Fake Google Reviews – 5 Steps To Remove Them
We are always asked is how to remove a bad or fake Google reviews. Unfortunately, the answer is not simple nor will it provide immediate results. However, with a little persistence and direction, it’s worth investing your time to rectify the situation.
In this article, we address the following 4 questions. This will get you on your way to restoring your online reputation and rectify those negative Google reviews.
- What is online reputation?
- Why is online reputation important?
- What steps can I take to remove a bad Google review?
- What steps should I take in removing a fake Google review?
What is online reputation?
Online reputation is the way other people see you, your business and your products online. Much like traditional reputation management, it’s all about perception but with a difference. The client is in control not the brand.
It is now necessary to build your digital public image, one online review at a time and monitor on a regular basis. Therefore, anyone searching for your brand, finds 5-star reviews and positive customer experiences that paint your company in the best possible light.
Why is online reputation important?
Online reputation is important for the same reason as traditional reputation, but with added impetuous. It used to be easy for brands to protect themselves, controlling the message about who they were and what they stand for, but that world has changed. We are no longer in control of the conversation, our customer do.
They can add unfiltered comments online, based on their views, perceptions and experiences or not as the case may be. They are also able to tell the world through online reviews, social media and blogs – rather than just 10 friends of old. The digital landscape is interconnected and complex, so one bad comment can become viral and shared across hundreds of platform as highlighted below.
Figure 1 – complex digital landscape that needs to be monitored.
What are the impacts of poor online reputation?
Poor online reputation has a significant impact financially, personally and emotionally in business for the following reasons…..
- 90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 33% looking every day
- 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 52% of 18-54-year-olds saying they ‘always’ read reviews
- The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business
- Only 53% of people would consider using a business with less than 4 stars
- The average consumer spends 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before making a decision
- Among consumers that read reviews, 97% read businesses’ responses to reviews
- The internet doesn’t forget
What Steps can I Take to Remove a Bad Google Review?
Step 1 – Be proactive and responsive
- Respond to all reviews within 24 hours with a personal message
- be nice and don’t get personal
- keep it short and sweet
- thank your reviewers
- be a friend, not a salesperson
Step 2 – Make contact with the clients who’s left the review
- Make contact with the clients who’s left the bad review. Ask the reasons why and see if you can come to a resolution. Once resolved ask the client if they would be willing update the review
- If the client is unwilling to do this, then all is not lost as some poor Google Reviews make the business look authentic. Nobody can please everybody all of the time.
What are the Steps in Removing a Fake Google Review?
Step 1 – Establish if the review is fake.
The below items are good indicators of fake reviews.
- You do not recognise the reviewers name
- You have no records of the individual on your CRM
- The reviewer has only left 1 Google review. Trolls generally make fake reviews from 1-time accounts
- The Google review does not leave a comment just a 1 or 2 stars rating
- Are there a number of single Google reviews in a very short space of time (1 month)
NB – It could also be a classic case of mistaken identity. Verify which business the review was left for – does it mentions names of individuals, products or services that you deliver.
Step 2 – Understand if the review violates Google policy
Reading Google’s Probative and Restrictive Content. Most fake reviews fall in to the category of Off Topic.
Step 3 – Flag the Google Review as inappropriate
- log in to Google My Business – https://business.google.com/
- click Reviews
- click the vertical 3 dots at the top right of the review (ellipsis)
- flag as inappropriate
This will start the process to delete the Google review. Allow up to 3 few days for the request to be processed
Step 4 – Make direct contact with Google
Should Google response not be the outcome you are looking for, make direct contact with the Google My Business team. There are a number of ways to do this…….however make sure you provide them with the correct information to resolve the problem. This could include…….
- Full business name
- Current full business address
- Current telephone number
- Google Maps URL (GMB Dashboard URL if suspended and not visible on Maps)
- Website (if applicable)
- Description of your problem (stick to facts that can be proven)
- Desired Resolution
Key contacts for Google are
- Google My Business forms
- Twitter – @googlemybiz
- Phone – 0800 169 0409 Option 2
Step 5 – Escalate to Google’s support Team
If all else fails there is one last ‘nuclear’ option. Escalate the issue as a legal matter. Even if Google support does not think it violates their policies, you can still remove a review that you think violates the law.
A Google review may violate the law if it commits libel or slander, or if it infringes on copyright, for example. Please use this form to raise a legal matter – Google Review Legal Form. There is more information on how to raise a Google legal removal request
via this page.
FINALLY, should all else fail, you should have a business wide policy of continually requesting all satisfied clients for a Google review. All you need to do is send them your Google Review link from My Google Business account, which will eventually bury bad news.
After all, 67% of satisfied clients leave a review when they have received good service.
Online reputation plays a significant role in business of all sizes but specifically SME. Just like traditional reputation, it needs to be monitored, managed and resolved in real time or it will become detrimental to long-term business. Bad reviews are not the end of the world and fake reviews should not be tolerated. However, with the above steps, both can be dealt with in an expedited manor.
If you require any further information surrounding the above or any of our other services, feel free to contact us on 020 7856 0303 or email@example.com .