Marketing

Why copying and pasting reviews is a bad idea

Positive reviews are awesome, there’s no denying that. When you get a glowing review on a site like Google, you want everyone to see. If only there were a way to just copy and paste that review onto other top site like Facebook and TripAdvisor to widen its reach. There are review marketing services out there, why don’t any of them let you do this? The short answer is it could hurt your business. The long answer is a bit more complex, but important to understand. When it comes to review syndication, there are important guidelines to keep in mind.

Google’s goal is to showcase the best content out there, and deliver the best search experience to each user. Therefore, they only want to show users a piece of content one time. If Google comes across the exact same review on multiple review sites, it flags this as duplicate content.

Why copy/paste is a bad idea

Simply copying and pasting the review text and publishing it on other sites actually violates Google policy. “Do not post reviews on behalf of others or misrepresent your identity or connection with the place you’re reviewing.” Consequently, if a business publishes a Google review as a Facebook review under a customer’s username, that’s a clear no-no.

Even if policies weren’t being violated, copying and pasting reviews word-for-word wouldn’t fool Google’s algorithm. Google is always working hard to eliminate duplicate content.

What’s so bad about duplicate content?

When Google’s bots run into duplicate content, they try to figure out the originator of the content. That’s who they’d prefer to show. If they can’t determine that, they choose the site with the most authority. All the other versions of this content are penalized and moved down in search results.

Read also: How does Google search work?

That means if the review was originally written on Google, the Google review would be selected to appear in results over duplicate versions on TripAdvisor or Facebook. If you took things too far and had dozens of duplicate reviews posted on multiple sites, you could risk harming SEO for all your review site profiles.

It’s also important to consider user perception of duplicate content in reviews. If a customer is researching your business online and scans multiple review sites only to find identical reviews on each one, your business is going to appear way less credible.

Best practices for syndicating online reviews

Remember, you’re just the publisher, you aren’t the author. The best way to promote great reviews across the web without being penalized is with a tool like BirdEye that lets you embed reviews on your company website, social channels, and 50+ consumer sites. Embedding reviews involves using snippets of code to display the review on another site while still including its original URL. This way you’re publishing the review in a different place but attributing it to its rightful author and review source. Not only that, Google also identifies embedded content as a representation of the original post rather than a carbon copy. As a result,  you don’t have to worry about duplicate content penalties.

BirdEye’s integration with Google’s API makes review syndication easy and automatic. As new reviews are posted on Google, they’re syndicated to sites of your choice in real-time based on the filters you’ve set. BirdEye also creates a custom review microsite for each of your business locations, displaying a real-time feed of all your best reviews from 200+ sites. Since they’re constantly refreshed with new reviews, BirdEye microsites rank high when customers search for reviews of your brand or industry. The same goes for embedding reviews on your website, which BirdEye can also do for you. In addition, if you have people organically visiting your site, authentic customer reviews can provide that final push to convert site visitors into new customers.

Reviews are an extremely effective form of marketing content and you should absolutely promote them across the web–just be smart about it.

About the author

Helen Irias

Helen is a Product Marketing Manager at BirdEye and a reputation management and customer experience expert.

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