It’s hard to believe. What I’m about to say. I don’t believe in gaming the system or trying to be sneaky. In fact, I’m probably the most moral SEO you’ll find. I will correct you quickly when you try to do sneaky things like keyword stuffing or adding extra locations to your GMB page. I don’t like slick SEO and I think you’ll get caught. It will ultimately negatively affect you.

So these words are hard for me to believe coming out of my mouth. NEVER trust a review or testimonial!

Now Search Engine Land did a report on the problem being worse than you would suspect.

I personally think asking for reviews is equally as bad as writing it yourself. Who wants to be annoyed with the “please review our product” for every thing they purchase? We all get them.  Do you enjoy that sort of marketing?

Any review received this way is fake in my opinion. You want a review from me? Add some money to the offer and well, I’ll review anything use my contact form. The more the amount, the better the review.

Genuine reviews or testimonials are very hard to get, your service or product has to be so great that someone will come out of their way to tell you about it.

If you want to feature testimonials or reviews on your website. You need to include a lot of information to support that review to make them believeable.  You can put quotes or testimonials as just space filling material. It does look nice. It makes sense that nobody will feature the negative review on their own site though, that just won’t happen, so are they really necessary?

Want a truly believeable review or testimonial?

  1. photos of the reviewer
  2. their title
  3. the date of the review
  4. add information about the project
  5. what you did
  6. why you did it the way you did it
  7. pictures of the project if that is applicable

I got in an argument once about the ethical aspects of purchasing reviews. I don’t have an issue with it.

I honestly don’t have an issue with just straight up lying either. This is untraceable information. It’s against FCC or other organizations rules, but what if I put a quote on my website something like this.

Jennifer Beam SEO is the most amazing company in all the land and I would pay double to have the privilege of working with such a great lady. Big Thanks — Mike of Richmond

You really can’t validate that at all. How many Mike’s are there and how many Richmond’s are there? There is no way of validating that review without contacting Mike and no organization is going to do that. It’s completely invalid even though, I am quite a great lady. That bit is true.

I’m on the side that the majority of reviews are already fake, so what’s another one in the mix. You are way more likely to find negative honest reviews than you will positive honest reviews as well. That said, how fun it is to bash your friends competition for them?  It’s more in human nature to tell others about our negative experiences while we save the positive for the truly amazing.

I don’t have any reviews or testimonials on this site and honestly I don’t encourage them on client sites. I do have some client sites that are loaded with them though.  It’s all about what you want and how you want to portray yourself, if you want testimonials and reviews though. I highly recommend placing an image or video with them.

What do you think of reviews and testimonials? Do you look for them?



So, after I hit publish on this post. I sort of felt bad because so many times you’re begged for reviews and why would someone believe that they are fake when so many people depend on them.  I haven’t changed my stance, but here is a book sort of proving it.

Here is some ammo to support my case. I’m reading this book: 3 Month to No. 1 – The No-Nonsense SEO Playbook for getting your website found on Google by Will Combe. If you don’t know anything about SEO, it’s not a terrible book despite my next section. There is a lot of great advice in here.

3 Months to No 1

Here is an image of the book… with my website in background. So, you can see… Yes, I really have it and yes I’m really telling the truth. 

In this book, there is a blueprint you are supposed to follow that will lead you to that ultimate number 1 spot. There are 12 weeks of tasks it suggests that you complete over the course of these 12 weeks. (I agree with 10 weeks of these tasks in full, but I don’t think SEO can be done in 12 weeks either. It’s a forever endeavor.)

Well anyways, week 8 says. “Solicit Friends & Family for Google reviews” as it’s priority.

It also talks about adding schema to reviews and signing up for other review companies. So it’s not all bad… but would you all have faith in every company if you knew they got the majority or all their reviews from friends and family members? 

So this is what leads me to say paid reviews are just as good as ones given by a friend or family member.

About 6 months after this book came out, Google deleted a lot of reviews. I can’t find the number right now, but it was a lot, millions.  I’m pretty sure the people at Google read a lot and have this book on their bookshelves.

Google has also stopped accepting reviews while COVID 19 is in effect. It will appear like you are leaving them, but the moderation is turned off. They have not said whether they will moderate them or not, but I’m assuming your Google reviews at this moment are going straight to a bin or nowhere. Other companies are still working with reviews though as normal.