Hash Khadim

DIGITAL STRATEGIST
Hash Khadim

19.02.2024 4 min read
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Did you know that Google receives approximately 20 million contributions each day on its Maps and Search platforms? This high volume of user-generated content makes it a top priority for Google to maintain the integrity of the information available. Fake reviews and spam can mislead consumers and undermine Google’s credibility. To tackle this issue, Google introduced a review algorithm last year to enhance its ability to identify and eliminate fake reviews. This article provides an overview of the review algorithm and how it helps Google combat fake reviews.

New Reviews Spam Algorithm

The new review algorithm utilizes advanced machine learning techniques to detect and filter out fraudulent or misleading reviews from Google platforms. It analyzes long-term signals on a daily basis, detecting questionable review patterns. That is, it can spot if a reviewer leaves identical reviews on multiple businesses or if a sudden surge in extreme ratings occurs.

In addition, this algorithm is able to detect one-off cases and larger-scale fraudulent schemes. For instance, a recent incident occurred where a group of spammers offered individuals the promise of lucrative online tasks in exchange for a small fee. These tasks included activities like writing fake reviews or clicking on ads across the internet.

Google’s algorithm identified this surge in suspicious reviews by continuously analyzing patterns, like determining whether an account had initially posted reviews. Human investigators then scrutinized reports from merchants who noticed a sudden influx of fake 5-star reviews. Utilizing these patterns, Google refined the algorithm to better detect and remove such fake reviews. As a result, Google successfully eliminated 5 million fake review attempts associated with this scam in just a matter of weeks.

Review Spam Fighting Metrics

So, what are the metrics behind Google’s fight against review spam in 2023? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

  • Over 170 million policy-violating reviews were blocked or removed (up from 45% in 2022).
  • Google took down 14 million policy-violating videos (7 million more than 2022)
  • Over 12 million fake business profiles were removed or blocked to maintain the integrity of local listings.
  • Google thwarted over 2 million attempts to claim Business Profiles that did not belong to the claimants (1 million more than in 2022)

Google chose not to disclose the number of photos that were policy-violating; instead, it focused on highlighting video-related metrics. This strategic shift indicates Google’s evolving approach to combatting fake content. Furthermore, Google adjusted its focus from detecting fake profiles to identifying fraudulent profile claims.

Why Fighting Fake Reviews is Important

Fighting fake reviews is crucial for marketers because their brands’ credibility and reputation heavily rely on customer feedback. Genuine reviews provide valuable insights into a product or service’s quality, helping potential customers make informed purchasing decisions. Fake reviews mislead consumers and undermine trust in the brand, potentially leading to decreased sales and damaged reputation. By combating fake reviews, marketers can maintain trust with their audience, build brand loyalty, and ensure a level playing field.

Google’s ongoing efforts to combat spam are commendable, but it remains a constant game of cat and mouse as spammers continuously adapt and find loopholes to circumvent these efforts.

Google’s Fight Against Fraudulent Activities

Last year, Google took legal action against a scammer who tried to manipulate its platforms. In an attempt to deceive users and businesses, this individual created over 350 fraudulent Business Profiles and flooded them with more than 14,000 fake reviews. Moreover, the scammer wanted to profit further by selling information about unsuspecting consumers who engaged with these fake profiles.

In conjunction with its legal efforts, Google has intensified its effort to combat fake reviews. The tech giant has implemented robust moderation systems and a new machine-learning algorithm to detect suspicious activities. Reviews undergo rigorous scrutiny before publication, and the algorithm continuously monitors for patterns indicative of fraudulent behaviour. For example, it flags instances where a reviewer leaves identical reviews across multiple businesses or where there is a sudden influx of extreme ratings.

Conclusion

Google is dedicated to combating false reviews on its platform and ensuring the authenticity of user-generated content. Despite spammers’ attempts to exploit any loopholes, the new review algorithm has played a crucial role in this battle. Thus, we can have confidence in the reliability and genuineness of the information we come across on Google.

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Hash Khadim

DIGITAL STRATEGIST

Hash Khadim
Managing Partner at Logik Digital

Hash is the Director of Operations at Logik Digital. His job is to make everything run smoothly by ensuring everyone communicates effectively and coordinating activities between clients, vendors, and specialized business units like the SEO team, content writers, web designers & developers, and technical support team. He also oversees backend operations for the firm.