How to remove google reviews (the right way)

by | Aug 3, 2021

Knowing how to remove Google Reviews is more important than ever. Having your reputation tarnished by negative reviews can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

One negative review might not sink your business, but it can certainly lead people away to other retailers. Without a customer review management strategy in place, a series of bad reviews could turn nearly everyone off to your company.

In this article, we will walk you through how to remove a google review – or at least how to try.

Google doesn’t offer a simple “delete” option for its reviews(we all wish they did). Instead, there are only two ways that a review can be removed. The person who posted the review can delete it or your business can “flag the review as inappropriate.” Flagging the review alerts Google that the review is fake or that it doesn’t comply with Google’s review policies.

 

How to get your customer to remove their Google review

Negative reviews are inevitable.

The sheer depth and breadth of who we serve will never cater to everyone. Also, a business is made up of people and as people, we sometimes fail – that’s ok. What’s not ok is letting that be the end of it. Getting your customer to REMOVE the review is the easiest way to get it off Google.

Here is an example from the Grand Canyon – you can’t please everyone

Negative Google Review of the Grand Canyon

How to respond to a negative review (4 Steps)

Step 1: Apologize and sympathize
Acknowledge the customer’s concerns. Even if they are unfounded, show sympathy that they had a bad experience. “I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience.”

Step 2: Insert a little marketing in your response to the bad review
Explain what your customers usually experience. “We’re normally known for our exceptional attention to detail, and we regret that we missed the mark.”

Step 3: Move the conversation offline
Provide contact info with someone at the business so they can discuss the problem in person. “My name is [name] and I am the [Owner / Manager]. I would love to discuss your experience further, please contact me at [phone number/email].”

Step 4: Unhappy to happy
As always, do what you can to turn the situation around. Once you have done so, see if they will remove their negative review. We’ve found wording like this to be successful: “Many people like you rely on online reviews to make sure they get the best service possible. Having a negative review hurts our businesses’ ability to stand out and provide value. If you feel your experience with us has changed it would mean a lot if you removed or updated your Google review.”

 

Is It Possible To Remove a Google Review Someone Left You?

In short, yes. You can dispute a Google review, however, it is not easy and it can be very frustrating.

In order to dispute a review, you have to flag it with Google. There is no guarantee, it takes time and you want to be armed with all the evidence you can to get it removed.

So before we show you how to remove a Google review, let’s first look at the Prohibited and Restricted Content as per Google’s guidelines.

 The 10 reasons Google will remove a review

Google’s policy states “Contributions to Google Maps should accurately represent the location in question. Where contributions distort the truth, we will remove content.”

The following is what they believe to be prohibited content or distorts the truth:

  1. Spam and fake content
    This includes people posting a review from multiple email addresses. This part of the policy also states “fake content”. So if the customer states my experience with x when they never actually experienced this part of your business could be classified as fake content. If their review is not genuine this gives you cause.
  2. Off-topic
    Google Maps is not meant to be a forum for general political, social commentary, or personal rants. Content that does not meet this standard will be removed.
  3. Restricted content
    Content uploaded may not feature calls to action or offers for the sale of products or services that are subject to local legal regulations. This includes, but is not limited to, alcohol, gambling, tobacco, guns, health and medical devices, regulated pharmaceuticals, adult services, and financial services.
  4. Illegal content
    Google doesn’t want you posting anything illegal. Yes, no graphic images, etc.
  5. Terrorist content
    Probably unlikely you will use this one. And if you do, holy sh#@t are you okay?
  6. Sexually explicit content

  7. Offensive content
    Google will remove content that contains obscene, profane, or offensive language or gestures. Now, this one can be your best friend. If the review contains anything like this you will be able to get it removed.
  8. Dangerous & Derogatory Content
    Google does not permit merchants or consumers to post dangerous or derogatory content.
  9. Impersonation
    Impersonating someone is grounds for removal. This one comes in handy if your competitors get 50 people to negatively review you from another country.
  10. Dishonest or biased.
    This includes posting reviews of your own business (or having a current or former employee do it for you) and trying to manipulate a competitor’s ratings. So if your competitors have left you a negative review, and you can prove it, they will be removed.

