Unfortunately it can be difficult to get fake reviews removed from your business listing. Unless Google can identify a clear pattern of spamming, they will typically side with the writer of the review and leave it up. Luckily, if your business does come under fire from fake reviews, there are several steps you can take to address it.
Report a policy violation
The easiest thing you can do to combat a fake review is to flag it. To do this, click the small, gray flag next to the review that says “Flag as inappropriate” when you hover your mouse over it. This will bring up a form for reporting a policy violation, as well as provide a list of Google’s policies for posting comments.
The form asks for your email address as well as the violation type the review falls under. Once submitted, this will prompt Google to review the comment, and hopefully remove it if the violation is apparent. You can submit the form multiple times using different email addresses, however this may not provide any further value than one report, as Google will likely recognize that all the submissions came from the same IP address.
Reply to the review
Since it may take some time for Google to review and remove the fake posting, or it may not get removed at all, it’s important as the business owner to respond to the review. This shows your customers you are aware of the negative feedback and actively working to resolve the issue. Your response should not be defensive, but rather tactfully address the falsity of the review. Try something like this:
“Dear *Reviewer Name*,
We appreciate your feedback. Unfortunately, we have no record of having any clients by this name. Please give us a call at *contact number* so that we can discuss any issues. Thank you.”
Build up your positive reviews
If you only have a small amount of reviews on your business page, a negative review, whether fake or legitimate, can have a devastating effect on your overall business rating. Additionally, people who have had a bad experience are more likely to leave a review. By ensuring you have several positive reviews, any negative reviews that get posted will carry less weight, reducing the urgency to get fake ones removed.
To build your number of reviews, try reaching out to your loyal, happy customers and ask them to leave feedback on your listing. If you send email correspondence to your clients, such as a weekly newsletter or digital receipt, include a link for them to leave a review.
Contact Google Small Business Support
If you’ve flagged the fake review but haven’t seen any change after a few days, you may try getting in contact with Google Small Business Support. Many people have found the most effective way to do this is via their Twitter account, @GoogleMyBiz. Send them a direct message including the Google Maps URL for your business and any details you have regarding the review and/or user that left it.
While dealing with fake reviews can be frustrating for business owners, Google has a duty as a review site to show both the positive and negative comments from customers. If it were easy to remove reviews, businesses would start removing all bad reviews they receive, even if they are valid, creating false positive ratings.
If you need help with your Google Business account, or have any questions, fill out our Get Started form or give us a call at 501-537-2246.