Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Understanding The Difference Between A Bad Review And A Fake Google Review
- How To Determine If Bad Google Review Is A Fake Review
- Respond To Every Bad Google Review
- Flag The Review
- Have Multiple People Flag Your Bad Reviews From Google
- Report A Fake Google Review To The Google Small Business Support Team
- Making Your Case To Google Support
- Watch And Monitor For Fake Reviews On A Regular Basis
- Waterdown The Bad Reviews With Good Reviews
- Build Review Opportunities Into Your Website
- Don't Let Trolls And Spammers Get You Down With A Fake Google Review
It’s impossible to please everyone. At one point, your business will probably have to deal with a bad customer review. Usually, these situations can be resolved by giving the angry customer some extra attention or directly dealing with their complaint. But what should you do when competitors and former employees start making fake accounts and trolling you online with fake Google reviews? Here’s how to spot a fake Google review as well as how to remove bad reviews from Google My Business.
Understanding The Difference Between A Bad Review And A Fake Google Review
Before you start the process of trying to remove bad reviews from Google My Business accounts, you need to realize that a bad review is not always a fake review. Make sure that you are not reporting a legitimate bad review. Google doesn’t like that, and doing so could hurt you down the road when you need Google’s help.
Here are some legitimate examples of fake Google reviews:
- Bad Review For A Different Business: Sadly, it’s not uncommon for someone to leave a review for another company on your Google My Business account. A lot of businesses have similar names. Or maybe you own a franchise location, and a customer is leaving a bad review for a different location on your account. This is an obvious error, and Google is generally responsive in getting these types of reviews removed.
- Competitors & Former Employees: If you see a bad review by a name or an account that you recognize, then there’s probably some bad blood involved. If you can prove that you are getting trolled, then Google might help you remove the review.
- Spam: Companies that sell fake Google reviews will often have Spam Bots that will leave nonsense reviews for businesses while they try to create a profile history.
How To Determine If Bad Google Review Is A Fake Review
Spotting fake reviews can be a little difficult, but not impossible. Here are some tips:
- Familiar Names: When an angry former employee first starts to troll your business, they might use their real name for their first bad Google review. Pay attention to the date and time this review was posted.
- Bad Google Reviews All Posted Around The Same Time: Trolls usually don’t have much patience. If they are on a mission to tarnish the reputation of your business, then they will probably post their bad reviews all at once. A string of bad reviews all posted on the same day is a major red flag. Take screenshots showing the dates and times of the bad reviews to show your Google Support representative.
- Accounts With No History: Be very skeptical of accounts that don’t have profile pictures or that have posted only one or two reviews. Your Internet troll might have created fake Gmail accounts just to write bad reviews about your business.
- Related And Associated Names: Once you can identify the real name of a troll, you can then use Facebook, LinkedIn, and FastPeopleSearch to identify their friends (Facebook), coworkers (LinkedIn), and family members (FastPeopleSearch). Proving the connections between accounts to your Google Support representative will be very helpful in proving your case.
How To Remove Bad Reviews From Google My Business
Once you’ve identified some fake or bad reviews that should be removed, then you should start the process of reporting and removing them. here’s how to remove bad reviews from Google.
Respond To Every Bad Google Review
As a business owner, you can respond to every bad Google review. And you should. This is an excellent opportunity to turn negative customer experiences into positive ones. Most of the time, people just want free stuff. Even if you know that your bad Google review came from a fake account, competitor, or former employee, you should still respond professionally.
If you are wondering how to respond, Google has shared some great tips on how to handle negative reviews. In general, you should try to be relaxed when you write back to the user. Thank them for their constructive feedback, don’t be defensive, don’t get personal, and keep your response short and sweet. A nasty public reply will just make you look bad online. Your answer is a reflection of your business. Even unfair criticism is not worth an extended public war of words with a reviewer.
Flag The Review
If the bad Google review is fake or just completely inappropriate or outrageous, then flag it for review.
