If you’re the owner or manager of a local business, you may have noticed user-generated reviews appearing on your Google My Business profile. These reviews are public, and anyone can leave a review of your business, whether they’ve actually visited it or not.
If you’ve received negative reviews in the past you may be wondering: can you delete a review on Google?
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove reviews from your Google Business Listing and how to contact Google about a review.
What is a Google Review?
A Google review is an online review that is written about a business on the Google platform. The review can be positive or negative and is written by a customer or user of the business. Google reviews are important for businesses because they are one of the first things that potential customers will see when they search for the business on Google.
To delete a Google review, businesses need to first claim their listing on Google My Business. Once they have claimed their listing, they can then proceed to flag (or dispute) and delete the review by following the instructions outlined in this article.
Overall, Google reviews are an important part of any online business profile and should be taken very seriously. If a negative review is left on a business profile, it is important to try and resolve the issue with the customer so that they can update or delete their original review.
Can You Delete a Review on Google?
So can you really delete a review on Google?
The short answer: Yes, you can delete Google reviews from your business profile, in certain cases.
If you have received a negative review, you can respond to the review and try to resolve the issue with the customer. If you are unable to resolve the issue, you can flag the review as inappropriate and Google will investigate. If they determine that the review is indeed inappropriate, they will remove it from your listing.
Understanding Google's Policies on Reporting Reviews
As a business owner, you are likely aware of the importance of online reviews. Google is one of the most popular review sites, so it’s important to understand their policies on reporting reviews.
Google’s content policies are very clear on what is and is not allowed. Reviews must be relevant and accurate, and they cannot be fake or spammy. If you see a review that violates these policies, you can report it to Google.
Reporting a review is simple: once you’re logged in to your business profile in your Google account, just click the flag icon next to the review, and select the reason for why you’re reporting it. Once you submit the report, Google will investigate and take appropriate action if necessary.
While it’s ultimately up to Google whether or not to remove a review, it’s important to remember that fake or spammy reviews can damage your business reputation.
When to Flag (or Dispute) a Google Review
When you receive a Google review that is less than stellar, your first instinct may be to dispute (or flag) it, or even attempt to delete it. But before you do anything, it’s important to understand when you can and cannot remove a review. According to Google’s prohibited and restricted content policy, Google may remove a review if it falls under one of the following categories:
- Off topic: review doesn’t pertain to an experience at or with the business
- Spam: review is from a bot, a fake account, or contains ads and promotions
- Conflict of interest: review is from someone affiliated with the business or a competitor’s business
- Profanity: review contains swear words, has sexually explicit language, or details graphic violence or other illegal activity
- Bullying or harassment: review personally attacks a specific individual
- Discrimination or hate speech: review has harmful language about an individual or group based on identity
- Personal information: contains personal information such as address or phone number
If the review doesn’t fall into any of these categories, then you likely won’t be able to have it removed.
However, there is one exception: if the reviewer is not a verified customer, Google may allow you to flag the review for removal. To do this, simply click on the “flag as inappropriate” link underneath the review.
Disadvantages of Disputing a Google Review
Most businesses strive to maintain a positive image and reviews play a big role in that. So, when you get a negative review, it can be tempting to try and remove it. However, there are some disadvantages to disputing a Google review that you should be aware of before taking any action.
First of all, it’s important to remember that anyone can leave a review on your business listing – whether they’re a customer or not. So, if you dispute a review, Google may require you to provide proof that the person leaving the review is actually a customer. This can be difficult to do, especially if the person is using a fake name or email address.
Secondly, even if you are successful in getting the review removed, it could still damage your reputation. And, if other potential customers see that you’ve removed a review, they may assume that the review was accurate. The good news is that it’s possible to prevent negative reviews from showing up in the first place by monitoring your online reputation and taking immediate action when necessary.
4 Ways to Remove a Bad Google Review
1. Make it right and solve the customer's problem
The first thing you should do is try to resolve the issue with the customer who left the negative review. If you can make it right and solve their problem, they may be willing to delete the review themselves.
It can be as simple as reaching out personally to the unhappy customer, apologize for the issue, and ask them if they’d be willing to give you a chance to make it right. Business owners often overlook the importance of this, and underestimate the power of “negative word-of-mouth”.
2. Ask the customer to delete it
If you find an inaccurate or inappropriate Google review about your business, you can try asking the customer to delete it. This is usually the quickest and easiest way to remove a negative review.
3. Respond to the negative review
When you receive a negative review on your Google My Business listing, it can feel like a personal attack. You may be tempted to dispute the review, but that is not always the best course of action. Responding to the bad review shows potential customers that you are willing to listen to feedback and take responsibility for your business.
Here are some tips for responding to a negative Google review:
- Thank the customer for their feedback, acknowledge them, and apologize for their poor experience.
- Ask what you can do to make things right.
- Offer a solution, such as a discount on their next visit for a chance to make it right – or a refund.
- Follow up with the customer after taking action to improve their experience.
By following these steps, you can turn a negative review into an opportunity to show potential customers that you are committed to providing excellent service.
4. Verify the review's authenticity
If you’re concerned that a Google review left for your business might be fake, you can take steps to verify its authenticity. First, check to see if the reviewer has a profile image. If they do, try searching for the image on Google to see if it’s been used elsewhere. If the image shows up in other places, it’s likely that the review is fake.
