Every internet marketer is aware that Google’s latest Panda and Penguin updates gives more value to social reviews as an indicator for authority in their search results. But the main question is how real or natural are this reviews? A recent study shows that 1 in 10 social reviews are fakes, including Google+ listing reviews which seem to carry more weight when coming to ranking sites.
So is there a way Google can purge the fake reviews? The answer is definitely NO, because as long as the reviews are not on the same IP there is no way Google can figure out which reviews are real and which ones are fake. The scary part is that since the inceptions of Panda and Penguin updates most of the top 10 search results are local listing results filtered according to the number and types of social reviews the sites got and majority of those websites might be there because of fake reviews. So it seems like the more things change the more they stay the same in the SEO industry, Google try to be ahead by introducing better ways of giving end users the best search results but internet marketers always find ways to manipulate the search results.
It seems as if Google does not believe in the saying that “Don’t believe everything you read” ,because the way they have been giving value to ridiculous sites with useless content because of 3 or more G+ reviews that might be fake is a cause for concern for SEO companies that follow white hat techniques for their online marketing strategies.
Maybe these kinds of bad practices are what make digital marketing such an interesting industry and we should not be quick to judge. At the end of the day the bottom line is keeping the promises you made to your clients, but Google always catches up with the industry bad boys and they are always punished accordingly.