Google Updates Maps Review Spam Algorithms

Feb 1, 2013 • 8:49 am | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Maps

Pegman Google MapsGoogler, Dasha, announced in a Google Maps Help thread that they made a major update to their spam algorithms to block spammy reviews in Google Maps.

Dasha said that Google "made some recent improvements to our spam detection algorithms that have increased the number of reviews that appear on some local Google+ pages."

What changes specifically? She lists a ton of guidelines one can follow to be sure not to trip the spam filters. The guidelines are:

For reviewers:

  • Make sure you've taken a look at our review content guidelines.
  • Sometimes you may want to review multiple locations of the same business, such as your favorite fast food chain. Just remember to tailor each review to the specific location. Others will want to know what sets that location apart - be it the super friendly drive thru person, or maybe the unexpectedly awesome lake views.
  • Don't write reviews for your current employer. We don't allow reviews from current owners or employees.
  • Spam bots use URLs to redirect to other sites or potentially spread malware. We won't show reviews with links, so, don't put URLs in the text of your reviews

For business owners:

  • Be wary of an SEO or reputation management service that promises to generate reviews for your business. We've seen companies make up fake glowing testimonies -- and we'll take them down.
  • We don't take down negative reviews for simply being negative for anyone, regardless of any other relationships with Google. Instead, we encourage you to utilize the owner response functionality to respond to the review and address the user's concerns.
  • If a third party claims that they know how to remove reviews from Google, don't believe them. Google does not work with any third party reputation management companies and we certainly don't remove reviews unless they violate our guidelines.
  • Don't set up a computer or tablet device in your place of business for customers to leave reviews on site. Consider sending a reminder e-mail so customers can review on their own time.
  • Remember, we don't allow you to give customers free gifts or discounts for leaving reviews.

For SEOs:

  • If a business accepts paper comment cards it might be tempting to collect them and "digitize" them by posting the reviews on Google+ Local. We ask that all reviews come from first hand experience and do not allow posting reviews on behalf of others.

For everyone:

  • If you see a review that violates our policy guidelines, you can report the review to us by clicking on the gray flag icon next to the review in question. You'll be taken to a form where you can tell us why you're flagging that review. Please note that we won't follow up with you individually, but we do review every piece of content that is flagged.

This is quiet helpful compared to some of the web search spam algorithm hints and tips we are given. Don't you agree?

Forum discussion at Google Maps Help.

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02/01/2013 03:36 pm

Sounds interesting! It seems that Google is attempting to address the issues and complaints of missing and deleted reviews, making it quite simple for us to write excellent testimonials. So if Google sees a business is receiving reviews from the same QR code or referring site, will it get penalized or viewed in a different manner?

Joseph Tamargo

02/01/2013 09:06 pm

LOL - Google - Really - LOL

Igor Bubis

02/01/2013 09:45 pm

Wondering to see how local places will look soon


02/02/2013 11:49 am

Where places ?

Web Development Company

02/02/2013 12:17 pm

Wow, this post really got my mind crackin! I just got the way to attract huge traffic

Rank Watch

02/03/2013 02:03 pm

Getting genuine user reviews is great for the web and to the users, but I think its still difficult for Google to control some kinds of spam algorithmically. Not all spam content can be detected and removed with the help of algorithms, some needs to be manually reviewed which is tedious and humongous.

Dario Petkovic

02/04/2013 09:56 am

I know I may cop a lot of flack for saying that these guidelines make sense to me and I do local SEO services ..

Jeremy Meindl

02/07/2013 03:44 am

I see this turning out a lot like the yelp filter. They'll look at the nature of the poster's account such as age of account, other reviews, geo location relative to reviewed business, etc. I can't wait to see an 'Elite' status next to my name.

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