Negative Google Reviews – What Can Be Done?

by | Sep 26, 2021 | Technology

Google Reviews – they can make or break your business. Negative Google Reviews are an unfortunate thing that happens to most businesses and it seems to be even more damaging for small businesses. So what can be done?

First | Do you really need to delete them?

First, decide whether or not you really need to delete a bad Google review. Ultimately, having both good and bad reviews on Google isn’t the end of the world. In fact, having a couple of negative reviews mixed with mostly positive ones is actually a good thing… It shows that you are a real business and that you didn’t just beg your friends and family to say nice things about you to get your rating up.

Even the top-rated business in your area will have a small percentage of negative reviews. As you already know, you can’t please everyone… and other people know that as well. Does it not really warrant deleting? Skip down…

Second | Can you delete a bad review?

The short answer is “yes”, but also “it depends”.

In the case of a truly nasty, or a flat out fake review, it’s probably worth it to see what you can do to get it deleted.

There is a way to dispute a Google review, however it is not an easy process and it can be frustrating. There are 10 types of review violations that Google may remove.

  1. Spam and fake content that is posted to manipulate ratings. This includes posting multiple times, including from different accounts.
  2. Off-topic posts that are general in nature, such as political commentary or personal rants.
  3. Promoting actions be taken or items purchased that fail to comply with local legal regulations. Such restricted content includes promoting alcohol, gambling, guns, pharmaceuticals, adult services, and more. 
  4. Illegal or depict illegal activity, such as copyrighted content, endangered animal products, graphic violence, human trafficking, etc.
  5. Terrorist in nature.
  6. Sexually explicit or in any way sexually exploits children.
  7. Offensive, obscene, or profane.
  8. Dangerous, considered harassment or intimidating, or that incite hatred.
  9. Impersonating others or having false representation.
  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, does the review fall into one of those categories? If so, you may be in luck. Unfortunately there is not a big red delete button. Here’s what you can do:

  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 or not they will delete the review. If it is really bad, and if it is possible, you can ask other people to flag the review also, by viewing the review on your Google Maps listing. This may bring more attention from Google to the offensive review.

Third | What to do next

If you choose not to flag a review as inappropriate or if Google does not remove the review, here are some tactics that have been successful.

  1. Reach Out | Do you know the person who left the review? Usually a friendly phone call, asking what you can do to make the situation right, will cause them to question their decision. They may even take down the review on their own without you even asking.
  2. Respond on Google | Respond kindly. Do not get defensive. Do not make it personal. Apologize if necessary, and offer to make it right. Keep the response brief. Ask them to contact you directly to discuss.
  3. “Burry the Review” | Request and promote more positive customer reviews, which has the effect of pushing the negative reviews down to to the bottom, and will help with your Google Review average.

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