Why You Should Take Online Reviews with a Grain of Salt
Most business owners know by now how important online reviews are to their companies’ success. Yes, they help establish trust with your customers. Yes, they get you higher rankings in SERPs. Yes, they help people make purchasing decisions. All that being said, don’t take them too seriously, especially when you get a negative one now and then. It’s OK to get bad reviews, as long as you address them promptly and properly. And don’t panic – after all, how do you know those bad reviews are legit anyway?
Here’s why you should take online reviews with a grain of salt and how you can weed through the fakes to get to the real gems. How can you tell which reviews might be fake?
- Visit the reviewer’s profile of the reviewer. If they only leave negative or only positive reviews, and they only review one brand or company, they may not be real.
- Consider the dates the reviews were left. If they all happened around the same time and the user suddenly became inactive afterwards, they could involve paid reviews.
- Copy and paste the review into your search bar. Do you see the same review appearing on multiple sites? Probably not real.
- If the reviewer has three or more numbers after their user name, this could be an automated system.
- Consider the language of the review. If they use the actual brand name of a product upon every mention, not the more common name (“Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Coffee Maker” when other people would normally just say “coffee maker”) this could be a ploy to trick the search engines with keywords.
- When a user leaves one-sentence reviews for multiple places yet interchanges the details, it could be fake. Example “I love the casual atmosphere at ______ and their ______ is phenomenal.”
- If numerous users all leave reviews around the same time, with not much activity since, they could all be the same person offering reviews under different names.
- If the review was written before the product was even released, this could be a case where a company pays people to review an as-yet-unreleased product to generate buzz.
- If the reviewer includes a link for the customer to purchase the item, they could be affiliates who are paid a commission to direct you there.
Always use caution when reading reviews online as a consumer and when monitoring reviews for your business. Report anything fishy and take them for what they are: there will always be a rogue review in the bunch. Don’t freak out, address the situation calmly, and move on. Unless bad reviews become a pattern, you don’t have too much to worry about.
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Boost Reviews can help you keep those reviews in check, and even help you snag some five-stars to boost your overall rating. Contact us today to learn how.