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How reviews on Google Maps work ?

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There is no denying that Google Maps is a default application for over a billion people around the globe, especially if it is to locate a business. All it takes is placing then the name of the business or relevant keywords and it will start showing suggestions. Overall, the process of finding and locating places […]

by  Brad S |  August 6, 2022 |  Read 7 min

There is no denying that Google Maps is a default application for over a billion people around the globe, especially if it is to locate a business. All it takes is placing then the name of the business or relevant keywords and it will start showing suggestions. Overall, the process of finding and locating places is buttery smooth.

But when it comes to making a purchase, the process is no longer simple. It is a crucial decision to trust a business, whether it is a plumbing fixture in your apartment or lunch with a friend. Google Maps reviews pave way for prospects and customers by giving the idea of what a business is about and how it is perceived by other users.

Still, Google Maps reviews and testimonials have been a subject of controversy among general users. They are often at the crossroads of whether to trust the anonymous content or just simply let it go.

To address this question, we will go through how Google;

In addition to this, we will also share some tips about how businesses can secure more Google Reviews which will be displayed on their Google Maps locations.      

Creation & Implementation of Content Policies

Google has vehemently said that the sole purpose of making and implementing policies and guidelines is to ensure that;

The company has often explained its stance on misinformation and other issues that can hamper a business’s growth through reviews. This includes an activist role in the moderation and regulation of reviews and comments made on the Google My Business profiles of the businesses.

For instance, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, places of businesses and government premises made it mandatory for people to get vaccinated before coming for business. Since many people were against the vaccination, they could harass or intimidate a business through vile reviews and comments.

In that instance, Google took an activist role and removed reviews and comments on Google Maps that were criticizing the businesses and abusive toward them.

The Mountain View-based tech giant does not leave any stone unturned in both the creation and implementation of its guidelines and policies. Since the world they deal with is dynamic, so are the policies.

Once a policy is formulated, the company turns it into training material. From that point, both machine-based operatives and human operatives are trained to make sure that no harmful content can seep through the cracks.

Moderation Through Machine Learning

With the volume and complexity of content that is posted in the Google Maps reviews section each day, it is hard to see a company relying solely on human intelligence and muscle to deal with it. That’s why and for other reasons, Google has developed and trained moderation systems, based on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

These systems work as the sentries at the gate of the Google ecosystem. This is extremely nuanced and equipped with sophisticated algorithms.

To get the most effective results, Google combines both human and machine intelligence to make sure abusive and offensive comments do not see the light of the day – at least from the portal of Google.        

Angles Pursued To Verify The Legitimacy Of Google Maps Reviews

Content is different whether it is a review or a testimonial. Even though the content type is limited, there are a lot of variables in terms of context, syntax, and so on. 

The use of Machine Learning is beneficial in way that it is exceptionally good at picking up patterns and shapes. In the case of a review or comment on Google Maps, algorithms can identify it based on its content, and the account it was posted from, and determine whether it was a part of a bigger scheme or not.

Here are these angles in a detailed view.

Content

Content is the most obvious indicator of whether a Google Maps review is legitimate or not. The crawlers or indexers read the content and determine whether it is using any offensive language or if it is off-topic.

The most common themes include content that is not justifying the case.     

Account

Google also checks the account history that posts the comment. If it was flagged or warned in the past due to suspicious activity, it is easy to suspect the current Google Maps review.

It does not matter if it is a false alarm or not, the company does not take chances. 

Orchestration/ Foul Play

In many cases, businesses complain about spam and orchestrated attacks on their review sections through people with malicious intent. 

Google takes care of it by picking up signals in the time-space variables. For instance, if a business has gotten any coverage through media or received many reviews in a short span, the moderation system activates and shuns reviews that fall in this category.    

 

Quality Checks To Keep Reviews & Testimonials Authentic

As a community-based section, Google makes sure that comments and testimonials remain authentic across the board. In the case of a small business, a single malicious review depicting the business in a bad light can cost too much.

Apart from internal checks and measures to keep fake or bogus content off the Google Maps reviews sections, the company also offers community-based solutions. 

