Google is harnessing new AI technology to block a surge of fake online reviews that mislead customers and harm local businesses.
The company stopped over 170 million fake reviews in 2023 – a 45% increase over the previous year.
The crackdown provides welcome relief for local business owners who have struggled with fraudulent reviews that damage their reputations on Google Maps and Search.
In a blog post, Google discusses how its algorithms now analyze patterns over time to identify suspicious review activity quickly. This includes spotting identical reviews copied across business pages or sudden spikes of 1-star and 5-star ratings.
A Year Of More Honest Reviews
In 2023, Google received approximately 20 million daily updates to local business information, including details such as business hours and customer reviews.
To maintain data integrity amidst this high volume of incoming data, Google implemented a new algorithm to rapidly identify and remove misleading or deceptive information.
Google notes the new algorithm identified a scam where people were paid to write false positive reviews. By detecting it, Google could take action to shut it down. This prevented the further spread of deceptive reviews.
Additionally, Google reported removing or blocking the following:
- 170+ million reviews that violated policies,
- 14 million increase in detecting policy-violating videos
- 2+ million attempts of fraudulent claims on business profiles being thwarted due to enhanced security protocols.
Key Benefits For Local Businesses
Google reports that its new fake review detection algorithm can help local businesses in the following ways:
- Faster Detection: The new machine learning system detects suspicious review patterns more quickly than previous methods, which can help protect businesses from the harm of fraudulent reviews.
- Increased Accuracy: The accuracy of identifying fake reviews has improved by 45% compared to 2022, which can give businesses more confidence that their online ratings primarily reflect real customer experiences.
- Scam Protection: The algorithm identifies individual fake reviews and broader coordinated efforts to post scam reviews, providing businesses with enhanced protection from organized fake review campaigns.
Takeaways For Local Marketers & Business Owners
Google states its continued effort to tackle fake content will benefit users and protect local businesses by better securing their online reputations.
The update could lead to a more level playing field, with reputation becoming a more accurate reflection of service quality and genuine customer satisfaction.
For businesses, the message is to concentrate on delivering exceptional products and services, while Google works to ensure online reputation matches real-world performance.
Featured Image: Screenshot from blog.google/products/maps/how-machine-learning-keeps-contributed-content-helpful/, February 2024.
How has the new algorithm changed the efficiency of Google’s review moderation process?
The new algorithm has significantly enhanced the efficiency of Google’s moderation process by:
- Identifying Patterns: By analyzing review patterns over time, the algorithm can swiftly pinpoint anomalous activities like duplicated content and unusual rating fluctuations.
- Volume Handling: Google’s ability to manage roughly 20 million daily updates to local business information demonstrates the algorithm’s capacity to handle large volumes of data while maintaining accuracy.
- Stopping Scams: Google’s proactive measures have shut down schemes where individuals were compensated to write falsified reviews, protecting the integrity of business ratings.
What practical measures can I take as a marketer in light of Google’s new review detection capabilities?
With Google’s improved fake review detection capabilities, marketers should consider the following actions:
- Focus on Authenticity: Encourage genuine customer feedback instead of using artificial means to inflate ratings.
- Monitor Reviews: Regularly assess your business reviews on Google for abnormal patterns and report suspicious activities.
- Engage with Customers: Respond to positive and negative reviews to demonstrate active engagement and concern for customer experience.