Google reviews often present online reputation problems for businesses since anyone can leave a review at any time. While it’s awesome for businesses that get positive reviews, it won’t help you turn things around if another review on your Google Business listing is a negative one.
The important thing to do is remove erroneous and fraudulent reviews as much as you can.
To make things simpler, Google released a new tool to help you keep track of all the reviews that you have reported for removal. This handy tool makes it more apparent when one of the negative reviews has been removed.
How to Use the New Google Review Removal Request Tool
The new removal request tool was launched to help Google My Business profile owners remove fraudulent or irrelevant reviews. You can flag any review for removal from your business, but ultimately, Google makes the decision on whether to remove it.
However, it’s difficult to see the process and understand whether Google is even considering your comments when you flag the review. Thus, the new Google review manager was launched.
The tool allows you to report reviews on your account and check the status of any reviews you’ve already flagged to Google. Any reviews that violate Google’s review policies should be removed from your profile.
Heres’s how to find this tool and see all of your reviews:
- Log in to your Google Business Profile account first.
- Visit the manage Google reviews tool once logged in.
- Click on “Report a Problem” next to any review for Google to consider removing. Remember this process isn’t guaranteed to remove negative reviews.
- If using an Agency account, you can’t access this tool if you manage too many business profiles. You’ll likely only be able to manage under 5 listings with this tool or you’ll need to log in to the profile’s original Gmail account.
Why Does Google Make It So Hard to Remove Bad Reviews?
Everyone knows if you want to find something, you use Google to search. Due to this pressure to constantly deliver the best results, Google relies partially on customer reviews to show the best results.
However, this can be frustrating if you receive even one negative review. You may view it as a blight on your reputation, but it’s also detrimental to your rank on Google search. While one negative review probably isn’t enough to take you down if you have 50 or more reviews, it’s a bad look for anyone with a small amount of reviews.
In addition, negative reviews make customers look for other competitors, especially if you aren’t able to get it removed or don’t reply to the review publicly to show that you took care of the customer.
What Reviews Can You Flag?
Any review that violates Google’s policy should be removed, but ultimately the search company’s review team has the final say on whether a review should be removed. Google wants to keep honest, truthful reviews on your profile to help customers make decisions, but that doesn’t always lead to the greatest results for you and your business.
There are 10 different types of reviews that Google forbids in its prohibited review policy. These include:
- Spam and fake content
- Off-topic reviews
- Threats, dangerous or derogatory content
- Restricted content
- Illegal content
- Terrorist content
- Conflict of interest
- Sexually explicit content
- Offensive content
If anyone tries to post this content on Google Reviews, Google Videos, or Google Photos in relation to your business, you can easily click the icon to flag them and Google will likely remove within 1 to 2 weeks.
This content is removed from Google search completely, and now with the new tool, you can follow that process in your Google review management dashboard.
So here are the reviews that you are likely to get removed by using the new Google review management tool:
Inappropriate Google Reviews
Some people just leave bad reviews because it’s what they do. They’re unhappy with the world, and therefore, your business takes the brunt of their rage. These reviews are highly inappropriate, negative, and often fake. These can be left on small and large business accounts in Google.
However, Google typically recognizes when these reviews have gone too far and will remove them.
Flagging a Review
To flag a review you don’t like, you can use the Google review management tool or you can go to your business’ listing on Google and click “Flag as Inappropriate” next to any review you think violates Google policy.
- You can also use the My Business app from Google, tap on “Customers”, then tap on the “Reviews” area, tap “More” and then tap on “Flag Review.”
On Google Maps, search for and click on your business listing, click on the review you want to remove, then click more to see “Flag as inappropriate.”
Talk to Customers About Removing Reviews
This method can work if you feel the customer is looking for a resolution. Publicly commenting on the review is recommended if you have a solution, but ultimately, you also want to take the comment private. You should ask for the reviewer to contact you privately for a resolution or compensation.
Once the conversation is private, you can talk to the customer about why they made that review and also resolve the issue with some solution. Many customers will delete or edit their reviews if they feel the problem was taken care of.
While it’s difficult to understand why some customers leave these negative reviews, you should always take a moment to place yourself in the customer’s shoes. Sometimes there are confusing problems or the wrong products involved–and in other cases, maybe an employee really was rude to the customer.
Most customers are happy to remove or update reviews when they’ve been properly taken care of. This requires some more effort on your part, but it can often be the quickest way to handle a negative review.
If you do provide a resolution, take screenshots or record the interaction to show proof to Google that the customer agreed to remove the review or that it was inaccurate in the first place. This can help you win an appeal or even show Google Support that you did everything to remedy the poor customer experience.
When Nothing Works & The Bad Google Review is Still There
If you’ve tried to use all of the tools and tips above, there’s another way that some have used to remove Google reviews.
This next method involves Twitter. You can notify @GoogleSmallBiz about removing the review publicly with a direct tweet or even direct message. If you know that the review is truly inappropriate, and you’ve flagged it multiple times to no avail–tagging publicly on Twitter can bring some visibility to your problem.
People can see how Google responds to your request, so @GoogleSmallBizz will likely try to take a look at the review and follow up with you privately. This has gotten some reviews removed quicker than following the Google flag process.
File a Legal Review Removal Request
Your business is your livelihood so if you know that the review is inaccurate and even slanderous, then you should contact a lawyer and file a legal request to remove the review.
Google allows individuals to report and remove any content that is illegal. Slander is illegal in the U.S. under federal law, but it can be difficult to prove without a lawyer.
The process to report illegal content is a little different. Here’s how to file legal notice to Google for a review removal:
- Log into your Google Business account
- Go to the Content Removal Tool and click on “Google Search” or wherever the bad review is located.
- Follow Google’s questions to remove the review and provide evidence or legal notices to get the illegal review removed
In this section, Google notes that copies of legal notices are retained and even published with annotation on their Lumen project website.
Google does take these complaints seriously, so if you are filing a legal notice, you must make sure that it is completely accurate and not fraudulent. Any fake legal notices could lead to more trouble for your business.
Removing Google Reviews from Your Business Listing
Is it hard to get reviews removed from your business listing? The new tool makes it seem easier to see what reviews are pending review and which ones have been removed. However, the process of flagging and removing reviews has become easier in some ways as you can access the flag tool quite easily from anywhere.
However, you’ll want to follow up with Google and file any legal notices to the company if a review isn’t taken down after flagging, especially if it’s slanderous and illegal. Otherwise, you’ll need to try other methods to talk to the customer and get the review removed or edited if Google won’t remove it.