Another way to tell if a review is fake is to look at the language used. Real reviews will usually be detailed and specific about their experience, while fake ones will often be vague or use generalities. If a review seems suspicious, you can also run a Google search of the entire text to see if it’s been used elsewhere.
The most common way to verify the authenticity of a Google review is to cross-reference the reviewer’s profile name with your customer list. If you don’t have a match, chances are they may have left a review at the wrong business, in which case you can dispute the review.
If you’re still not sure whether a review is real or fake, you can reach out to the reviewer directly through Google Maps or Google My Business.
How to Remove a Google Review: Step-By-Step Guide
If you have a business listing on Google and are wondering how to delete Google reviews, keep reading.
To remove a Google review, here are the steps you need to follow:
- Sign in to your Google My Business account.
- Next, find and click on the listing you want to manage.
- Click on the “Reviews” tab in the left-hand navigation menu.
- In the top right corner of the review, click on the three dots.
- A drop-down menu will appear and from there, select “Flag as inappropriate.”
- In the popup, titled “Why are you reporting this review?”, choose the reason for your dispute (review removal request).
7. On the next page, click “Submit”.
How to Contact Google About a Review
If you’re a business owner with a listing on Google, you may occasionally need to delete a review for your business. Whether the review is fake, contains inappropriate content, or is simply inaccurate, you can remove it from your listing. Here’s how to contact Google about a review to dispute it:
- To get started, sign in to Google My Business.
- Click “Support” at the bottom left corner of your screen (on desktop).
- Click “Contact us” in the pop-up Help screen and complete the steps.
Remember, you can also reply directly to the reviewer by clicking “Write a response” under their review. If you believe the review violates Google’s policies, you can also report it using this form.
Once you’ve contacted Google about the review, Google will then review the flagged content and decide whether or not to take action.
If they determine that the review violates their policy, they will remove it from your listing.
5 Ways To Prevent Negative Reviews
There are a few key things you can do to prevent negative reviews on your Google business listing.
1. Regularly Update Your Business Information
The first is to keep your business information up to date. This includes your hours, website, and contact information. If customers can’t find accurate information, they may leave a negative review out of frustration.
Managing your business information across various search engines, directory sites, and social media platforms can be time-consuming and get overwhelming. To save countless hours updating all your listings manually, you can use a local directory listing software.
With a tool like Maven HQ’s Listings, you can simply update your information in one place – and automatically sync it across hundreds of directory sites, search engines, and social media platforms. It’s so easy, and saves precious time.
2. Ask At The Right Time & Respond Quickly
Another way to prevent negative reviews is to ask customers for a review when they’re at an emotional high. This is typically when they’re happiest, and most likely to give you positive feedback.
You should also respond quickly and professionally to any customer complaints. This shows that you care about your customers and their experience with your business.
3. Follow Up Regularly With Customers
As a business owner, one of your top priorities should be keeping your customers happy. Part of ensuring customer satisfaction is maintaining regular communication with them.
You can use follow-ups as an opportunity to check in with customers after they’ve made a purchase, ensure they’re satisfied with your product or service, and find out if there’s anything you can do to improve their experience.
When done right, follow-ups are the perfect opportunity to increase customer lifetime value and increase loyalty.
There are a few different ways you can go about following up with your customers. You can send them an email, give them a call, or even reach out through social media.
Whichever method you choose, make sure you personalize your message and show that you care about their experience. Thank them for their business and let them know you’re always available if they need anything.
4. Incentivize and Encourage Feedback
As a business owner, you know that feedback from customers is essential in order to understand what areas need improvement. You also know that happy customers are more likely to leave positive reviews, and that these reviews can help attract new business.
It’s important you don’t incentivize only positive reviews, as that is against Google’s content policy and can end up getting positive reviews removed or worse, your business listing removed entirely.
So how can you incentivize and encourage feedback from your customers? Here are a few ideas:
- Offer a discount or coupon for customers who leave a review.
- Make it easy for customers to leave feedback by providing links or forms on your website and social media pages.
- Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, in a professional and courteous manner. This shows that you value customer feedback and are willing to listen to constructive criticism.
- Use customer feedback to make improvements to your products or services.
- Communicate improvements you’ve made based on customer feedback online.
5. Use An Online Review Management Software
An online review management tool can come in handy when you need to collect positive reviews in bulk, on a one-off basis, or even if you need to remove a Google review from your business listing. This type of tool can help you keep track of your reviews and help you quickly remove any that are negative or inappropriate.
When choosing an online review management software, look for one that has a strong track record of generating results (significant increases in 5-star reviews) so you can try it out before committing to it. Also, look for a tool that provides excellent customer support in case you have any questions or problems.
With a simple yet powerful review management software like Maven HQ, you can easily collect positive reviews monitor customer sentiment, and respond to all your reviews from one place. Maven HQ’s Reputation Management also allows you to prevent negative reviews and resolve negative feedback before it’s even posted online.
Using an online review management software is a great way to protect your business listing and keep your reviews positive. With a simple yet powerful review management tool like Maven HQ, you can quickly and easily delete any negative or inappropriate reviews, prevent bad feedback from going public, generate positive feedback fast, and keep track of all your reviews in one place.
If you follow these guidelines, you will not only be able to remove bad Google reviews, but you will also be able to prevent them, resolve them proactively (before they’re public), collect positive reviews, and ultimately become the obvious choice in your local online market.
What you should do now
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