Note: This article was updated on June 10th, 2022.
A bad review about your business can be detrimental. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as reviews from their friends. If your Google Business Profile has scathing reviews from unhappy customers, there’s a strong likelihood your prospective customers will take their business elsewhere.
The issue is that all negative reviews aren’t legitimate. A review can be posted by a disgruntled employee or a competitor. It’s important that you analyze the review to see if it’s in violation of Google’s policies. If it’s in violation, there’s a chance the review can be removed.
I’m going to walk you through the process of trying to remove a negative review from Google. It’s important to note that Google doesn’t easily remove reviews. After reading this article, you should have more clarity on action items you must take to try and remove the review.
Violation of Google’s Policies
Below is a list of restricted and prohibited content. If a negative review is left about your business that falls into one of these restricted and prohibited buckets, we recommend flagging your review and reaching out to Google (more on this to come). I included a link to each type of violation directly on Google’s site so you can learn more about each one. It’s important to note that Google states the following: “Content that does not meet these criteria may be rejected from publication on Google Maps.” You’ll notice I bolded the word may. Just because you think a review left about your business violates Google’s policy doesn’t mean they’ll agree with you.
- Civil Discourse
- Deceptive Content
- Mature Content
- Regulated, Dangerous, & Illegal
- Information Quality
If you feel a review is inappropriate and should no longer be public on your Google Business Profile, the first course of action is to flag the review. If you’re logged into your Google Business Profile, go to your “Reviews.” After finding the review in question, in the top right corner, you’ll see 3 vertical dots (see below in purple). Click on the dots and then press, “Flag as Inappropriate.”
Note: The review below was not one I would flag. I’m just showcasing our latest review for this example.
Once you’ve flagged the review as inappropriate, you will select the reason why you feel the review was inappropriate. You’ll notice the violation list I mentioned earlier now comes into play. You will will want to select the reason as to why you are reporting this review.
Once you select the reason for flagging the review, you’ll be taken to the page below. To finalize the process you’ll press “Submit.” After pressing submit, you should get a case number, which you’ll want to hang onto. This will make more sense in the next steps below.
It’s important to look at the highlighted section below submit. It states the following: “Reviews that are negative or that you disagree with, but adhere to the content policy, won’t be removed.” If you flag the review and it’s been a week and the review hasn’t been removed, flagging the review may not have worked. Don’t worry though, there’s an alternative option.
Contacting Google Business Profile Support
There have been a lot of instances when flagging the review didn’t result in the review disappearing. We’ve seen a lot of success when reaching out to Google Business Profile Support.
Follow THIS LINK to reach out to Google Business Profile Support. You’ll want to be logged into thew Google account that’s associated with the Google Business Profile.
- Select Your Business You’ll select your business.
- Tell us what we can help with
- Note: Write “Review Issues” as this will prompt you to the next step.
- Select, “Remove Reviews” when it asks you to choose the best description of the issue.
Google will provide you with some helpful resources. One thing they reference is engaging with the customer. If you know who the client or customer was that left the bad review and you can contact them to see if the issue can get resolved, this is the best course of action. You don’t want there to be a customer with negative sentiment about your company. If you reach out and take the high road, it can prompt them to remove the review or change the star rating… Of course, many negative reviews are left anonymously so you don’t always have this luxury. You can proceed onto the next step to try and get in touch with Google for them to remove the review.
You will then click on “Email” to Google which will open up the following questions. I typed out each question in a bullet format and also included the picture for your reference. You will want to answer each question. It’s important if you initially flagged the review that you have the Case ID to reference when contacting Google. When you describe your issue to Google, it’s important to be clear and concise as to why the review violates one of their guidelines, which we referenced earlier.
Questions That Will Be Prompted
- What is your name?
- What’s your relationship to the business?
- Friend of family member acting on behalf of the owner
- I own/work for an agency that represents this business
- I’m a maps user. I don’t work directly for this business
- What’s your email address?
- Your phone number
- Business Name
- Business Address
- What is the public URL or “maps link” for your business page?
- What is your business website?
- Paste the text of the inappropriate review(s) below or provide us with the name of the reviewer(s)
- Have you flagged the reviews in question?
- Flagged reviews get reviewed and actioned on faster. Click here to know more. (If the review is not flagged, it’s highly likely we will ask you to do so and wait for a few days if you contact us.)
- Describe your issue
- Related Case ID
After submitting your case, you should receive an email from Google. It’s important to keep an eye out for this. The email will look something like this. It’s a fairly generic email. The last sentence of the email is very important. It states the following: “If you still need help after trying these resources, reply to this email. We’ll be glad to assist.” If you want to get your review removed, you need to reply to this email as it will get you in contact with someone at Google. Of course, there’s no guarantee the review will be removed but we’ve often seen the decision made on the review removal once you are communicating with someone at Google. In your email response, you will want to provide similar supporting information as to what you included from Step 3 above.
When you see a bad review about your company, it can be disheartening. Hopefully the steps above provide you with more clarity on how to try and get rid of a review that you feel is unjustified. There’s no way of guaranteeing the review will be removed but the above steps are your best course of action. I recommend being proactive and always reaching out to customers that have had a good positive experience. This will make the bad reviews less painful as you’ll have many more good than bad.
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