How to Remove Bad Reviews from Google My Business: A Step-by-Step Guide Featured Image

How to Remove Bad Reviews from Google My Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

A scathing one-star review on your Google Business Profile can be incredibly stressful, especially when you know it’s fake or unfairly misrepresents your business. You’ve worked hard to build a strong reputation, and now a single review could drive away customers and tank your search rankings.

But you’re not powerless. As an attorney who has helped countless businesses get illegitimate reviews removed from Google, I’m here to walk you through the exact steps to determine if a bad review violates Google’s policies, submit a removal request, and get it deleted for good.

To remove bad reviews from your Google Business Profile:

  1. Determine if the review violates Google’s prohibited content policies
  2. Gather evidence of the violation, like screenshots and documentation
  3. Flag the review in your Business Profile’s Reviews Management Tool
  4. Submit a removal request detailing how the review violates policies
  5. Escalate to Google Support if the review isn’t removed after a few days

If the review is fake, inappropriate, off-topic, or contains restricted content, Google will remove it. The process typically takes 1-2 weeks.

What Types of Google Reviews Can Be Removed?

Not every negative review can be removed from your Google Business Profile. Google values users’ freedom of speech and aims to be an unbiased platform for genuine customer feedback. However, certain types of reviews do violate Google’s content policies and terms of service, making them eligible for removal:

  • Fake reviews from users who never interacted with your business
  • Reviews with offensive, threatening, harassing, or hateful content
  • Off-topic reviews unrelated to your business or customer experience
  • Spam or promotional content from other businesses or reviewers

If a review doesn’t fit into one of these violation categories, your removal request likely won’t be approved by Google. But don’t lose hope yet. Even if you can’t get a negative review deleted, there are still tactics you can use to mitigate the damage and protect your online reputation. More on that later.

How to Identify Fake Google Reviews

Spotting the telltale signs of a fake Google review is the first step to getting it removed. While you may suspect a review is fraudulent, you’ll need evidence to prove it. Here are some red flags to watch for:

Check the reviewer’s name and profile for suspicious signs.

  • Do they have a generic username or no profile picture?
  • Is this the only review on their account?
  • Was their account created recently or just to leave this review?

Look for patterns in the language, timing, and rating of bad reviews.

  • Are multiple negative reviews worded similarly or posted at odd hours?
  • Did you suddenly get several 1-star reviews after previously having all 5 stars?
  • Do the reviews make vague criticisms without details unique to your business?

Note if the review lacks detail specific to your business.

  • Does the review mention products/services you don’t actually offer?
  • Is the review missing concrete details that would come from a genuine customer interaction?

Compare the reviewer’s feedback to your customer records.

  • Do you have a record of the transaction or experience described?
  • Has the reviewer ever contacted your support team to discuss this issue?

Keep detailed notes on what makes you suspect a review is fake. The more specific evidence you can provide, the stronger your case for removal.

Step-by-Step Guide to Reporting Bad Reviews on Google

Once you’ve identified that a Google review violates the platform’s policies and gathered evidence to support your claim, it’s time to submit a removal request through your Google Business Profile account. Here’s how:

Step 1: Access your Business Profile’s Reviews Management Tool.

  • Sign in to your Google Business Profile account at business.google.com
  • If you have multiple business locations, select the specific location you want to manage reviews for
  • Click “Reviews” from the menu on the left side of your screen

Step 2: Find and select the review you want to report.

  • Reviews are sorted in chronological order by default, with the newest reviews first
  • If needed, use the search bar to find a specific review by keyword or date range
  • Click on the three vertical dots icon in the top-right corner of the review, then click “Flag as inappropriate”

Step 3: Choose the reason the review violates Google’s policies.

  • In the pop-up window, select the option that best describes how the review violates Google’s content policies
  • Options include “This review contains hateful, violent, or inappropriate content”,”This review is fake or falsely attributed to my business”, and “This review contains advertising or spam”
  • Check the box confirming you understand the guidelines for flagging reviews

Step 4: Submit your report and check the status in a few days.

  • Click the “Submit” button to send your report to Google for review
  • In your Business Profile’s “Reviews” tab, you’ll now see “Flagged” next to the review in question
  • Google typically processes review reports within 1-2 business days, but some cases may take up to a week
  • Check back on the status of your flagged review after 2-3 days

If Google agrees the review violates its policies, it will remove it from your Business Profile and notify you of its decision. But if Google determines the review doesn’t meet the criteria for removal, don’t worry – you still have options for defending your online reputation.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews You Can’t Remove

Even if a bad review doesn’t get deleted, you can still mitigate the damage by responding professionally and empathetically. Your response shows prospective customers that you value feedback, take customer concerns seriously, and are committed to righting any wrongs. Here are some tips:

  • Acknowledge the reviewer’s concerns and apologize for their poor experience, without admitting fault or making excuses. A simple “thank you for bringing this to our attention” can go a long way.
  • Calmly share your perspective on the situation and any relevant context that could help explain what occurred. Stick to the facts and avoid getting defensive.
  • Offer to make the situation right and provide a direct contact method to continue the conversation privately. This shows your willingness to work toward a resolution and prevents further public back-and-forth.

