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Written by
Shaina Tennant
13 Jan 2021
6 minutes

How to delete (fake and malicious) Google reviews

Google reviews can make or break your business. If you have been on the receiving end of a fake Google review, here's how to delete it
How to delete Google reviews

Google reviews can encourage or discourage customers. But sometimes there could be fake, mischievous or outright libellous reviews targeting your business. If you’ve been on the receiving end of such malicious reviews and are wondering how to delete Google reviews, read on.

Google reviews are hugely important for local businesses. Unfortunately, there are people online who do leave negative or even fake Google reviews. This is a top reason why small and independent businesses should keep an eye on how they perform in Google reviews.

Are all negative Google reviews bad for business?

Should you delete all negative Google reviews? The short answer is that, no, you shouldn’t go after all critical reviews. If they’re genuine reviews in which a customer has some authentic comments or feedback, it makes sense to let them remain and to fix that customer's issue. Customers won’t believe a business that has only four or five-star ratings and glowing reviews. With this in mind, there are only a limited set of circumstances where a business should try to get a negative review deleted.

Having both good and bad reviews on Google could actually be more beneficial to your business. Yes, really. A small number of negative reviews mixed in with many more positive ones is a good thing – for one, it shows potential customers that you haven't just asked your friends to leave gushing comments! Every business is likely to get a few negative comments, no matter how brilliant that business is – it just makes the reviews, and therefore you business, look authentic. You won't be able to please everyone, so just work hard to ensure that you have plenty of positive Google reviews to outweigh the few negative ones.

Those reviews also give you an opportunity to reach out and solve the problem. If it’s a genuine grievance, you can apologise and resolve the issue.

Google reviews are an exceptionally powerful platform for consumers to voice their opinions. Like everywhere else in life, along with the vast majority of genuine users, there’ll be some fake reviewers out to criticise your business.

Can I delete Google review someone left about my business?

Technically, yes. If a user leaves comments that are false or libellous, you will want to remove that Google review. There are steps you can take if you feel that a review has been faked.

In the first instance, you can dispute a Google review. However, it is not an easy process and it can be frustrating for business owners.

How to delete Google reviews that are fake or negative

A business doesn’t have the power to remove a review on its own; understandably, as that would open Pandora’s box where businesses remove all critical or low-rating reviews. Instead, you can appeal to Google to remove a review that’s blatantly false, or malicious.

Google will remove reviews that are spam, fake, personal or political rants, illegal, offensive, racist, profane, intimidating, or dishonest. You will have to bring the fake and mischievous review to Google’s attention for them to take action.

But first, it would make sense to respond to the review and ensure that you’ve done your bit.

Responding to negative reviews

Remember to always demonstrate to others on Google reviews that your business has acted professionally. Keep these best practices in mind while responding:

  1. Begin by apologising, whether they deserve it or not
  2. No matter how personal the attack is, you shouldn’t take it personally
  3. State the facts without being defensive
  4. Make sure that the response is short
  5. Offer to chat via email or SMS

If they respond to your request and give you an opportunity to clarify things, they’ll be tempted to remove the review. This may be effective for malicious reviews from genuine customers.

However, when it comes out outright fake reviews, you will most likely need to reach out to Google directly. Make sure you know how to spot a fake review before opening up this process.

Flagging the fake Google review

If they haven’t taken down the false and libellous review, you can flag it for Google to respond to the situation. Follow this procedure for flagging the fake review.

  1. Open your Google My Business account
  2. If your business has several locations, choose the one the reviewer is talking about
  3. Go to the menu and choose “Reviews
  4. Find the negative review
  5. Go to the three dots and choose “Flag as inappropriate

Google won’t respond immediately. You may have to wait for a few days for them to analyse the situation and decide whether to remove the review or not. For most fake reviews, these two strategies should be sufficient.

In case the issue isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, you’ll have to reach out to Google support.

Review violations that Google may remove

There are 10 types of reviews that are prohibited and restricted by Google’s review policy, and which may force Google to remove a review (either automatically or when flagged). These are:

  1. Spam and fake content that is posted to manipulate ratings. This includes posting multiple times, including from different accounts.
  2. Off-topic posts that are general in nature, such as political commentary or personal rants.
  3. Promoting actions be taken or items purchased that fail to comply with local legal regulations. Such restricted content includes promoting alcohol, gambling, guns, pharmaceuticals, adult services, and more.
  4. Illegal or depict illegal activity, such as copyrighted content, endangered animal products, graphic violence, human trafficking, etc.
  5. Terrorist in nature.
  6. Sexually explicit or in any way sexually exploits children.
  7. Offensive, obscene, or profane.
  8. Dangerous, considered harassment or intimidating, or that incite hatred.
  9. Impersonating others or having false representation.
  10. Conflict of interest. This includes posting reviews of your own business (or having a current or former employee do it for you) and trying to manipulate a competitor’s ratings.

Chalkboard: Helping you to improve your business reputation with Google reviews

The occasional one-star review might happen. But as a local business owner, your energy is better spent on ensuring customers are happy and willing to leave those five-star reviews. With the help of Chalkboard, you can make that happen. The second-line app for work includes great customer service tools to allow your business to grow.

With a simple text, you can ask customers for their reviews and then manage and respond to every review via the app.

In short

Looking to delete a Google review? You can respond to the reviewer and suggest removing it if you are able to take the conversation private. If that doesn’t work, you can flag the review for Google, or get in touch with their support for small businesses. You could also expedite the process via Twitter. One of these options should help you remove malicious or fake reviews from Google.

However, the best way to handle a negative review is to get more positive reviews overall. With Chalkboard, you can ask your customers for reviews easily via a simple text message. Pretty soon, you will see your average star rating improve and your business reputation grow.

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