The BBC has recently looked into the unwholesome practice of openly trading rapturous online reviews of such things as consumer products and leisure destinations.
This is yet another aspect of the ugly phenomenon of fake news and fake content on the web, potentially casting doubt on genuine testimonials and positive news that brands wish to publicise.
Target audiences may be increasingly cynical about what they read online, but they will recognise truth when it’s presented by companies that follow effective communications strategies.
Incentives to cheat
BBC Technology News carried an informative article “Fake five star reviews being bought and sold online” following an investigation carried out by BBC 5 live. The incentives to gain glowing reports from users on sites such as Amazon and the review site Trustpilot are highly tempting.
As the article points out, a Chartered Institute of Marketing survey found that three quarters of UK adults use online review websites and half of the sample surveyed thought they had come across fake reviews. Some are easier to spot than others. For instance, a one-line titbit of unspecific hype needs to be regarded with suspicion, because it may have even been created by a bot.
Ecommerce and product review sites declare their zero tolerance of this practice, but it is all too easy for smart perpetrators to game the system. A recent article in Search Engine Land “Why we need to fight fake reviews” highlights the infamous but fascinating case of The Shed at Dulwich, a restaurant that didn’t exist but still managed to become “the #1 ranked restaurant in all of London on TripAdvisor.”
Values to communicate
If you trust the messenger then you are likely to trust the message. Communicating brand values and excellence of products and services takes time and strategic focus, but when trust is established then brand loyalty will follow.
In the online environment, effective search engine optimisation strategies can be an invaluable aid in the positioning of a brand and the messages it needs to communicate. A well-planned organic SEO programme will ensure that businesses can rise through the search page rankings and that organic results can be maintained and built upon.
Successful SEO can create a level playing field between a small business and larger competitors and drive targeted traffic to the corporate website and specific landing pages.
BBI Brandboost offers comprehensive SEO services and has run successful B2B and B2C campaigns across a range of industry sectors. Please contact us to discuss how we can improve your page rankings and differentiate your trustworthy communications from the fake news and content on the web.