 

I feel I’m justified, so how do I get Google to remove the review?

If you believe you have received a review that is fake, inappropriate or promotes a competitor you can flag it to be reviewed by Google for removal.

Word of advice, this isn’t guaranteed and will take up your precious time, so make sure you feel you are justified.

Follow these steps to flag a review:

  1. Log into Google My Business.
  2. Select the location (if you have multiple)
  3. In the menu, select “Reviews”
  4. Find the review in question. Click the three-dot menu, then select “Flag as inappropriate.”

It can take several days for someone at Google to review your request and determine whether they will delete your Google review. If possible, ask other people to flag the review also, as this might draw more attention to an offensive review and encourage Google to remove the Google review. Flagging the review and/or responding to the unfair comments sometimes gets the review removed. But if those strategies fail, the next step is to report the review to Google Small Business Support.

How to Contact Google Small Business Support

To contact Google’s support for businesses, follow these steps:

  1. Go to support.google.com/business
  2. Scroll down and select “contact us”
  3. Select “customer reviews and photos,” and then “manage customer reviews”
  4. Choose to receive help via phone, web chat, or email

Using any of these methods, you can expect help within 24 hours. If you choose to contact Google via email or chat, it is helpful to have a screenshot of the review in question ready to go.
You can also send a tweet to the Google My Business team (@GoogleMyBiz) from your company Twitter account. Someone may reply to you and you can take things from there. You could also search for and seek advice about the removal of reviews in the Google community support forum.

 

File a Legal Removal Request for the Bad Review of Your Business

That’s right you can get the lawyers involved.

Google may not view your review as being in violation of their policy but they operate within the law.

What does that mean? That means if you can build a legal argument like a defamation case you can not only get the review removed but sue the individual for damages.

In fact, there was a recent case where a dentist won a $170,000 payout for a one-star Google review after she claimed that she had been defamed online by one of her patients.

To report an illegal review, navigate to the Content Removal Tool and select Google My Business. On the following pages, Google will ask you questions relating to the review and your complaint about its specific content.

Okay, Google won’t remove my review – what do I do?

Lessen the impact. That’s right. Put your marketing/sales hat on again.

If the customer refuses to remove the review and you can’t get it removed by Google let’s soften the impact.

You can do this by:

  1. Responding to the review with further messaging.
    We did everything in our power to ensure you had the experience. You mentioned x we did y, you said a we did b, we do everything we can to help our customers get the best result.
  2. Get more positive reviews
    Having a perfect star rating on Google is very very hard to achieve and if you’ve been in business for many years it is likely that there are a few negative reviews.
    Consumers care more about the most recent reviews. If you bury the review with new positive reviews this can greatly impact of that negative review.
  3. Use software
    If you use software like goodreviews, you can lessen the chances of getting a negative review. With this software, respondents who want to leave a negative review are deterred and given the chance to voice their negative feedback before it goes public. Using google review software like ours can have a great impact.

Final Thought

Google reviews undoubtedly impact a business’s bottom line. Knowing how to deal with negative reviews and have them removed is more important than ever. Without a customer review management strategy in place, a series of bad reviews could turn nearly everyone off to your company.

Being able to collect hundreds of good reviews is your best defense against the impact of negative reviews on your business. Using a review software that automatically collects reviews for you is a set-and-forget solution that will save you both time and money (you can sign up for a free 14-day trial here).

What you should do now

Whenever you’re ready…here are 4 ways we can help you grow your local business:

  1. Sign up for a free 14-day trial If you’d like to rapidly grow your Google reviews and use those reviews to make more money — Start a FREE trial here
  2. If you’d like to learn the exact strategies we use for free, go to our blog or visit our resources section, where you can download in-depth guides, and more.
  3. If you know another business owner who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.
  4. Get in touch with us if you would like a demo of everything goodreviews has to over – contact us here
A book on Google Reviews
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