Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly popular among copywriters and marketers. AI content generators like Jasper, ChatGPT and Bing AI are being used to streamline workflows and generate ideas at scale. These tools are designed to craft all types of AI-generated content, from blog articles to product descriptions, web copy, programming code and even customer reviews.
In response to AI-generated reviews, Google is refining its policies to eliminate misleading feedback and prioritize authentic and valuable content. Effective August 28, 2023, Google product reviews generated using an automated program or artificial intelligence application are flagged as spam and against Google Merchant Center policies.
While there’s no denying the immense potential of AI automated content creation, fake Google reviews can be highly damaging to businesses. With Google’s new Product Ratings policy, companies should be more vigilant about the quality of the reviews posted on their Google Business Profile.
In this guide, we discuss the following topics:
- What’s Included in Google’s New Product Ratings Policy?
- Will AI-Generated Reviews Be Penalized?
- How To Spot Fake Reviews on Google
- How To Generate Reviews That Are Authentic and Valuable
- How Rize Reviews Optimizes Your Review Generation Strategy
Moreover, you’ll learn how Google product reviews can help foster trust among potential buyers and influence purchase decisions.
What’s Included in Google’s New Product Ratings Policy
Google’s Product Rating policies aim to maintain the integrity and authenticity of Google product reviews. They align with Google’s mission to stop fake Google reviews and listings that intend to deceive and exploit consumers.
In the latest Google product reviews update, a new policy concerning automated content was introduced.
This new rule explicitly prohibits AI generated reviews and classifies them as spam. If you detect AI-generated reviews on your Google Business Profile, you must identify them as spam in your feed using the
Modern consumers rely on other people’s reviews to make purchasing decisions. Fake reviews on Google can tarnish a brand’s reputation and waste people’s time and money. A recent survey discovered that consumers claimed to have wasted approximately $125 due to “inaccurate” reviews.
By banning automated reviews, Google aims to maintain the authenticity and credibility of the review ecosystem. This move not only safeguards consumers but also helps protect the integrity of businesses.
The recent Google product reviews update also clarifies how the tech giant enforces its policies:
- Google uses human reviewers and automated detection systems to identify whether reviews and content adhere to its policies. Its enforcement technologies leverage machine-learning algorithms to keep shopping platforms safe for merchants and shoppers.
- Google takes decisive action on content and reviews that are found to violate its policies. It may disapprove or take down AI generated reviews and non-compliant content, issue warnings or, in more serious cases, suspend accounts for repeated or severe violations.
- When an image is flagged for a policy violation, Google will block the associated review content.
Dangerous Products or Acts: Google prohibits reviews for items that can inflict harm or injury, including firearms, regulated drugs or tobacco products. Users must also refrain from posting content that depicts or offers guidance on hazardous and/or widely illegal activities.
Conflict of Interest: Google takes down inauthentic reviews, including those that were paid for, exhibit conflicts of interest and/or have been submitted by employees or individuals with a vested interest in the product.
Duplicate Content: Every review must be unique, only appearing in a single feed and only once within that feed. If a review applies to multiple product variations, it should be designated by including distinct product identifiers and URLs.
The update also included other policy clarifications, including the banning of reviews that:
- Contain the following content:
- Offensive, profane or obscene language
- Scenes of violence, serious injury or death
- Sexually explicit material
- Phone numbers, email addresses or links to other websites
- Personal information
- Links to malware, viruses, or other harmful software.
- Infringe on others’ rights, including copyright.
- Use a trademark that could lead to confusion about the origin of the reviewed product.
- Plagiarize the work of another person or entity.
- Cross-promote other products or websites. This type of review should be marked as spam in your feed using the
- Discuss unrelated topics, such as comments about shipping and delivery, personal attacks and experiences with certain retailers.
Will AI-Generated Reviews Be Penalized?
Historically, Google has allowed the use of AI-generated content as long as it provides value to human users and is not written primarily to manipulate search engine results.
However, Google’s latest Product Ratings policy update clearly stated its commitment to restricting automated reviews and labeling them spam. After all, AI-generated reviews defeat the entire purpose of providing customer feedback which is to share honest, firsthand experiences of products or services.
The truth is AI automated content creation can become dangerous when misused. For instance, malicious parties can leverage ChatGPT’s rapid AI content generation abilities to game search results, sway buying decisions and damage competitors’ reputations.
Hopefully, Google’s new policies can help curb AI-generated reviews. As marketers and business owners, it’s important to stay cautious of automated content by consistently monitoring and engaging with reviews. This proactive approach ensures compliance with Google’s policies and promotes a positive brand reputation.
How To Spot Fake Reviews on Google
Here’s a checklist to help you detect fake or forged reviews on Google:
1. Check the Writing Style and Generic Language
An inconsistent writing style, as well as grammar and spelling errors, may be indicative of fake Google reviews. Automated reviews may also contain vague or generic phrases like “Great value for money,” “amazing service” or “great product.”
2. Look for Inaccurate Details
If a review mentions a product or service you don’t actually offer or claims that the reviewer visited your store outside of business hours, there’s a strong chance that it’s AI generated content.
3. Check the Reviewer’s Profile and History
Be wary of reviews posted by accounts with generic or suspicious names, such as “Anonymous,” “John Smith” or “Lois Lane.” These profiles often lack a profile photo and basic information.
If a reviewer shares multiple reviews quickly or has left a substantial number of reviews for various businesses or services, this could indicate AI generated content.
How To Generate Reviews That Are Authentic and Valuable
The good news is that there a number of ways for businesses to acquire organic reviews from customers:
1. Send Timed Follow-Up Emails
Once customers have used your product or service, send follow-up review requests while the experience is still fresh in the customers’ minds. This ensures their feedback is based on genuine and recent experiences.
2. Send Personalized Requests
Reaching out to customers with tailored messages shows that you genuinely value their thoughts and ideas. This approach is likely to motivate them to leave reviews.
3. Simplify Review Sharing
Streamline review sharing by creating a Google review shortcut link you can share through SMS, email and social media platforms. Posting customer testimonials on your website and social media channels can also build trust and encourage more users to post feedback.
Streamline Your Review Generation Strategy With Rize
Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. However, the rise of AI-generated content makes it more challenging to detect and generate reviews that are unique and genuine.
A robust review management strategy sets you apart from competitors and helps build a positive online reputation. At Rize Reviews, we specialize in online review monitoring and generation across different platforms.
A well-known multi-location Mexican food restaurant sought our assistance managing new reviews while maximizing customer lifetime value. Rize stepped in to deliver a cutting-edge solution that streamlined the review request process daily via automated emails. We also provided custom reporting for each franchise and at the corporate level, allowing more informed decision-making.
Since then, our efforts have helped the client generate more than 15,000 new reviews. That’s a 20% increase in total online reviews in just five months! Rize has added hundreds of 5-star reviews and loyalty program sign-ups, strengthening the lifetime value of its customers.
By adopting a proactive approach to review management, you can instill trust, help customers find your business more easily and show your commitment to customer satisfaction. Get in touch with Rize and learn how our product reviews management services can help you gain a competitive edge.