Is Your Reputation on the Line?


Big Changes in Google’s Algorithm May Have Changed Your Reviews!

In the wake of recent Google algorithmic updates, businesses across the country find themselves in a state of dismay. Overnight, hundreds of thousands of consumer reviews vanished from Google business listings with little to no explanation of the how or why. In industries like automotive and restaurant, where reputation can be the core of the business, this has been devastating. Representatives from these organizations have kicked, screamed, complained, and sought answers, while Google remains effectively mute on the subject. Companies may get some, all, or none of their reviews back; there’s no way to know. What is known is that consumers continue to use Google as a resource when shopping, and the loss of reviews is sure to have an immediate, adverse impact on companies that rely on their online reputation to drive business.

If you’re one of the businesses affected, you’re of course going to want to take action. Here’s an article with advice for the automotive industry, which might be applied to any industry or business feeling the sting of a damaged online reputation. But more important than fighting Google is moving forward to rebuild what you’ve lost. Or, if you’ve not given your online reputation the attention it deserves, now is the time to start. Reach out to your customers and ask for their help. The worst they can say is no, and there are sure to be more than a few who say yes.

Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

  1. If you’re going to ask a customer to write a review, do not specify that it be positive. Simply ask that the customer give an honest account of what it’s been like for them to do business with you.
  2. Do not help the customer write the review.
  3. Do not offer any sort of compensation in exchange for a review.
  4. Do not ask the customer to copy and paste the review on several sites; stick to one site per original review.
  5. Ask that the customer write the review from their home, not from a computer at your business. Some people will say it’s okay to use an iPad on 3G or 4G, but I’d advise against it.
  6. If you’re asking for Google reviews, the customer must have an active Google account for it to appear/remain in your listing. Do not ask them to create an account for the sole purpose of writing your review. Send your customers without Google accounts to one of the many other review sites out there.

Building (or rebuilding) an online reputation is a slow process that takes commitment and dedication from everyone within an organization. Make sure that everyone interacting with customers is aware of the objective, understands why it’s important, is wholly informed on best practices, and is comfortable speaking to your customers on the topic. You’ll likely find that people are happy to write a few kind words in return for nothing more than an excellent experience doing business with you.

Meet Candace

Candace is the digital marketing manager at Fisher Honda Kia in Boulder, CO. She always thought she was a nerd, until she discovered a venn diagram that revealed that she’s actually a geek.
  • Allyn

    Nice article Candace. I think most who were affected with “lost reviews” were those who got reviews “in waves” that may have tripped something in the G filters. The good news is that our clients, who get reviews as they come naturally, should be all good!

    • Joe Chura

      I wish that were the case. Many were lost. The legitimate reviews are gone. There’s only one thing to do- the right thing, which is to treat customers well and they will come back. In due time it will work out though it’s extremely frustrating for those who play by the rules.

    • Candace

      Like Joe said, that’s not the case. Where I work, we accumulated reviews naturally, not in waves, and initially lost over 300 legitimate reviews. We did eventually get some back, but not all. Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  • Ben D.

    Great job Candace; the updates are a great opportunity indeed!

    A question: I can follow the logic of encouraging customers to write reviews from their home computers, but what is the nature of the debate surrounding reviews from mobile devices? Is it simply that they are less-than-ideal?

    • Candace


      If customers are using your wireless Internet connection while at your place of business, your IP address will be connected to their review. If you have several customers writing from your business, they all show up on the same IP address, which indicates to a search engine that you’re writing fake reviews. Some people recommend getting around this by using mobile devices on 3G or 4G, but there’s always the chance the customer will use the wrong type of connection. I’m sure companies will continue to use iPads on a 3G or 4G network, but in my personal opinion, it’s an unnecessary risk when you can simply email your customer a link to your review page and let them do it at home.

  • Nathaniel Boggs

    oo often, managers do all the talking in a feedback situation, something I like to call the dreaded Manager’s Monologue – and that is guaranteed to cause trouble. It is vital to engage the employee in open dialogue; to seek to understand their thought processes and reasons. If you don’t listen to them, you may not get a clear understanding as to why the employee is behaving in this manner (do they lack skills, knowledge, etc). You will also increase the likelihood that they will not listen to you.”

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