Bad Google Reviews: How to Remove (or Deal With) Them

Customers 13 minute read 20th July 2022

We all know that.

Bad Google reviews can be a pain for a business. They can damage your online reputation and make it difficult to attract customers.

Nonetheless, it is impossible only to get positive reviews. At some point, a disgruntled customer will inevitably sit and take the time to negatively review your business regardless of how high quality your average customer experience is.

Let’s be clear here.

Receiving bad reviews is absolutely normal. A business that showcases ONLY positive reviews will always be seen with skepticism.

However, sometimes bad reviews are undeserved, misleading, defamatory, fake, or - even worse - an overt attempt to damage your business

If you’re unfortunate enough to have received exaggerated, false, or misrepresenting reviews, read what is coming next.

This article is going to outline the best ways to remove bad Google reviews. Additionally, you will learn effective methods to deal with negative reviews anytime you cannot get rid of them.

Can you remove bad reviews from Google?

According to BrightLocal, 78% of consumers use the internet to gather information about local businesses more than once a week.

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Now, guess which is the leading mapping app with over 150M of monthly users

Google Maps.

Therefore, managing your Google MyBusiness profile is critical to be found on Google Maps and managing what users read.

If you haven’t yet, you should register your business with Google MyBusiness and take full control of what information is displayed.

Having a Google My Business profile is also the system business owners can use to manage and delete bad reviews.

Unsurprisingly though, you do not have the power to do it in one click.

Google, like most high-tech companies, do not give you full control of your business profile on THEIR platform.

However, as they want to keep their platform clean and reliable, there are scenarios where you can ask to remove a bad review.

It is all about Google Policies.

Let’s find out when you can ask Google to remove a bad review.

What you need to know on Google Reviews Policies

The main goal of Google (as a business) is to provide complete, punctual, and useful information to its customers.

Google, however, set up policies and criteria for its community (a.k.a. Google users) to engage with Google platforms and applications.

Whether it is Google Maps, Images, Searches, Youtube, Google Play-Store, or any other Google’s owned platform, content can not breach Google policies.

These policies apply to all types of content: Video, Photo, Message, and - of course - reviews.

As stated by Google in its policies regarding Google Maps:

“The following policies apply to all formats, including Reviews, Photos, and Videos. Content that does not meet these criteria may be rejected from publication on Google Maps”

Google automatically analyzes what is posted on its platform and eliminates inappropriate content.

However, the process is done through Artificial Intelligence and is not perfect yet. Therefore, content that breaks its policies might be missed.

Additionally, people and software that willingly write bad reviews are getting more sophisticated at dodging Google AI filters.

Therefore, Google welcomes business owners’ initiative to flag reviews that contrast with their policies.

These are the main violations that can bring Google to remove content:

  • 1 - Harassment, Hate speech, Offensive Content, Personal/Private information

  • 2 - Deceptive content, Misrepresentation, Misinformation, Fake Engagement

  • 3 - Obscene, sensational, sexually explicit, violent content

  • 4 - Restricted, Dangerous, Illegal, Terrorist content

  • 5 - Off-topic, Advertising, Gibberish

If you think that a bad review targeting your business falls in one of these categories, you can ask Google to remove it. Here is how to do it.

How to remove bad reviews from Google

Removing a bad review begins with

The process of flagging a review in order of having it reviewed by Google is simple.

Follow these steps if you want a bad review to be removed from Google Local (Maps + Searches)

  • 1 - Sign in to the Google account connected to your business

  • 2 - Find your business on Google Maps

  • 3 - Open the reviews section

  • 4 - Find the review you want to remove

  • 5 - Click the three dots in the top right corner and select “Flag as inappropriate”

  • 6 - Fill out the form and submit it

How long does it take Google to remove a review

The process of removing the flagged review can take a while. Don’t hold your breath on it.

The amount of time required will mostly depend on what kind of violation is involved.

On average, Google will intervene within 2 and 60 business days. However, in most circumstances, it is reasonable to expect Google intervention within 2 to 4 weeks.

Nonetheless, the entire process might require more actions than just clicking here and there on your Google MyBusiness account.

Sometimes you might end up in a loop where Google will ask you to provide further reasons and evidence that support your claims.

If the flagged review involves misrepresentation, misinformation, or fake statements, you might need to prove it somehow.

Furthermore, Google might still decide to reject your claim. This unfortunate scenario implies that it is better to have a plan B for dealing with bad reviews (we will see some strategies later in the article).

Read Also: The 3 Local review sites that are worth being on

How to contact Google Small Business customer support

Sometimes it might be easier to deal with a human being than with an automated response system or AI.

Google provides different methods to reach their customer service. However, manage your expectations.

Google has billions of customers, therefore they ‘pick’ the users who will receive support from one of their employees.

To contact Google Small Business support, go on support.google.com/business.

At the bottom, you can see the “contact us” button. Click it and select a method for being contacted (phone, webchat, email.)

You should be contacted within 24 hours.

If you do not receive any answer, an alternative is to tag @GoogleMyBiz on your Twitter. That is the Google My Business official account.

Someone should contact you from there and you can carry on your claim from there.

Alternative methods to remove a negative review from Google

Unfortunately, it is not rare that Google decides not to delete the bad review you flagged.

Given the subjectivity of most reviews, Google often has no incentives to remove a bad review. And no, a business owner that doesn’t agree with the feedback received is not enough.

However, there is an alternative method to remove a negative bad review from Google.

Such a method is asking the reviewer to edit or delete the bad feedback.

This process is perfectly legal and involves you engaging with the customer who wrote the review.

The primary action to take is to respond politely and empathetically to the review.

Ideally, you want to bring the conversation off the public view. So it might be useful to take the conversation on a private channel (e-mails for example)

If you fix the problem or dialogue with the customer, you can then ask to _update _their feedback.

Is not uncommon to see users scrapping the review after a business provides a sincere response.

Furthermore, whoever reads that review will appreciate the business’s commitment to dialogue with its customer.

What to do when you cannot remove a bad review

Regardless of the platform where the review is published, you should always have a plan B shall you not be able to remove a bad review.

Although removing negative feedback is not always possible (nor necessary), you must answer all the reviews - especially the negative ones.

Surprisingly, most businesses do not respond to negative reviews while 53% of customers expect businesses to answer negative reviews promptly.

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A business that does not answer to negative reviews will be noticed as a business that does not care about its customers.

Additionally, a rebuttal to a bad review helps to frame what really happened. It will provide a neutral vision to internet readers who are making up their minds about your venue.

Thus, responding to reviews is essential.

In addition to responding to bad reviews, you also want to get positive reviews.

In fact, the best way to make a negative review irrelevant is to have a ton of positive reviews.

Implement a process for asking customers to review your business and their experience. In no time, you will have hundreds of reviews that will provide a reliable picture of your business.

Last notes

It is well known that reviews are decisive elements when it comes to making a purchasing choice.

Removing bad reviews is not always possible, however, it is worth trying when the reviews are fake or misrepresenting.

Nonetheless, be ready to treat negative reviews with empathy, diplomacy, and authenticity.

Negative reviews can help you to improve your business. If you are proactive about correcting mistakes, those negative reviews won’t happen again.

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