Google reviews are a great way to get feedback on your business. Google will show these (hopefully positive!) reviews on the Google search results page for your business, helping build trust and authority. However, sometimes people leave negative reviews that you might not want to be shown in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). We’ll explore what you can do to try and remove these reviews and whether you should respond to them.
What’s Google’s stance on negative reviews?
Occasionally you may find yourself with a bad Google review from a non-customer, a real customer with a phony or irrelevant complaint, a sleazy competitor, or another questionable source. So what can you do about this bad review?
Google doesn’t make it easy to remove reviews.
While Google has a Google My Business (GMB) team that has the final say on whether or not they’ll delete the Google review, generally Google will only delete reviews that seem like spam or go against their guidelines. What this means for you is that the chances are high that Google doesn’t consider the negative review unfair enough to remove it manually after you report it.
What should you do to remove a negative Google review?
The first step in trying to have a review removed is to report it to Google through their GMB support team. Once you’ve done that it’s time to reply directly to your negative reviewer in a circumspect way (if you think you’re better off with a response up for all to see).
It’s a good idea to flag reviews that you have already replied to. There is a risk that the reviewer writes another angier review on Google Maps or somewhere else. However, we’d deem this an acceptable risk.
Flagging a Google review is not the same as deleting a Google review. Google will be able to see which reviews are flagged and which ones aren’t, but they won’t show the flagged reviews to Google users who are searching for your business.
You can also reply to negative reviews even if you’ve already flagged them. It’s important to note the review won’t stay up just because you’ve responded to it. Would it be more likely to stay because you have responded? We can’t say for sure. We only know that Google can still remove a review that’s been replied to.
Google Reviews are a great way to get feedback from customers and Google has made it easy for business owners to reply to engage with them. While Google will only remove reviews that seem like spam or go against their guidelines, follow our tips and you may find yourself in luck with the negative review removed.
Do you need help getting reviews and optimising Google My Business? Get in touch with our team today!