Somebody asked me this question: “I have a lot of reviews on a review website. Can I copy them to Google? What if I create fake Gmail accounts and copy them?”
How Review Services Work
There are a lot of services out there that provide review links for people. You can set up an automated text message so that every time a client is finished with work you did for them, you can send them a link. What that allows them to do is leave a review on the review website and then you can get an aggregate of all your reviews.
A lot of times, these review sites act as a buffer, so you can send everyone a review link. What typically happens is that they’ll say, “How was your experience with our firm? Please leave us a review.” And then they can leave a review on the review website.
If it’s a 4-star or a 5-star review, the review website then asks them to go leave a review on Google or Yelp or Avvo or wherever you actually want them to leave a review. It filters people out.
The Problem With Getting Reviews
The problem is that getting people to leave reviews is very difficult. A lot of times what happens is that they’ll leave a review on this review site, like getfivestars.com or something like that. There are so many of them. So you end up with a big list of reviews on these review websites and none on your Google profile or your Yelp profile. Maybe not none, but they’re a smaller number.
How can you solve that problem?
The question is can you take those reviews that are legitimate reviews and either post them yourself on Google or create fake accounts on Google and then use those fake accounts to post them?
The Ethical Issue
There are two issues here. First of all, there is the ethical issue from your state bar association. This is a very grey area if it’s a legitimate review but it’s not placed on Google by the actual client.
I don’t know what the answer is on that one. You might have to research that yourself. I’m not going to even pretend to try to answer that question because I don’t want you to do something and then get disbarred and then come talk to me about it. That is definitely one consideration.
The Duplicate Content Issue
The other consideration is whether it’s going to be considered duplicate content because it exists somewhere else, or if Google is going to flag it possibly as spam. I don’t know the answer to that. We have not done it for clients but I have seen instances where clients have posted Google reviews to their Google My Business account and have gotten away with it.
I don’t like it. I think it’s way too risky. If Google sees that you have a Google My Business profile and you’ve got 30 different reviews on it, and if Google starts seeing duplicate content everywhere, I think it’s a little risky. I personally wouldn’t do it.
What I Would Do
I would probably just try to figure out a way to get those clients to go back and leave you another review on Google. Give them some sort of incentive. That would be my recommendation.
I would never advise a client to leave fake reviews or create fake accounts or anything like that. I think it’s too complicated and I think it’s a lot easier just to get real reviews from real people even if you just get a handful.
Getting reviews is one of those things. It’s an ongoing process. You always have to be getting more reviews.
Someone asked me, “How would this look to the bar?” That’s my concern. Is it really worth that risk when it could be a grey area or even a black area? I don’t know if it’s worth it. Especially since you could figure out different ways to get people to leave you reviews.