There are some areas of Google My Business guidelines that can be somewhat ambiguous and hard to understand, and one of these areas has long been that of former employees who leave reviews at their previous companies. For years, Google’s policy has been somewhat tough to understand when it comes to these kinds of reviews, but now the company is making things clearer with a recent update.
What were the previous guidelines, and how are they being changed? Let’s find out.
The golden rule that sets the baseline for many of Google’s guidelines is that all reviews on a business listing are honest representations of a customer experience, and that all those that aren’t will be removed. This is why Google usually removes peer reviews or reviews you simply convinced friends to write for you.
In addition, Google’s guidelines discuss conflicts of interest, and maintaining a review culture that’s honest and unbiased. They even specifically had previously mentioned not reviewing a business or employer if you own or work at that place.
One would assume this naturally means former employees are also prohibited from leaving reviews – but in fact, until recently this was not the case. Google only considered reviews from current employees to be against the guidelines.
For example, a business owner was trying to get a review from a former employee removed while stating that the employee no-showed for a shift three times in a row and was let go. This former employee then left reviews, arguing that her opinion is the same as customers’ while comparing the company to competitors. In another post, a former employee made negative comments about a business owner specifically. At the time, these reviews were not removed by Google.
While this policy was tough to understand, Google has taken steps to clarify things and maintain a more appropriate policy. On December 14, 2017, they updated their review policies to include a line that “posting negative content about a current or former employment experience” is not allowed, and will be considered a conflict of interest.
For more on Google’s review policies, or to find out about any of our SEO services, speak to the pros at SEO Werkz today.