Here’s an example of an effective response to a negative review:

“Thank you for your feedback, [Name]. We strive to provide excellent service, and I apologize if your experience fell short. That’s not the standard we aim for, and I’d appreciate the chance to discuss this further. Please contact me directly at [Email] so we can work to resolve this.”

Remember, your response to a negative review is public and permanent, so keep it concise, professional, and focused on finding a solution. Avoid generic copy-and-paste responses. Customizing each reply demonstrates genuine care for the individual customer’s experience.

When to Seek Legal Help for Defamatory Google Reviews

In some cases, bad Google reviews cross the line from negative opinions to unlawful defamation, seriously damaging your business’s reputation and financial well-being. If you believe a review contains false statements of fact that harm your business, it’s time to consider taking legal action to have it removed.

Examples of defamatory Google reviews could include:

  • False accusations of criminal conduct, like theft or assault
  • Knowingly false statements about your products, services, or business practices
  • Personal attacks or hate speech against your employees or customers
  • Completely fabricated stories of interactions with your business that never occurred

Unlike reviews that simply violate Google’s content policies, defamatory reviews may require legal intervention to remove. That’s where the experienced attorneys at Minc Law can help.

How to Get More Positive Google Reviews

Of Course, the best way to minimize the impact of an occasional negative review is to proactively build up a steady stream of positive reviews from your satisfied customers. When the vast majority of your reviews are glowing, a single 1-star rating carries less weight in the eyes of prospective customers and Google’s search algorithms.

But how do you encourage more customers to leave reviews without coming across as pushy or desperate? The key is to make the process as easy and integrated into your customer experience as possible. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Send follow-up emails after completed services or purchases, thanking customers for their business and politely asking them to share their experience in a Google review. Include a direct link to your Google review page to eliminate any confusion or extra steps.
  • Include review request cards or flyers with your receipts, invoices, or product shipments. Let customers know their feedback is valued and helps your business improve. Consider offering a small incentive, like a discount code for their next purchase, for leaving a review.
  • Train your staff to identify particularly satisfied customers during in-person interactions and encourage them to leave a review. A casual “if you enjoyed your experience today, we’d love it if you could share your thoughts on Google – it really helps us out” can plant the seed.
  • Add clear calls-to-action on your website, email signature, and social media profiles directing customers to leave a Google review. Make sure the link takes them directly to the review form, not just your general Google Business Profile.

Remember, the goal is to make leaving a review feel like a natural, low-pressure next step in the customer journey. Don’t beg or offer bribes in exchange for positive reviews – that’s against Google’s guidelines and can backfire. Instead, focus on providing truly exceptional customer experiences that inspire people to voluntarily sing your praises online.

How Minc Law Can Help Remove Defamatory Google Reviews

At Minc Law, we focus exclusively on the area of online defamation and have helped countless businesses successfully remove false and malicious reviews from Google. Our attorneys can:

  • Evaluate whether a Google review meets the legal criteria for defamation in your jurisdiction and advise you on the best course of action.
  • Gather the necessary evidence to prove the review is false and defamatory, including documentation of your business’s policies, products, and interactions with the reviewer (if any).
  • If the reviewer’s identity is known, send a cease and desist letter demanding they remove the defamatory content.
  • File a formal legal removal request with Google, demonstrating how the review violates not only their content policies but also defamation laws.
  • Negotiate with Google’s legal team to have the review removed promptly and prevent the defamer from leaving similar reviews in the future.
  • If necessary, file a defamation lawsuit against the reviewer to seek monetary damages and a court order requiring the removal of the review.

Our goal is to remove defamatory Google reviews as quickly and efficiently as possible, so you can focus on running your business. We understand the immense stress and frustration false accusations can cause, and we’ll use every legal tool at our disposal to protect your hard-earned reputation.

Don’t Let Defamatory Google Reviews Destroy Your Business

False and malicious reviews on your Google Business Profile can cause devastating damage to your reputation, customer trust, and revenue. But you don’t have to face this challenge alone. The experienced online defamation attorneys at Minc Law are here to help.

We’ve successfully removed hundreds of defamatory Google reviews for our clients, and we know exactly what it takes to build a strong legal case and get false content deleted for good. Whether you need to send a cease and desist letter, submit a formal legal removal request to Google, or even file a defamation lawsuit, we’ll guide you through every step of the process.

Don’t let defamatory Google reviews destroy the business you’ve worked so hard to build. Contact Minc Law today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you fight back against online defamation and restore your reputation.

Are you being defamed online? Contact Minc Law today!

This page has been peer-reviewed, fact-checked, and edited by qualified attorneys to ensure substantive accuracy and coverage.

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