Let’s talk about Google reviews.

Do you read them? Do you trust them? Do they influence your buying decisions in any way, shape or form?

Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re wasting your time.

Let me explain.

Whenever I need to find a business or service provider, I usually ask my friends or colleagues for a referral. If they can’t help, I do a Google search and work my way down the list of businesses until I find one that appeals to me.

Once I’ve narrow down my choices, I scan the customer reviews to try and get a sense of what the business is about and what their customer service is like.

Well, that was until a few weeks ago. When something really frustrating happened and my faith in Google reviews went flying out the window.

So what was it I hear you ask?

I received a one-star rating on Google my business…from someone I don’t even know!

Someone I’ve never worked with and never heard of. There were no comments or contact details attached to the review.

Just a name: Moni Nong.

When I first saw it, I racked my brain trying to work out who it could be.

A personal foe? I don’t have any that I know of.

A competitor? I doubt it. I’ve never met a copywriter who is anything but delightful. Plus, there’s no reason for it. There’s plenty of work for everyone.

I decided I’ll probably never know who went to the trouble of trying to blacken my name…or why they did it. So I moved on.

Why Google help is no help at all

I searched the Internet for tips on how to deal with fake reviews. I was told to flag the review on Google my business and that Google ‘help’ would review my case.

After chasing it up a few times, I was told that the poster hadn’t broken any rules. And that people can post reviews without using their real names or providing any evidence that they even exist.

My correspondence with Google went back and forth a few times, mostly with me asking Google how on earth this was all okay. I couldn’t understand why such a ridiculous system even existed.

I believe that the last communication I had with Google ended with me telling them not to waste their time replying…but that their system sucks.

I mean, seriously. What’s the point of it? Anyone can post at any time and they don’t even have to support their claims.

How to deal with fake Google reviews

After getting nowhere with Google, I thought about shutting down my Google my business account, but this is bad for SEO and why the hell should I?

Instead, I took the advice of my clever colleagues and posted the following reply:

“Thanks for your review, it’s odd that you took time to review us when you’ve never been a customer and I’ve never heard of you.”

I can only hope that potential customers have the good sense to see straight through this fake review and overlook it.

Going forward, I intend to ask my clients to post reviews on my Google my business page, as this will dilute the negative review and increase my rating.

Until now, I have to admit I’ve been so busy building my business and fulfilling my customers’ needs that I haven’t been as proactive in this area as I should have been. But now I’ll make it a priority.

Since I started sharing my story, I’ve been astounded by the number of business owners who have similar tales to tell. People who work hard, only to have their good names tarnished for no apparent reason.

There’s definitely something wrong with the system!

On a final note…

I should add that Google reviews can be beneficial to building your brand so don’t let my experience deter you from listing your business.

Just be aware that despite all the policies Google has in place to protect its customers, chances are they won’t be of any help when you actually need it.

Have you had a similar experience? Feel free to share!