Google Guidelines Update: Incentivizing Removal of Negative Reviews Now Prohibited

27 Oct, 2022 Google News

Staying on top of Google’s guidelines is essential to ensuring your business is positioned for online growth. A recent update to the Google Maps Contributor Guidelines prohibits businesses from incentivizing the removal of negative reviews, forcing business owners to adapt their online marketing strategies.

New Guideline Adds to Prohibited and Restricted Content

Previously, Google Maps Contributor Guidelines only prohibited a business from incentivizing users to add positive reviews. Now, the guidelines also prohibit “discouraging or prohibiting negative reviews, or selectively soliciting positive reviews from customers.”

Historically, many businesses have offered incentives such as discounted services for users to remove negative or neutral reviews from their business profile, improving the business’s rating on Google. However, the Google guidelines go on to explain that the new restriction “includes merchant requests for revision or removal of a negative review through offered discounts, free goods or services, or other incentives.”

This new update falls under Google’s guidelines against “Deceptive Content,” and encouraging the removal of negative reviews is now considered a form of fake engagement. The guideline forms part of Google’s pursuit of reducing content that does not accurately reflect a business or product, but that is used to manipulate ratings or reputation. Consequently, the guidelines state that any fake engagement flagged by Google will be removed.

All content that is prohibited or restricted under Google Maps Contributor Guidelines can be found here.

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