How Too Many Negative Reviews Harm Your SEO
Is your business suffering from too many negative reviews? It might be the very thing that’s harming your SEO efforts. Consumers review businesses online daily.
There’s never a shortage of feedback on sites like Google My Business, Angie’s List, and Yelp. From customer service complaints to public backlash for quality-related product or service issues, negative reviews are tough to avoid.
Why an Influx of Negative Reviews Isn’t a Good Sign
Many consumers rely on reviews to make buying decisions. Google also utilizes them to determine a site’s ranking authority. In fact, Google rewards businesses with positive online reputations by placing them at the top of their search engine results. When businesses suffer from a massive decline in rankings, too many negative reviews are sometimes the culprit. Moz previously reported that businesses risk losing close to 22% of incoming business if the first review on their profile is a negative one.
The Wrong Way to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
All third-party review sites share one common goal: to be a safe space for valid, truthful customer reviews. Some businesses try to take shortcuts by cheating their way to a positive online reputation. If you’re planning to take this approach, prepare to get blacklisted.
You can get penalized for publishing fake reviews and soliciting positive ones. You must use precaution when you ask your customers to review you on sites like Yelp. While Yelp can’t force you to refrain from doing so, solicited reviews go against their guidelines. They’ll go to great lengths to track and remove them.
Handling Negative Reviews Like a Champ
Negative reviews come with the territory of being a business owner. You just have to make sure that you have a plan-of-action to diffuse them.
When you take a question-based approach to a review response, it shows that you resolve customer issues while they’re at a head. Do everything you can to mend fences with your unhappy customers. If you’re able to get on their good side after they post a bad review, they might be willing to remove or update it after the fact. It never hurts to ask!
When You MIGHT Be Able to Get Rid of a Bad Google Review
Angie’s List and Yelp reviews used to have a major impact on Google’s algorithms. When Google launched their own review platform, Google My Business, it gave Google the upper hand on where users look for reviews.
Are you hoping to get a review removed from Google My Business? You better have a good reason for it. There are only a limited number of ways a review could violate Google’s guidelines.
Google will sometimes remove a review, if:
- The review is contradictory.
- Competitors have received the same exact negative review as you.
- A reviewer uses multiple profiles to post a series of negative reviews about your business.
- You recently received a negative review during the same time a competitor received a stellar review. If the user who posted the review has a bolded profile, it might be from one of your competitors.
- A reviewer accidentally posted a negative review on your site that was meant for another business.
- Your business has several locations, and a customer that only visited one of your locations posted a negative review regarding them all.
- A current or previous employee leaves a negative review.
- You get an influx of negative reviews after receiving bad press.
If you can prove that a reviewer published false information about your business, you might be able to report and request the removal of it. Don’t expect to hear back from the review site right away, however, as there are sometimes delays with them getting back to you.
I understand your frustration with negative reviews and their harmful impact on SEO. I can’t promise you that they’ll go away if you dispute them. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It’s your responsibility to make sure that they’re handled in an effective manner.
Are you having a difficult time developing a response strategy for those negative reviews? I’m always available to assess your needs and help you come up with a plan. Connect with me anytime.