As a business owner, online reviews are a major part of managing your online reputation – especially if those reviews are on Google, the leading search engine in the world. But not all reviews are the same, and some may even be negative or fake. A lot of times, business managers find themselves asking: “What can I do to delete this?”
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as logging into your Google My Business dashboard, heading over to your reviews, and hitting the delete button.
Despite that, the following tips will help you manage fake or negative reviews:
- Respond to your reviews, even if they are fake or negative
- Flag reviews you believe are fake or break any rules to Google
- Posting on the Google My Business forums
- Sending a Tweet to @Googlemybiz
- Reaching out directly to the reviewer
- Post on the Business Redressal Complaint Form
Now let’s get into more detail!
1. Respond to your reviews, even if they are fake or negative
When you’re managing your online reputation, it’s important to take every review seriously, even if you are questioning if a review is fake or not. You want to make sure that you respond to your reviews in a timely manner, and respond as if each review were written by a real person.
If you’re unable to identify a customer, or if you can’t verify that they actually used your product or service, here is an example of a response that shows concern for the reviewer’s situation and your willingness to help:
2. Flag reviews you believe are fake or break community guidelines to Google
If it happens to be that you can’t verify if a customer is real, it’s possible that the review they left could be fake. Unfortunately, this can happen sometimes when there’s tough competition in the market, or if a disgruntled former employee is looking to air out their grievances.
Luckily, Google has ways for you to flag these types of reviews to them for removal. When you’re going through your reviews on your Google My Business dashboard, identify the review that you believe is fake. Click the three dots in the top right corner of the review and select “Flag as inappropriate.” From there you can select from a number of reasons why you feel this review is inappropriate and go into further details and submit it to Google.
3. Posting on the Google My Business forums
A great place to seek out any help or information on the Google My Business platform is by going to the Google My Business Help Community online. You can access this community by heading over to https://support.google.com/business/community.
There’s a great amount of information in this forum. You can get information about getting started on the platform, updating your business information, and how to engage with your customers. Another good thing is that you will have access to the knowledge of other Google Business experts right at your fingertips. Most importantly, you will likely come across other business owners who have dealt with situations like you so that you can see how they dealt with it. A lot of times, you’ll also get answers to your questions directly from someone on the Google My Business team on these forums.
Here’s a peek at what the forum looks like and the engagement this topic receives:
4. Sending a Tweet to @Googlemybiz
Do you consider yourself social media savvy? Another path you can take when managing your Google reviews is to use Twitter to directly reach out to Google My Business.
Reaching out to the Google My Business team can be really helpful and they’ve been transparent at replying and reaching out to people who have inquiries directly.
5. Reaching out directly to the reviewer
A more direct method is to reach out to the person that left your business a review directly through the Google My Business platform. Once you’re signed in, click the ‘Reviews’ tab in the menu, and click the ‘Reply’ link under the specific customer review you want to respond to. Once you are done writing a response, simply click ‘Post’ to submit your reply. Please note that your business must be verified in order to respond to customer reviews.
6. Post on the Business Redressal Complaint Form
Google also recently launched their Business Redressal Complaint Form to give business owners and profile managers a chance to elevate their complaint.
On this form, you can link Google to malicious content that you’d like them to review. This option is a great way for you to try and get a better result when removing a Google review.
Things to Remember
Getting a fake or negative review can make for a bad day. Something that’s important to remember is that, even if you flag a review as inappropriate to Google, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will remove it.
Because of this, it’s even more crucial that you take your reviews seriously and respond to them quickly. Every negative review is an opportunity to improve your business for future customers and show your customers how much you care, and every fake review is also a chance to show potential customers how well you are able to handle criticism and how seriously you take your work.