GQ&A – Episode 1 – Google Review Generation Policy Update

Google has just changed its stance on review generation. Watch the video above to find out what’s changing and what you can do about it.

Video Summary

  • Google has changed their policy on local business reviews
  • You are no longer allowed to push positive reviews to Google while holding back the negative ones
  • Google is cracking down on software that automates positive review generation and will actively be combatting these efforts
  • Instead, all reviews from customers need to be drip fed manually
  • With negative reviews, it’s imperative to reply professionally and address the concerns
  • Replying to negative reviews actually builds trust with consumers, since people tend to skim the 5-star  ones anyways
  • As always, we need to turn this into a competitive advantage


Kyle: Welcome to the first GQ&A! This is a weekly update from the Gustin Quon team, we’re going to talk about industry news, anything that’s notable, how we’re feeling at the time, whatever we feel like.

Let’s give this a go, and Chris has the first topic, so Chris, start us off with what we’re discussing.

Chris: Thanks Kyle. Today we’re going to be talking about review generation. A couple different points

that we’re gonna go over, which is when to ask for reviews, how will we use reviews online, negative reviews happen, what to do about them, and then also upcoming changes to reviews online, mainly from Google.

Kyle: So what’s new? What exactly changed?

Chris: Well, as of late you could no longer sort of direct your reviews and what I mean by that is before if someone didn’t have a very good experience and you emailed them about it, your follow-up email didn’t have to offer Google as a review site, whereas if you had a very happy person, you want them to post online and you can encourage them to do that. Now, you got to treat everyone the same: happy experience, bad experience, you have to give them an equal opportunity to post on Google, Yelp or Facebook, whatever review sites are important to you your business in your industry.

Kyle: So you can no longer funnel the bad ones away and just prompt the good ones to post so that’s a pretty big change. It’s going to affect a lot of companies, I’m not gonna name the companies, but there’s a lot of companies that only do review generation and offer software for things like that so that’s that’s gonna be a big shake-up.

So what can people do now?

Chris: My advice would be if you know someone had a bad experience, jump on that right away, reach out to them, whether it’s text, email, preferably a phone call, or at your

Office and find a way to fix it right then in there. Often you can turn a negative experience into a positive one and that can go a long way, and then if someone did have a good experience, sent them an email link, or text link to your google review page immediately and get them to post it online. That’s called striking when the iron is hot.

Kyle: So strike while the iron is hot. it’s no surprise that a lot of this automation is going away because Google is trying to clean up their algorithm, clean up the search results, they don’t want anyone’s website or Google My Business giving an inaccurate representation of how their business performs, so this makes sense, it’s just kind of a headache for people that are trying to cut corners or just use the tactics at hand. So I think going forward it’s just gonna be more involved for businesses, they’re gonna have to actually get their hands dirty and contact people directly but that’s to be expected.

Chris: A lot of our clients know bad reviews happen, it doesn’t matter how great you are, no one’s perfect. What a lot of people ask me about is what to do when you get a bad review? So if you can’t avoid them I recommend you take them head on Kyle, and what I mean by that is reply to that review right away. I can include in the description here how to do that. You go into the backend of Google My Business and respond to the bad reviews and this is a great opportunity for our clients of different businesses because I know personally and I think a lot are the same. I want to know what people had a bad experience with, when I’m looking to buy something or hire someone for a service I take a look at the negative reviews probably first, and I read through them and I keep note of how they replied to that review. So I always tell them make sure that you know you identify what went wrong ask them to give you a call so you can fix it. Maybe even explain in your reply how it would never happen to a potential client again.

Kyle: Right it’s a great marketing opportunity to show that you really care about your clients or customers or patrons and it’s a great marketing opportunity for clients to see that you care about everyone, not just that the good clients.

Yeah and I mean when you’re looking for something on Google and you see nothing but five-star reviews, you know something’s up anyways. My opinion is that this is a positive thing on Google’s end, and for the industry.