Yelp has always been the King when it comes to filtering reviews. Yelp uses an algorithm that is supposed to figure out if the review is legitimate or if it is a phony review, like the owner of a store creating a fake Yelp account to write reviews for his own business. Yelp has never really disclosed all of the details of their algorithm, but for the most part it seems to be working pretty well.
Google+ Local implemented a system of their own to filter reviews on their Google+ Local pages to make sure that the legitimate reviews stay and the phony reviews get filtered. In theory, it is all well and good, however, many small businesses have had many complaints of the last few months because reviews that we left for their business that were 100% legitimate, have now been removed from their page.
Google+ Local says that they are reviewing what is going on, and a Google Maps top contributor, Michael Blumenthal, says:
“Google has likely implemented a new (or minimally upgraded) to their review filter. It seems to trap many more good reviews than in the past. Usually these types of filters are “trainable”. Google is interested in improving the filter by training it with examples of good reviews that have been caught so that it is less likely to do so in the future.
Also they have still not fixed the problems that they have with “losing” reviews. That always adds a bit of excitement to this mix.”
The biggest issue that small business owners have with the disappearing reviews is that many of the small, local business pride themselves on Word of Mouth within the community, and if only the good reviews are being filtered, leaving the bad ones, this could cause some serious harm to their small business. Furthermore, the more positive reviews a company gets on a local listing site, the higher that local listing site will rank that company.
Some of the main things you want to avoid when writing reviews is to write the review from your computer or phone when you are close to the business. If you ate at a fabulous restaurant in Boston, then flew back home to San Francisco and then wrote your review, it will likely be filtered. Another way to make your review sticks is you go to Google, search the company to want to review for and then write the review on their Google+ page, it has a better chance of sticking. If Google sees that you got a link in an email and just clicked the link directly to the Google+ page, chances are, they will remove it.
Google claims to be working on fixing the problem of legitimate reviews being removed but it will be a work in progress. If you are a company that is soliciting reviews from your customers that are happy with your service, you want to make sure they follow these 4 simple steps:
1. Naturally search for and find the business’s G + profile
2. Type the review on a mobile device, or at home
3. Make sure the review doesn’t have the business URL or include too many key words
4. If the customer chooses to write the review at home, try to make the customer have a home relatively near your business
This can be a good way to build your local reputation in a legitimate fashion until Google fixes there algorithm to stop removing legitimate reviews.
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