If you noticed a change in your Google reviews, you aren’t alone. Google recently confirmed that it no longer allows anonymous (aka “A Google User”) reviews. Furthermore, as initially reported to Mike Blumenthal, the company removed all previously posted reviews that did not include a name.
“We do not allow anonymous reviews today and we’ve removed legacy anonymous reviews.”
While this swift change by Google may have caught some businesses off guard, it should prove positive in the long run. This update helps legitimize reviews in the minds of your customers. After all, a review from “Stacy Johnson” will hold a lot more weight than a review from “A Google User.”
79% of consumers believed they read a fake review in 2017, so trust is a big factor to consider as online reputation management evolves.
Anonymous reviews may not constitute a large number of your reviews as a whole, but they do impact your total review count and average star-rating that is seen by your customers.
There are many business owners who have worked hard, for many years, to receive Google reviews. Those who did earn positive anonymous reviews over the past ten years could unfortunately see their average star-rating go down, along with their total review count.
Inversely, if your business received a lot of negative reviews from anonymous reviewers, even though your total review count will go down, your average star-rating could go up since these reviews have been removed.
This further highlights the need to have an all-in-one solution to manage your online reputation needs; a tool that allows you to monitor your reviews from top sites in one place and easily reply. That way, when Google, Yelp, Facebook or TripAdvisor makes a change that influences your reviews or ratings, you can see and understand the impact on your business right away and take steps to address it.
In the case of Google, if you lost a significant number of positive reviews, it’s important that you ask your customers to review you on Google and reply to all reviews, new and old. As you earn more legitimate reviews and reply to those real customers – those real interactions will attract even more customers to your business, with the added confidence in the validity of those reviews.