Many business owners know the value of customer reviews. After all, if you see a friend praising a particular store or product, you’re more inclined to consider a purchase. Reviews are more than that. More than 90 percent of people check reviews before making a purchase, and 84 percent of people trust those reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation. Reviews also affect your SEO.
Brushing: A Way to Get Fake Reviews
Brushing is a practice that has become increasingly popular following the rise of e-commerce giants. Brushing is a system that some internet vendors use to artificially increase sales figures, giving the impression that a product on the market is more popular.
Large companies hire brushers to buy items from their online store. Sometimes, brushers will even pretend to be real customers, asking questions via online chat or sales rep. A delivery company must confirm the item was shipped, so to get around sending expensive items, a company will send a small, cheap something instead, sometimes to random addresses all over the globe.
Once a package is delivered, the company can then report a completed transaction, helping inflate sales figures. They will then rate the product and leave a review.
Inflated sales figures help the vendor’s products rank higher in search engine results. Although this process benefits the companies using these black hat practices, brushing harms the rest of us: investors who are misled about sales, customers who believe online reviews, and other companies who operate with integrity.
What This Means for Your Raleigh Business
We’ve talked a lot about online reviews and how to respond, as well as their value, whether you’re a B2C retailer or B2B company. The fact that companies out there are hiring brushers means you need to work harder than ever to get authentic online reviews from customers who are signed in and leave their names.
Considering brushing? Don’t. Google and other search engines catch on quickly to this and many unethical SEO practices. Sites with too much of something inauthentic will be pushed down in rankings — or even removed. A few years ago, Google shut down sites that had built up thousands of paid links from non-credible sources.
Plus, as a local business owner, you want to stand up for integrity. If people can’t trust online reviews, how will they know to believe yours?
If you have questions about online marketing, contact us for help.