A change by Google to the way its algorithmic spam detection works will increase the amount of reviews shown on Google+ Local pages. As a result, Google has advised reviewers, business owners and SEO companies about how to avoid the deletion of reviews.

Google has warned businesses that faked testimonials, written and posted by an SEO or reputation management company, will be removed from the Google+ Local page.

Google also explained that businesses which had taken a paper comment card and then digitised it may fall foul of the new spam detection system. Google has told SEO companies to ensure all reviews are genuine and come from first-hand experiences. It was also explained that reviews posted on behalf of others would not be accepted.

Google was also keen to advise against businesses persuading customers to write reviews on computers or tablets located and owned by the business. Instead, Google suggests that businesses should use email reminders for their customers. The search giant says that customers should be encouraged to write a review in their own time and businesses should refrain from offering gifts and discounts as incentives.

Reviews left on Google+ Local often attract new clients and businesses are keen to garner positive reviews. However, negative reviews can be damaging and businesses are left in no doubt as to Google’s policy for negative reviews; Google will only remove a review if it is in violation of its posting guidelines. Google has advised businesses to respond to negative reviews, addressing any issues and offering solutions.