Over 99.9% of customers read reviews when they shop online.
96% of customers look for negative reviews specifically. This figure was 85% back in 2018.
Do you have negative reviews impacting your business on Google?
If so, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your reputation.
Removing unwanted reviews from Google can be a complex and time-consuming process, but taking action can help you present the best version of your company to potential customers.
In this article, we will provide an overview of how to remove Google reviews in order to ensure your business stands out for all the right reasons.
When Can I Remove a Google Review?
Let me start by saying that legitimate customer reviews and concerns are not eligible to be removed.
This post will NOT help you if your business is simply bad with poor systems, poor service, and poor products.
Let’s say I go to a restaurant, it was super busy, I wasn’t greeted, food took an hour and a half to arrive, and the staff was rude because they were swamped.
Google will not remove this review based on it’s authenticity and opinion.
Google will only remove a review if it violates Google’s policy.
Luckily for businesses, Google takes its review deletion process seriously, and there are many categories of content it considers inappropriate.
Here are a few types of reviews that qualify for deletion.
“We don’t allow users to post content to harass other people or businesses, or encourage others to participate in harassment.”
Also, it does not tolerate hate speech or offensive content in online reviews.
Offensive content can include content that is clearly and deliberately provocative.
Google also removes reviews containing personal information, such as credit card information, medical records, and more.
So no doxxing the staff or business.
Google considers incentives to leave reviews deceptive, such as offering discounts or free goods.
It’s widely considered a common practice to offer a customer something to leave a honest review.
Although it’s technically against Google’s policies, they generally don’t check too hard if the review is honest and not “the businesses asked me to leave a review for a free bagel” type of reviews. Those are very much eligible for removal.
What Google mostly care about are people who have never engaged with the business leaving bad reviews.
It’s also serious if you’re paying for fake positive reviews from bot accounts to boost your rankings.
Never pay for fake 5-star reviews.
You will be found out.
You will be penalized.
Google will remove your fake reviews.
Your competitors can also send bots after you by harming your business reputation, but again, this is easily checked by Google and they will help you remove them.
You can pay for ORM (Online Reputation Management) services that will help you solicit genuine and honest reviews from your customers.
There are software where you can do it yourself, or services that’s done-for-you.
Other deceptive content includes
- Misrepresentation of the business, goods or services
Mature content is exactly as the name implies.
Google is an all ages platform, so any reviews that contains
- Sexually explicit content
- Adult-themed content (basically more sex stuff
- Violence and gore
The above mentioned content can all be removed if you contact Google via their review flagging system.
Regulated, Dangerous, And Illegal
You shouldn’t be promoting other businesses via reviews anyway, but common sense isn’t too common these days, especially with many “blackhat” tactics out there.
But any links that lands on content promoting the sales of regulated products are eligible to be removed.
These include, but not limited to
- Medical Devices
- Adult Services
Dangerous and illegal content are anything that’s promoting violence that can result in harm for an individual or those around them.
Telling someone to stick a firecracker up the bum is definitely not allowed.
Some limited examples of illegal content includes
- Copyright material
- Sexual abuse imagery
- Content produced by or on behalf of terrorist groups
- Anything that affects children’s safety
- Anything that promotes or celebrates terrorist attacks and/or organizations.
They are pretty extreme examples, but use your best judgement.
You can leave an honest review about your business interaction, but nobody wants to hear you rant about your personal life or about politics.
Rants or off-topic discussions are off the table.
So are any promotional links or content.
Or my favorite: Gibberish and repetitive content.
Don’t copy and paste stuff and post it on every business you go to.
And for the love of sweet…baby Jesus, there’s no need to type gibberish. It will be removed.
How To Remove Google Reviews On Your Business
Google does not allow businesses to remove negative reviews on their business themselves.
Or else ALL business owners would be removing the bad reviews and everyone would be at 5-stars.
What’s the point of that?
Remember, if your business has bad practices, the most effective way to remove bad reviews is by improving your business systems and quality.
The only 2 ways for a review to be actually removed is by the reviewer or by flagging it and asking Google to remove it for you if it goes against their policies.
You can flag reviews both in your browser on your computer or in Google Maps on your mobile device.
Here are the steps for both.
How To Flag A Review On Google Maps
- Open Google Maps on your computer.
- Find your Google Business Profile.
- Find the review you’d like to flag.
- Click more, flag as inappropriate.
