Google AI Cracking Down on Fake Business Reviews

Paul Dughi
Stronger Content
Published in
2 min readFeb 14, 2024

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To tackle the rise of false internet reviews that hurt local companies and mislead customers, Google has turned to artificial intelligence (AI). More than 170 million bogus reviews were removed by the corporation in 2023 — a 45% rise from the year before.

Local business owners who have suffered from false reviews hurting their reputations on Google Maps and Search can now feel some relief thanks to this crackdown. Google’s algorithms are now able to more easily identify questionable review behavior by analyzing patterns over time. Examples of this include identifying abrupt surges in 1-star and 5-star ratings or identical reviews copied across business pages.

Here’s an amazing stat and an idea of the scope of the challenge: about 20 million modifications to local business data, including specifics like shop hours and customer ratings, were sent to Google every day in 2023.

If you’re adding fake reviews thinking they’re going to help or fool the detector, you’re taking a big risk with your business. Fake reviews can hurt your ranking when it comes to Google’s map pack or local listing. Here are some tips to avoid fake reviews from causing problems.

Tips for Avoiding Fake Reviews

  1. Monitor your reviews closely. Check them regularly and look out for any suspicious patterns or obviously fake-sounding reviews. Things like multiple 5-star reviews in a very short period of time, reviews with generic praise but no specifics mentioned, etc. can be red flags.
  2. Respond professionally to all reviews — positive and negative. Don’t get defensive or argumentative if you get a bad review, even if you think it’s unfair. Remaining professional makes you look more legitimate.
  3. Make sure to clearly claim your Google Business profile and check that all the information on it is correct. This makes it harder for scammers to create fake profiles for your business.
  4. If you find fake reviews, use Google’s reporting tools to flag them for removal. You can’t delete reviews yourself, but Google may remove reviews that violate policies.
  5. Encourage genuine reviews by politely asking happy customers to leave feedback. Satisfied customers are more likely to leave authentic positive reviews.
  6. Check if former employees may be leaving fake negative reviews. While uncommon, it sadly does happen.

The key is being vigilant in monitoring, responding professionally, and leveraging Google’s policies and tools.

H/T SearchEngineJournal

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