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Review Gating on Google: Is It Hurting Your Business Reputation?

In this article, we are going to discuss the practice of review gating and its impact on your business’s reputation on Google. We will also explore the reasons why Google views review gating as a bad practice and how you can move forward in a world without review gating.

What is Review Gating?

Review gating is a process in which businesses screen or “gate” user reviews before they are posted online. In this process, a customer is asked to review a business, usually by email or text, and the page they’re driven to is a review funnel page that allows the business to set rating criteria to identify positive “brand advocates” even before they’re prompted to review the business online. Any negative feedback can be filtered and directed to someone at the business for direct follow-up.

Why Does Google View Review Gating as Bad?

Review gating sounds like a sound strategy for growing your online reputation, but Google views it differently. As a search engine, Google strives to keep reviews as unbiased as possible. Screening negative reviews, even with the intent to make it right before the negative experience turns into a review, adds a level of perceived bias. Google considers review gating as businesses influencing or eliminating user feedback that could potentially be valuable for future users. Google profits when users continue to use them as their “go-to” resource for search and in order to remain that resource, they need to always be delivering the most timely, relevant, and accurate search results.

How Review Gating Can Impact Your Business on Google

If Google discovers that your business is review gating, they could wipe out your reviews — even ones generated organically, without being filtered — leaving you with very few reviews or none at all. A lack of reviews can negatively impact your business’s visibility on Google, which could result in decreased traffic and revenue.

Moving Forward Without Review Gating

If you’re currently soliciting reviews and are utilizing a review funnel page to filter reviews, it’s best to stop this process today. You can still ask your customers to leave you a review, but you’ll now have to direct them right to the source (Google) to avoid penalty and change up how you solicit reviews.

Alternative Approaches to Review Gating

Asking your customers directly if they had a bad experience and allowing them to contact you directly instead of making that decision for them is an alternative approach to review gating. In this example, you’re still asking for a review but are not being selective with their responses. This approach not only promotes honest feedback from your customers, but it also shows that your business is willing to take constructive criticism and work to improve.

Consistently Generating Reviews

Before Google’s policy clarification, review gating didn’t prohibit users from leaving negative reviews. A user could always navigate to your listing organically and leave negative feedback. If you’ve built up a decent amount of reviews, then a couple negative reviews over time will not have a huge impact on your aggregate rating. Even negative reviews make a business seem more legitimate. Therefore, it’s essential to continue to consistently generate reviews to promote your business on Google.

Google’s policy on review gating impacts your business’s online reputation. As a business owner, you should always strive to maintain an unbiased online reputation by allowing your customers to give honest feedbac

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Rocket Review - Get More Positive Reviews for Your Business Automatically

Rocket Review is a tool that helps businesses increase their online reputation and generate more positive reviews without having to ask for them. With its automated texting and email system, monitoring dashboard, and win-back feature for negative reviews, Rocket Review makes it easy to take control of your business's online presence and increase leads and sales.

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