Best Practice for Requesting Google Reviews in BulkApril 19, 2018
In light of recent changes made by Google to their terms of service regarding online reviews, we wanted to further expand upon another change Google has been quietly implementing over the last few months. In the latest version of their terms of service, it states that businesses should not solicit reviews from customers in bulk. This specific policy raises various questions and concerns. What numerical amount is considered ‘bulk’, and what actions fall under bulk requesting?
Although Google itself doesn’t specify what constitutes as ‘bulk’, it’s in your best interest to stay on the safer side of the spectrum. Moving forward, ReviewPush advises against the practice of sending more that 50 requests via text or Email per day. Yes, Google has seemingly left it up to the discretion of businesses to define what is to be considered ‘bulk’. While we believe any number over 50 may push the wrong buttons in the eyes of Google, your business’s end decision is up to you. However, it’s important to keep in mind what role Google plays in the existence and future success of your business.
As one of the top review platforms to date, Google makes it easy for anyone to leave a review. You don’t have to download an app to do so on a mobile device, plus their reviews are free and accessible to anyone with access to the internet. Because of their immense influence on both consumers and businesses alike, Google takes pride in their ability to remain generally unbiased from all angles; taking on the issue of fake reviews head first. With such a pristine reputation, it makes sense that Google would want to remain as un-bias and honest as possible. That means they must crack down on review solicitation in the form of bulk requests generally sent from an online reputation management platform, such as ReviewPush.
We have previously endorsed the practice of collecting feedback in bulk, as we’ve seen promising results for our customers by doing so. Though this practice may still be of value on other platforms outside of Google, we now advise you to refrain from requesting feedback from customers in bulk across the board — not just for Google. Before you question the implementation of new standards and best practices for all review platforms — not just the ones that have updated their policies; hear us out.
While there’s no way to predict what moves other review platforms will take in response to those made by big players such as Yelp and Google, it’d be wise to assume they’re going to start riding the policy update wave of their big-time competitors. If you’re implementing one-off changes to your approach for a singular platform, should others follow suite; you’ll be forced to spend valuable time adjusting those additional campaigns. Trust us, we get it: time is money, and no one wants to lose out on a pretty penny (and we don’t want you to, either)!
Now that we’ve defined what exactly we quantify as ‘bulk’, let’s get to additional measures your business can take to ensure no red flags are raised on Google’s end. If you’re a current customer of ours, you’ve likely been utilizing email campaigns as a main strategy to collect customer feedback. Good news: you don’t have to entirely abandon ship when it comes to these campaigns. However, we do highly suggest altering the manner in which they are sent out.
For instance, let’s say you’ve been collecting customer data in a spreadsheet within the dashboard that’s easily allowed you to send Email blasts out to your customers, asking for their feedback in the increments you’ve selected. Prior to the existence of Google’s “bulk reviews” policy, this was widely accepted in the world of online reputation management.
With respect to this change, we recommend collecting each customer’s data as they come to you. Additionally, instead of hoarding this data in a spreadsheet that only sees the light of day once every few weeks, we advise sending out individualized feedback requests to customers in a timely manner after they’ve utilized your product in one way or another. This way, you won’t tip off Google’s algorithms with a plethora of reviews pouring in all at once. To Google, this doesn’t seem natural. Although you may have collected the reviews in an unbiased manner, when Google sees a high volume of reviews coming in, it trips their system; thus flagging your reviews.
What happens when numerous reviews for a business get flagged on Google? Simple: they get deleted. This happens either automatically, as they have wired their Algorithm to flag and delete such activity; or manually by a Google employee that’s personally looked into the matter.
“We may review content to determine whether it is illegal or violates our policies, and we may remove or refuse to display content that we reasonably believe violates our policies or the law” https://policies.google.com/terms
No matter how it gets deleted, trust that if you’re business is breaking guidelines, even slightly; you’ll probably be looking at a loss of Google reviews.
At ReviewPush, we work tirelessly to ensure your experience with our platform exceeds any preconceived expectations. Occasionally, that includes changing our tone on formerly implemented best practices in order to best serve you — the customer — in a transparent, honest and effective way. Though we highly advise you to adapt to the changing tides of Google’s Terms of Service, we cannot force your hand in doing so.
As always, the entire ReviewPush team wants nothing but success for your business. Any changes we make in regards to stance on certain policies is done with you in mind. We will continue to monitor trends, best practices and policy updates on all third party review platforms across the web to provide expansive service to our highly valued customers; both current and those to come.
Are you looking for a way to keep up with the constantly changing structure of the online reputation management world? With over 19,000 businesses trusting us to put the power of their online reputation back into their hands; no reputation is too far gone. With our 30 day trial, we let you try us on for size as we cater to your every need each step of the way; making a personalized approach to manning your business’s online reputation. Don’t lose out on another potential review; give us a call today.