With the recent admission from Yelp that about 25% of Yelp reviews are fake (although they do catch about 25% of those), I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to remind everyone how important it is to remain on the straight and narrow, especially when it comes to Local SEO.
If you get nothing out of this post, get this: Faking it is not a good business model.
Unless you joined a franchise, you know what it’s like to feel totally alone on the interwebs. You look at your Facebook page and see all 3 “likes” . . . from your mom, your wife and your brother. It can be frustrating when your idea doesn’t catch on right away. Heck,in some cases, even the franchisee doesn’t fell the brand loyalty in the local market. It’s ok.
Growing is what business is all about. However, it’s all too easy to see the shortcut and think there’s an easy way to success. Starting a business is hard work. Keeping a business going can be even more difficult, so taking shortcuts, like paying a firm to post fake reviews on Yelp, may seem like a good idea. It’s not. I’ll say it again. Paying for Yelp reviews or Facebook likes is not a good idea. Sure, you may enjoy going from 3 “likes” to 565 over night, but there’s more to Facebook than the number of “likes”. There’s engagement.
What good are your newly purchased Facebook “likes” if they don’t share your content with other friends or don’t ever get involved in the conversation at all? They’re no good at all. Similarly, as we’ve seen in recent weeks, buying Yelp reviews is just as bad, if not worse. We’re seeing legal action taken in some cases and a legal battle is the last thing your growing business needs.
Sure, the road to success can be a difficult journey, but taking the shortcut can prove to be even more difficult. Once your found out, and you most certainly will be found out, you could lose your Facebook page and all of the legitimate fans you’ve actually worked so hard to gain. Or worse, you could find yourself in legal hot water.
I may be old fashioned, but a little bit of elbow grease still goes a long way. Don’t get caught up in the seedier side of online marketing. It’s just not worth the risk.