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How to remove fake reviews from your Google business profile


Published on August 20, 2023

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Local businesses greatly value Google reviews, which play a crucial role. Regrettably, there are individuals on the internet who post adverse or fabricated Google reviews. This underscores why small, independent businesses should closely monitor their performance in Google reviews. When fake reviews surface on your Google My Business listing, how can you eliminate them? Is there a method beyond just flagging for reporting such reviews? 

The positive answer is that yes, you can. The unfortunate news is that there's no magic solution. Google takes action against reviews that breach its guidelines, especially those that are fake. In this article, we will explore techniques to identify fake Google reviews. Subsequently, we will outline the procedures to report these reviews to Google and have them taken down from your listing.

Why are Google reviews important?

Recognizing the importance of Google reviews is crucial. It's not just about managing negative feedback; it's an ongoing journey. Each review, whether it's a thumbs up or thumbs down, warrants your consideration. Even star ratings deserve a tip of the hat. Sometimes, even a brief inquiry can unlock deeper insights about the experience shared. And let's not forget that all reviews, particularly those delving into what you offer, play a dual role – boosting local SEO rankings and helping potential customers grasp your services better.

Now, let's delve into some intriguing figures from the 2023 Local Consumer Review Survey:

  • A whopping 98% of people read reviews before even contemplating local services.

  • Back in 2022, a robust 87% of consumers turned to Google as their go-to for assessing local businesses.

However, there's a twist: the number of reviewers is small, making negative feedback more prominent. This highlights the importance of responding to all reviews. It encourages more feedback, shows customers you value their opinions, and adds context to occasional negative feedback, regardless of the situation.

The importance of reporting fake Google reviews

The significance of reporting fake Google reviews cannot be overstated. These fabricated reviews not only undermine the authenticity of your business but also mislead potential customers. According to recent surveys, 94% of consumers have admitted to avoiding a business due to negative Google reviews, highlighting the impact of such misinformation. Taking action against fake reviews is a proactive step toward upholding your business's integrity, reinforcing trust with your audience, and ensuring that genuine feedback shapes your online reputation.

What to do when you come across a bad review

Google advises business owners to flag reviews strictly based on violations of their review policy rather than personal disagreements or dislikes about the content.

When faced with negative Google reviews, there are several aspects to keep in mind for effective management:

Context Matters: Analyze the content and circumstances of the review. Understanding the context helps determine if it's a genuine concern or an isolated incident.

Stay Professional: Respond professionally and empathetically. Acknowledge the issue and show your commitment to resolving it. This demonstrates your dedication to customer satisfaction.

Feedback for Improvement: Treat bad reviews as opportunities for growth. Constructive criticism can highlight areas where your business can enhance its services and offerings.

What types of reviews can be removed from Google?

Google will remove reviews that fall under these categories as they are deemed inappropriate:

  • Fake or spammy reviews

  • Reviews featuring restricted content

  • Reviews including illegal or explicit material

  • Reviews associated with terrorism

  • Off-topic reviews

  • Reviews with harmful content

  • Reviews containing disrespectful language

  • Reviews influenced by conflicts of interest

  • Prohibited content in reviews

Now that you understand what fake reviews are and what factors to consider, let us move on to the steps to remove fake reviews from Google. 

How to remove fake reviews from Google

Encountering negative Google reviews present an opportunity for careful consideration:

  1. Detecting Fake Reviews

When suspicions arise about a review's authenticity, Google's formal review process becomes necessary, as deleting reviews directly isn't an option. Although this process can be time-consuming, Google evaluates the validity of the concern before deciding whether to remove the review. Be aware that the outcome isn't guaranteed, and you might need to communicate with the reviewer to resolve matters.

  1. Access Your Google My Business Account

To initiate Google's removal process, begin by logging into your Google My Business account. This grants access to your company's reviews.

  1. Navigate to the Reviews Tab

After logging in, locate and click on the "Reviews" option in the left-hand menu. This will lead you to a comprehensive list of your business's reviews.

  1. Flag the Challenging Review

Identify the review in question and click on the three dots on its right side. This action will unveil a drop-down menu, offering the "Flag as inappropriate" choice.

  1. Complete the Follow-Up Survey

 Once flagged, Google seeks further details through a follow-up survey. This step helps you specify the reason for your concern. After choosing the most relevant option, click "Submit."

  1. Positive Reviews as Counterbalance

Counterbalance negative feedback with new positive reviews. Timing is crucial; seek reviews immediately following positive customer experiences. While avoiding review Gatekeeping and soliciting feedback at the right moment can enhance your online reputation across various platforms.

Ultimately, handling negative Google reviews with professionalism and leveraging better online reviews to grow your business can shape your digital marketing strategy for the better.

Note: Learn when is the right time to ask for customer reviews

How to flag a fake Google review: steps for reporting

Flagging a fake review on Google involves a few steps. Here's a guide to help you through the process:

  1. Visit Google's review workflow page:

Go to Google's official review workflow page. If you're not signed in, click the "Sign in" button.

  1. Select your business:

After signing in, you'll see your business listed along with applicable locations. Choose the location for the review you want to report.

  1. Check previous reports:

You have the option to review the status of previously reported reviews. Google might already be taking action on some. Click on "Check the status of a review I reported previously.

  1. Initiate a new report:

If the review you want to report is not on the list, click Report a new review for removal.

  1. Identify and report the review:

A list of your reviews will appear. Locate the review you want to report and click the "Report" button next to it.

  1. Choose the reason:

A new window will open, asking you to select the reason for reporting the review. Choose the most appropriate option.

  1. Confirm and submit:

Confirm your reason selection and click "Submit.

  1. Confirmation and completion:

You will receive a confirmation message on the page and a confirmation email. Return to the workflow tab and click "Continue" for final confirmation.Remember, reporting a fake review takes time for Google to review and respond. While waiting, maintain professionalism and focus on your business's reputation. By following these steps, you can take effective action against fake Google reviews and protect your business's online credibility.

How can you reach Google Support for Small Businesses?

To get in touch with Google Small Business Support, you have a couple of options. You can connect online or reach out via Twitter at @GoogleSmallBiz. Additionally, if you have concerns specifically about Google reviews, there's a dedicated avenue for that through the Google Business Profile contact form and Twitter handle @GoogleMyBiz.

Duration for bad review removal

When it comes to the removal of negative Google reviews, it's important to note that Google's content policies stipulate a processing time of several days for review removal requests to be evaluated.

Unlocking positive reviews and more with cloodot

Cloodot is committed to fostering local business growth through enhanced reviews and exceptional customer experiences. Our team of review management experts can guide you in accumulating more reviews for your company, streamlining communication with both your team and customers, improving your website, and more. With an all-in-one inbox, we can help you gather all your reviews from multi-channels under a single dashboard and give you a detailed analysis report about your reviews and reputation management.

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