How To Flag A Review In Google Search
- On your computer, go to Google.
- Find your Google Business Profile.
- Click Google Reviews.
- Find the review you’d like to flag.
- Click more, report review. Then select the type of violation you want to report.
How To Flag A Review In Your Account
- On your computer, sign in to manage your Google Business Profile.
- Choose the review you’d like to report.
- For a single business: Open the Google Business Profile you’d like to manage. On the left, in the menu, click Reviews.
- For multiple businesses: On the left menu, click Manage reviews. Then use the drop-down menu to choose a location group.
- On the review you’d like to flag, click more, flag as inappropriate.
Don’t worry, Google has algorithms built in to help combat people challenging their policies.
It will detect fake or spam reviews automatically without your input.
Once you have flagged a post, Google will take several business days to review the content and will remove or keep according to their policies.
“These measures help improve people’s experiences on Google and ensure the reviews they see are authentic, relevant, and useful.”
How “Bad” Reviews Affect Your Business?
Having a few negative reviews sprinkled in with the positives is actually a great way to build trust with prospects.
It shows that you’re a real business that welcomes all opinions.
If you look at the top rated businesses in your area, they will have some negative reviews.
In fact, a 4.9-star rating will convert better than a perfect 5-stars!
That just goes to show you that if you have a good business, a few Negative Nancys won’t deter your prospects from choosing you.
That said, if any reviews violate Google’s policies such as fake, or harassment can be removed.
Examples of Reviews Eligible for Removal
- A disgruntled ex employee who bad mouths the owners or business
- A customer who uses profanity or offensive language when describing the business
- A competitor leaving a fake review only to post their own business link.
- A fake review from an account that’s only there to boost or hurt the business review rankings
- A review about something else entirely left by someone who thought this was another business
There are countless reasons to remove reviews, but a legitimate bad experience from a customer is not one of those reasons.
What To Do If You Can’t Get A Review Removed
Just because you think a negative review should be removed, doesn’t mean Google thinks so.
If a customer had a legitimate concern about the service or product they received, here are some best practices to handle negative reviews.
Respond To The Review
If a customer has a legitimate concern, one of the first things you should do is simply to address the customer on the review platform. Sometimes the customer may even choose to remove the review on their own!
At the very least, it can help share your side of the story and it’s a great opportunity to showcase your kick-ass customer service skills!
That way, the prospects who view your profile can see your side of the story and see if it addresses their concerns about the negative review.
Never ask a customer to remove the review within the platform publicly! It’s against Google’s TOS and it will be removed.
Some Pro-tips on handling negative reviews:
- Be kind in your response
- Don’t take it personally, and don’t be defensive
- Offer to make it right and apologize if necessary
- Keep it to the point and brief
- Move the conversation to a private channel like text or email
Ask them to connect with your leadership directly to see if they can help solve the issue. If they don’t respond, do everything you can to help correct the situation within the response.
How To Respond To A Google Review
Here are the steps to show you exactly how to respond to a customer review on Google.
- First of all, make sure your business listing is claimed—that is, registered your account on Google as the owner. This will give you access to the listing on your Google Account and allow you to look at your analytics and edit your business information—and respond to reviews. Claim your business listing by visiting google.com/business.
- Sign into Google Business Profile and select the location (if you have multiples) with the review you’d like to respond to.
- In the menu, select “Reviews.” Then click “Respond” next to the review you would like to address.
- Type your response and click “Submit.”
How to downplay negative reviews
Here are some pro tips to downplay negative reviews
- Clarify the situation in your response to the negative review, calmly.
- Reconcile the situation and then politely ask your customer in person (Not on the platform because it’s against TOS) if they are willing to update their negative review to reflect their satisfaction.
- Use a ORM strategy to gather new 5-star reviews so it will push the negative reviews out.
With any business, it’s impossible to get only 5-star reviews. There will always be a customer who had a not-so-great experience with your business.
These reviews won’t have a large impact on your business if you won’t let it! There are always strategies to help improve your online reputation that follows Google’s guidelines.
Follow the tips above and no bad reviews can hold your business back from thriving on the Google Maps pack!
Can You Delete A Google Review Made By Someone Else?
Short answer is yes, but it’s not as easy as clicking on a “delete google reviews” button.
The only 2 ways for a review to be removed from google is:
- The reviewer decides to remove the review themselves
- The review goes against Google’s guidelines and are removed by Google