Googly from Google

At White Knight Marketing we always encourage our clients to push for Google reviews.

Google reviews actively help with their website’s authority and the credibility of the company. If for any reason you receive a review that is lower than your expectation you can write a thoughtfully worded response that will demonstrate to future customers that you do care. It’s a good tool and generally speaking quite a fair player with the right to reply  – and you can spot the professional moaners easily enough.

If we are managing Google my Business for a client as part of the SEO strategy we will often be the first to be notified of any reviews, good or bad. If they pop in looking slightly odd and say out of character comments, we can investigate further to see if it is genuine or not, take the appropriate action using Google’s appeal process or write said suitable response.

This week I had the most bizarre notification from Google. My client had received a one star review that I knew to be most unlikely.

I quickly open it to see a very strange comment next to it, simply announcing, “Never been there”.

A googly from Google?

My brain went into overdrive; why would anyone bother to create a one star review saying they hadn’t visited somewhere?

Then the penny dropped!

Clicking on the reviewer’s profile, I could quickly see that this person was travelling all over and had even been asked to review a business which presumably is usually resident roadside and which he helpfully told me was “just a lay by!”

There was no end to this chap’s helpfulness – he had managed to review 284 businesses in one week!

Removing Google Reviews

Anybody who has ever had a bogus review will know how hard it is to get these removed as Google will only do so if it breaches their policies – and frankly this one didn’t fit nicely into any of the options offered; there was definitely no box that said: ‘helpful individual responded too literally to invite to review business’!

So, getting my most diplomatic head on, I wrote a response to the reviewer on Google my Business and explained, as kindly as I could, that he had very effectively damaged the online reputation of over 200 businesses in the last week, during which time he had travelled far and wide! Of course I worded it nicely, explaining that I knew he hadn’t deliberately intended to do this, but would he be kind enough to remove it and help the company save its reputation AND the curiosity of thousands of people who would be wondering why he wanted to tell them, where he hadn’t been?

Luckily, within 5 minutes of posting the request and him receiving notification of the response, the chap, who was obviously glued to this app, and who I assume, was probably slightly embarrassed now, took the review down, although I did note that the others he had posted were still very much present (how long would it take to revoke 200 + reviews)?

I am certain that Google didn’t anticipate that their numerous invitations to review would have been met with quite so much enthusiasm and honesty – but maybe the mechanism for pointing everyone with an android phone, by default, to the business reviews section may not have been thought through as well as it might? Definitely smacks of a deceptive delivery in my books – AKA a googly by Google!

Sorry – couldn’t resist! 🙂