Here’s how to flag a fake or bad Google review:
- Search for your business in Google Maps. There will be a number next to your star rating. Click on that number to see your reviews.
- Hover over a review, and you should see a flag icon appear.
- Click on the flag icon and select the type of violation type that you would like to report.
- If you aren’t already signed in to a Google account, then you will be asked to provide an email address.
After you flag a review, don’t expect to hear back from Google unless they require additional info from you.
Have Multiple People Flag Your Bad Reviews From Google
The more people that flag the fake Google reviews, the better. There’s strength in numbers, and Google will take more notice if more people flag the review. Consider asking your staff to join you and help flag these fake reviews.
Report A Fake Google Review To The Google Small Business Support Team
After a few days, if you still see the fake Google review online, then you should report it to the Google Small Business Support team.
- Log in to your Google My Business account.
- Go to Reviews
- Select Support from the Home menu
- Choose a contact method: phone or email
- Fill out the form and provide screenshots of the fake reviews
Google has ways to determine if fake accounts or multiple accounts that are connected with a single person are being used to post your fake reviews. For example, if various Gmail accounts are logging in from the same IP address and leaving bad reviews for your business, then it’s evident that they are all coming from one person.
You should hear back in 1-3 days from the Google My Business Support team. If you don’t, you can also try contacting them via Twitter at @GoogleMyBiz.
Making Your Case To Google Support
Once you get in touch with someone from Google, you will then have an opportunity to make your case. Here are some questions that you should be prepared to answer:
- Why is the bad Google review fake?
- What evidence do you have to prove that it’s fake?
- Why should Google remove it?
- How does this bad Google review violate Google’s policies?
If the Google Support representative agrees with your case, then they will escalate your situation to a support specialist that has the authority to review and hopefully remove the fake review(s).
Watch And Monitor For Fake Reviews On A Regular Basis
You should always be the first to know when someone mentions your business online. The last thing that you want is for a fake Google review to unfairly influence your customers.
There are a variety of online services that will automatically notify you of brand mentions online.
Waterdown The Bad Reviews With Good Reviews
Don’t try to fight a bad fake Google review with good counterfeit reviews. Doing that could get your Google My Business account suspended. Instead, encourage customers that have had positive experiences to leave Google reviews for you. After a while, your bad Google reviews will start to get watered down and be hardly noticeable.
A straightforward idea is to create a printout that explains how to leave a Google review. When a customer compliments you, just hand then the instructions and ask them if they’d mind sharing that compliment as a review.
Also, these efforts should not be a one-time effort on your part. By proactively encouraging users to give you positive reviews every day, you can make bad reviews much harder to impact your ratings.
Build Review Opportunities Into Your Website
There are dozens of Google Reviews WordPress plug-ins that allow you to easily add opportunities for customers to leave good reviews about your business. Talk to your web team about adding some of these options to your website.
Don’t Let Trolls And Spammers Get You Down With A Fake Google Review
Knowing how to remove bad reviews from Google is an essential skill that all business owners should have. Your business will eventually get a bad Google review. Don’t let it get you down. Keep your head up and play both a good offensive and defensive game to get past the experience.
- Brand Alerts: Sign up for alerts that let you know when someone mentions your business or posts a review online. If someone posts a bad review, then you want to see it ASAP and take action.
- Google Reviews Plug-Ins: Use a Google review WordPress plug-in to integrate review opportunities into your website.
- Ask For Reviews: When a customer has a positive experience, don’t be shy about asking them to share it online.
- Respond To All Reviews: Don’t let a bad or fake review lay silent. Respond professionally to all reviews (even fake ones) with an offer to resolve the situation.
- Research & Document Trolls: The more you do to document your fake reviews, the more likely Google will be to remove them.
- Report Fake Reviews: Flag and report fake reviews as soon as you see them.
Do you have any more tips on how to remove bad reviews from Google? Your suggestions will help other businesses who are dealing with their own fake Google reviews. Please let us know in the comments. Thanks!