The Top 5 Review Gathering Practices To Avoid

Google has recently introduced a fairly comprehensive list of ‘does and don’ts’ relating to gathering reviews from business. Whilst many fall under Google’s ‘Prohibited and Restricted Content’ guidelines they can also be applied to your review gathering practices across all platforms.

To help steer you away from practices which may land you on shaky ground, we have outlined the top 5 review gathering practices avoid:

No. 1 – Do not use review gating

‘Review gating’ is one of the more recent additions to Google’s Review guidelines and essentially means that local businesses can no longer use a third-party tool to filter out negative reviews. In the past, software has enabled businesses to cherry-pick positive reviews by using software to filter out bad reviews and create a false impression of their business.

As of summer 2018, this practice is no longer permitted, with Google guidelines stating:

“Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.”

No. 2 – Do not review your own business

The whole point of allowing customers to leave reviews is to try and gather honest and unbiased accounts of genuine customer experiences. Leaving a review for your own business (or asking a member of staff to leave one on your behalf) flies in the face of this and is against Google Review guidelines for obvious reasons.

No. 3 – Do not review competitors

Leaving false reviews relating to competing businesses is classed by Google as “posting content about a competitor to manipulate their ratings”. Whilst Google doesn’t specifically state in its guidelines what the penalty for this practice may be, we are very confident that at the lower end of the scale, the review in question will be removed, whilst at the higher end of the scale, your website may even be subjected to a Google penalty, which can lead to a world of trouble for your business.

No. 4 – Do not accept or offer money to leave a review

Google does not condone incentivising customers to leave a review for your business. By offering any form of kickback (money, vouchers, prizes etc) to leave a review, you are clearly creating an  environment where the reviewer is more likely to leave a review which may not be true in return for financial gain.

This goes very much against Google’s wishes to offer an unbiased overview of customer experience and one that may leave you liable for punishment from Google.

No. 5 – Do not encourage reviews in bulk

It is just simple bad practice to generate a large influx of reviews over a short period of time as opposed to a drip feed over longer.

Whilst it is always tempting to try and bolster your review count in one swift go, a consistent approach is a far better way to provide an overview of customer experience that is authentic, useful and accurate.

Further Information

Footprint specialise in creating bespoke websites designed to help take your business to another level. We have been providing SEO Surrey since 1998 and if you’d like to speak to us regarding any of our services, give us a call on 01883 372488 or contact us via Facebook and we’ll be happy to talk you through your options.

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By | December 3rd, 2018|Reviews|Comments Off on The Top 5 Review Gathering Practices To Avoid

Never Underestimate The Power of Google Maps

With Google trying to provide search results based upon the location of the person making the search, Google Maps listing have never been more important.

Does your business have a Google Maps listing yet? Even if not, did you know that Google may have created one for you already and it could be waiting to be claimed?

Google Maps (aka Google Local) is a free service offered by Google with the goal of allowing businesses to engage with customers based within their local area. It also provides the perfect platform for local residents to discover businesses located in the near vicinity.

For example, should you search for ‘Driving lessons Surrey’, you are very likely to be directed to the screen highlighted in the screen shot below. As you can see, the Google Maps/Local listings take a very prominent position in the listings and follow a set format with the reviews being clearly visible. Should you choose to click on one of these driving schools, you would then be able to access additional information about that particular driving school.

Google search results

Please Note – Surrey Driving Force is a Footprint Web Design client.

What Are The Benefits of Obtaining a Google Maps Listing?

The benefits of having your business listed on Google Local include:

  • Google Maps listings typically appear at the top of the search results pages. Therefore they are very likely to be the first thing that people see.
  • Accessing Google Maps listings on a mobile phone or smart device will offer customers an easy way to either call your business or get directions to your location.
  • The easy access to the impartial ratings left by current and previous customers can go a long way towards giving new customers confidence in your products and services.
  • Potential customers visiting your listing are very likely to be local to your business, therefore giving you a definite advantage over businesses based further afield.

How Can We Help?

Setting up or claiming an existing listing is just the start of the process. We will make sure that you squeeze every last drop of potential from your listing.

We will do this by completing the following steps:

  • Making sure that all of the information listed on your account is accurate, relevant and verified.
  • Add images to your listing
  • Make sure there are no duplicate listings which could prove harmful in the future.
  • Submit a number of citations which will help to confirm your listing’s details in Google’s eyes.
  • We would actively seek to encourage customer reviews. For example if you have an e-mail database for current and past customers, we will contact them on your behalf with links to your listing and a guide for the best and quickest way to leave a review.
  • Keep your listing up to date.

The above information is designed to offer a guide towards maximising the exposure and potential of your Google Maps listing. There are also additional factors which must be taken into consideration. If you would like Footprint Web Design to help optimise your Google Maps listing, simply give us a call today on Tel. No. +44(0)1883 372488.

For more information regarding Google Maps/Local listings, please visit

Contact Us Today

If you would like to speak to our dedicated team regarding the creation of a dedicated Google Maps listing for your building, please contact us today on Tel. No 01883 372488.

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By | October 25th, 2018|Google Maps|Comments Off on Never Underestimate The Power of Google Maps