners to encourage customers to share positive reviews on your Google profile, as well as Yelp, Trip Advisor and Facebook (you’ll need to be logged into simpleERB to see this feature).
With simpleERB you can add a link to the customer confirmation email which allows the customer to submit feedback to you after their meal.
When you get a good review you can tick a box on the email copy which sends them a request to share their review, along with links to your restaurant Google, Facebook and Trip Advisor profiles.
How to deal with negative reviews
P.S. More reviews for your restaurant may mean some negative reviews but this doesn’t necessarily need to be a bad thing.
Negative reviews prove your reviews are authentic, they can actually encourage trust (only relentlessly five star reviews are more likely to make customer think they are fake), they allow you to show your excellent customer service when you respond, and they are useful for feedback purposes.
We wrote in more depth about the positive effects of negative reviews on the simpleERB blog here.