Fake negative reviews on Google can be a real issue as most who are shopping for a service or goods rely upon the feedback of other consumers when making a decision.
It’s unfortunate, but some business owners use fake reviews as a way to sabotage their competitors. Other times, a customer or former employee may leave several negative reviews due to a bad experience.
What do you do when you receive a fake review from someone who you clearly have never dealt with? There are several options, however, you should understand that there is no fool-proof way of having a review removed. Let’s begin with the easiest method and then move into methods that require a bit more time and effort.
Respond And Flag It
If the fake review violates Googles policies on prohibited and restricted content, the fastest and easiest way to have it removed is to flag it and choose the appropriate reason. In this instance, the fake review violates Google’s policy on spam and fake content.
To flag a review, simply click on the three stacked dots to the right of the review and click on “flag as inappropriate”. Enter your email address and check the box that reads “This post contains advertising or spam” and submit.
Prior to flagging the review, you should respond to it publicly, even though you are aware that it’s fake. Doing so will show potential customers that you take your feedback seriously and this will also give the employee at Google who handles the request some insight into the issue.
Here’s an example of how you may want to respond:
“Hi Mr. Jones,
Thank you for the review and the valuable feedback that you have provided.
While investigating your claim, we were unable to identify your name in our database and none of our employees recall handing an instance as described.
We are very concerned and would like to speak to you about this issue. Please contact us at your earliest convenience at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-555-5555. “
Replying and flagging the review can be effective, especially if the review is clearly fake, irrelevant, and poorly written.
For instance, if you were to receive multiple one-liners such as “Poor service” “Don’t go here” or “Bad experience” and all of these reviews were posted within minutes or hours of each other, chances are they will be removed.
Contact Google Via Social Media
If it has been a few days and you have not received a response from Google, consider contacting them via social media. Google seems to be very responsive on both Twitter and Facebook.
When sending a message, keep it concise, stating only the facts. The team at Google My Business stays busy handling many requests each day. Get straight to the point by stating the issue and why the review should be removed. This will give you the best chance of getting the desired response.
In some cases, an employee will respond stating that Google will only remove reviews that violate their policy. Other times, they will take action and remove the review. Whether or not action is taken often depends on which Google employee reads your message and how its interpreted.
Call, Chat, or Email Google
If flagging the review and contacting Google via social media proves not to be effective, try contacting Google My Business directly.
From your GMB dashboard, click on Support>Customer reviews and photos> Manage customer reviews. Email responses typically take 24 hours while chatting or phone calls are fairly instant, depending on the volume of requests that they are receiving.
Again, when contacting Google directly, be polite and as concise as possible. Be sure to state why you believe the review is spam and include any supporting evidence that you have.
When All Else Fails
Sometimes, you get nowhere with removing fake reviews despite your best efforts.
The most difficult reviews to remove are the ones that are well-written and do not violate any of Google’s policies. These can often be impossible to remove, regardless of how much you try to convince Google to do so.
When this happens, sometimes you just have to let it go and focus your efforts on building more positive reviews to lessen the impact of the fake negative reviews.