Flagged Reviews

Since its inception, Google Reviews has the option where a user or a business can flag a review or a comment. This then notifies the company to look into the matter. The company checks it for the violation of guidelines and policies.

If it is found in violation of these protocols, Google removes that review immediately. In severe cases, the company can also suspend the Google account associated with the review and even take legal action.  

Abuse Attacks

Online abuse attacks have become a common practice. There were many cases in the past when certain groups misused portals like these to discredit businesses through poor review campaigns.

For that, Google has proactive practices to secure the businesses that can be at the disadvantage. So, during a national event, such as elections, the company reinforces stringent review guidelines for businesses that are close to the vicinity of a debate or a rally. This way, businesses can get to operate without the fear of politically-charged crowds in the virtual world.

How To Get More Google Maps Reviews

After going through the moderation and security measures behind the authenticity and smooth functioning of the Google Maps reviews system, it is apt to talk about how businesses can get more reviews.

Google Maps – Part of An Ecosystem 

Google Maps and its reviews are a part of the ecosystem – Google for business. It is an initiative by the tech giant where businesses can handle all of their online profiling and marketing endeavors in one place that is powered by a Gmail account.

Google My Business or GMB is a portal that allows businesses to get in the race for higher search engine rankings, more discovery, and ultimately better revenue generation.

So, the most natural first step in getting more Google Maps reviews, which are Google Reviews essentially, is to create and optimize the GMB profile. Businesses should add much information to provide a clear picture to their prospects and clients. 

There are options to add business categories and descriptions. They can also put necessary information, such as operating hours, a list of services, a menu if it is an eatery, and so on.

The idea here is to make the profile as unique and legitimate as possible so that both computer bots and human users can benefit from it. In turn, the latter will leave amiable reviews which will be displayed on locations and get more clients on board.         

Asking Customers To Leave Reviews

According to Google’s resources, the most important part of getting Google Maps reviews is by asking the customers. This may sound straightforward but it is not.

At least, it is true for a portion of clients that are loyal to the brand and are happy to leave a review. It is just that they did not think about doing it on their own.

Then some customers are not staunch supporters of the brand. On the contrary, they have some issues regarding service, pricing, and so on. Asking them could lead to bad reviews which is a concern for businesses. 

Businesses can go about asking for reviews in two ways.  

In-Person

This is the simplest and the most primitive way to ask for a review. Google suggests that after each positive interaction, companies should step up and ask clients for a Google review. The company also suggests that businesses should train their staff in art about how to politely ask customers to leave reviews.     

Through Marketing Channels

The other way to do so is by using the content or marketing materials to get customers to leave reviews online. 

Following are some of the channels that businesses can employ for this endeavor:

The company advises that businesses should adopt a courteous voice and tone to ask for reviews. It should never be implied to customers that they are being forced to do the act of leaving Google Reviews.     

Responding To Reviews

Google’s algorithms do not only regard the quantity of the reviews, but also the quality and interaction surrounding them. This is important to note for businesses as they often look for more and more reviews, without ever considering to give a response.

That’s why a scathing review with poor ratings is not a bad review if a business can take care of it by connecting with the reviewer and solving the underlying issue.

In most cases, this turns grieving or hostile customers into cordial ones.

Sharing Google Maps Reviews Link

It could be hard to imagine for businesses but some customers find it too hard to go through all the trouble of reaching the reviews page. There is no denying that there is some work involved in this process.

The best way to help out already satisfied customers is by sending them direct links to add reviews and rate business services. This is important as a business can capture a portion of people who are already loyal to the brand but did not want to go through the trouble.    

Closing Remarks

As a part of a Google ecosystem, Google Maps can never be considered out of the equation for businesses, whether it is for their ability to locate businesses or helping users to decide which business to trust by going through reviews.

Google Maps reviews turn prospects into paying customers, especially the ones who have clear intent to purchase in the near future. That’s why businesses need to understand the policies and working of Google Maps reviews and make sure that they are employing all the resources for their benefit.       

 

 

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