Today’s world is a digital universe: a global network, courtesy of the World Wide Web. With every second person’s fingers glued to keyboards and to their smartphones, search engines have become the principal source of information. There’s no longer any interest in reading through magazines to decide what to buy—consumers make shopping decisions largely based on what they read online. So, in this post, we will talk that you can tackle fake online reviews with confidence using SEO.
And what they read online is derived largely from reviews and ratings left by other customers.
Reviews and ratings aren’t just fancy words that make a statement for your product. They have a significant impact on your online presence and on generating sales revenues. Positive reviews online are a great way of ensuring that your reputation and brand are built strongly. They also help you get referrals.
There’s no doubt that online reviews are a great asset for marketing, and especially for small businesses that are only beginning to rise in the industry. Forbes reports that 90% of consumers regard online reviews before making a shopping decision. 67.7% of people have their shopping decisions impacted by online reviews. 74% of consumers have more faith in a business once they’ve read positive reviews online. The chances that your product will be sold with the aid of online reviews is 270% more than the chances of it being sold without reviews.
There is, however, a catch.
As more and more marketers realize the impact reviews can have on their businesses, a new trend rises fake online reviews.
Fake Online Reviews: A Breakdown
Fake reviews are an easy enough thing to understand: a person reviews your product or service. A person who hasn’t really used your product or service. This person won’t just know nothing about your business: they’ll also likely spread false, ignorant information about your business. Ask yourself: is it possible to talk about something you don’t really know?
There’s also another kind of fake review—the kind that is aimed specifically at tarnishing your online reputation. The thing is, just like businesses know that positive reviews help boost a brand’s publicity and bolster a business’s sales, your competitors know that negative reviews will do the exact opposite: demolish your brand’s reputation and destroy your sales. 86% of people wouldn’t want anything to do with a brand that has negative reviews attached to its name.
Why it Happens
Even though you might understand how fake reviews for shady companies work, you might not understand how or why negative fake reviews are piling up about your business. However, once you think hard enough, you’ll see a clear pattern. In most cases, it’s either a rival business or a former disgruntled employee who is spearheading the propaganda.
And here’s how you spot them:
Find a Pattern
Let’s say you own a café that is constantly getting negative reviews for lunch hours. Investigate if the food is bad—or if the staff is incompetent. You’ll know soon enough what the root of the problem is.
Find Out Who’s Benefiting
If you’ve been doing your business exceptionally well, but you’re still getting negative reviews, try and figure out who’s benefiting from the fray. Has a competitor recently been gaining fame or has a customer recently had an altercation with you?
Find Out Who was Fired
If you recently fired someone for misconduct or had a downsizing in your department, it might be that disgruntled employee/s have found a way to hurt you.
Fake reviews are pretty much everywhere. But this doesn’t mean they’re difficult to spot. And they’re certainly not difficult to manage.
How to Fight the Menace of Fake Online Reviews
First things first: don’t panic. Your business is here to stay, and all you need to revive it is one powerful thing: SEO.
Strong SEO can have a larger impact than you think, because it’s so much more than simply pinching in keywords into blogs and publishing them on WordPress. Clever SEO strategies will not only take you out of this negative review pit, but it’ll take you right to the heights of success.
Reputation management is the way to go. And here’s how you go about it:
Drown the Negative Content
If negative reviews and content regarding your brand are gaining traction and are ascending the SERPs, showing up in the searches first-most—drown them. The best way to do this is by permeating the market with positive reviews, quality content, and impactful PRs.
Create Quality Content
Drowning the negative content with quality content is key. Create content that’s unique, informative, and timeless. Optimize it cleverly: don’t just stuff keywords in. Use them where relevant, and always add a powerful CTA.
For the PRs, avoid sounding apologetic, defensive, or bothered. You’re not guilty, and you shouldn’t be acting the part. Focus on getting the best about you out there, and keep your focus fixed.
Connect with the Reviewers
If there are bad reviews online which you feel can be tackled, tackle them. Respond to queries and introduce a chatbot or live chat option on your website. Engage with consumers and potential customers to make them feel valued and to show them that you’re serious about your fare.
Satisfy the Customers
Above all, focus on satisfying your current customers. You might have lost some of them due to the negative review campaign online, but the ones that you do retain—give them you’re all. Positive reviews will flood the market on their own—slowly but gradually. Consumers have the benefit of using social media platforms and will go the extra mile to defend you if you defend them.