Google prohibits incentivizing customers to remove or modify negative reviews

Google has updated its Google Maps reviews guidelines deceptive and fake engagement guidelines to now disallow making requests for revisions or removals of a negative review through offered discounts, free goods or services, or other incentives.

So if someone leaves you a negative review, you are not allowed to incentivize that individual to update their review.

The new guidelines. The new guideline can be found over here and it says “Content that has been incentivized by a business in exchange for discounts, free goods and/or services.” The additional line is “This includes merchant requests for revision or removal of a negative review through offered discounts, free goods or services, or other incentives.”

Why we care. Many businesses would offer some form of incentive to have negative or neutral reviews updated by those individuals. That is now prohibited in the updated Google Maps user-contributed content policy. This is in addition to paying, incentivizing or encouraging the posting of content that does not represent a genuine experience, or incentivizing for positive reviews in exchange for discounts, free goods and/or services.

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About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.

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