Learning how to delete Google reviews or remove them is something that many business owners want to do.
The reason for this is simple, a negative Google review can massively impact your bottom line if you are a business owner.
And you want to know something? Google reviews are only going to have more and more influence as time goes on.
If you don’t know how to remove or delete Google reviews, you’re opening yourself up to potential issues later on down the line.
Before we continue, let’s get something straight:
Just because a review is negative that doesn’t mean you have grounds to remove it. Deleting a Google review requires that the review fits certain criteria that you have to be aware of.
However, even if a review does not qualify you still have plenty of options to essentially delete a Google review in terms of the damage it can cause.
So this is what we’re going to do:
We’re going to list out all of your options and show you how to delete Google reviews or remove them if they qualify. This will be straightforward and easy for you to take care of once you know the steps.
If the review doesn’t qualify for outright removal, we’ll give you a game plan you can use to deal with the negative review and reach a similar outcome. Realistically speaking, most reviews actually fall under this category.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty and the step-by-step process for how to delete Google reviews, we want to take a second to look at why this is a high-priority issue.
Understanding this and the direction they are going to be taking their review platform is extremely important for understanding how to remove Google reviews, and why you need to get familiar with this ASAP.
Why Google reviews are extremely important
The way that people research businesses online has changed dramatically over the last five years, especially on mobile devices. Everyone expects actionable information quicker than ever, no matter what they are searching for.
When it comes to looking up a business Google reviews are the primary source that consumers go to. Sure, there are other review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor but those pale in comparison.
The reason for this is simple. As big as those sites are, they rely on Google to get most of their visitors. A Google search is the primary method a tool customer will use to start the research process about your business. While this alone is a huge reason to know how to delete Google reviews, there’s more you should be aware of.
Google knows this and believes that they can deliver a better experience by making their review platform the best place to find information about a business online. Because of this, they have started to make their reviews more and more prominent in search results over the past few years.
As aggressive as they’ve been lately it’s expected that they will continue this trend or even push the envelope further. While sites like Yelp will continue to fight it out with other sites in normal search results, Google reviews will be the first thing potential customers see when they look your business up online.
This means that you need to be making Google reviews extremely high priority for your business, and learning how to delete Google reviews that are eligible is a big part of this.
So, let’s list out all the possible scenarios that will give you the ability to remove a review from Google.
How to determine if you can remove it
If you want to find out if the review in question is able to be deleted or removed, it’s actually rather simple. You have options if a review:
- Is fake or fraudulent
- Is advertising or spam
- Has a conflict of interest
- Contains hateful, inappropriate, or violent content
- Is off topic
It’s worth noting that reviews that contain a conflict of interest or are off-topic can be extremely tricky to get removed due to how vague that definition is. Unfortunately, many business owners have tried to get legitimate negative Google reviews deleted by flagging them under these categories.
Because of this, we recommend that you don’t spend a lot of time trying to delete a Google review that falls under these two categories. It’s very unlikely that the review will get taken down and you will have wasted time that you could have spent on a more effective strategy.
The categories that are the most open and shut cases for reviews to fall under our inappropriate content, advertising, or spam. These can easily be determined to be in violation of Google’s review policy and you will likely not meet much resistance with these.
Unfortunately, the most common Google reviews that have grounds for removal are ones that are fake or fraudulent. It’s extremely common for other businesses or disgruntled employees to leave fake negative Google reviews.
Despite the fact that this is absolutely in violation of Google’s review policy, it can still be rather tricky to tell if the review truly is fake or not. There are some signs that can help you such as a review being left by an account that has never left to review for another business, but even that isn’t guaranteed to help you delete the Google review.
If it was a disgruntled employee who left the negative review, you might have some options. Recently Google changed their policy to disallow past employees from leaving reviews about the company that used to work for. Even if the review is legitimate or positive, Google wants all of the reviews about a business that are on their platform to be for customers by customers.
This means if one of your negative reviews clearly indicates that it was a past employer, you shouldn’t have an issue deleting that Google review.
The steps to follow
Regardless if the Google review you want to delete might be difficult or not, you should still go through the proper steps to try and get it removed.
If it’s fake, respond and back it up with proof
This can be a great way to reduce the credibility of a fake review quickly what you get the ball rolling with the rest of the process.
The first thing you want to do here is check your records to make sure that this truly is a fake review. Getting this wrong can backfire and do more harm than good.
Assuming your business records show no sign of the reviewer being a customer in the past, you’ll want to leave a calm and measured response that indirectly calls attention to the fact that the review might be fake.
Mentioned that you take these matters very seriously and that you are committed to improving the service that your business offers on a consistent basis. However, you don’t have any business records or memory that seems to match the situation the review is describing. You have also looked into verifying their identity as a past customer and have not found any information there either.
End your response by saying that if they were customer or client to please reach out to you directly so you can resolve the matter. This is a crucial step to remember in the process of how to remove a review from Google.
This is the smart thing to do for a number of reasons. First off, it keeps you covered in case they actually were customer and you simply misplaced or could not find their records. Secondly, it does a fantastic job of making other potential customers who are researching your business question the validity of this Google review.
To stress this point again, keep your response calm and measured. If you get emotional or accuse them of lying it won’t reflect well on you or your business.
Flag the review
The process of understanding how to delete Google reviews can be rather nuanced and complicated, but the next step is fairly easy.
All you have to do here in order to initiate the process of removing a review from Google is find the review in question and hover over it with your mouse. When you do this a small flag icon will appear for you to click.
Once you click it you will be taken to a screen where you can report the review as a privacy violation. Simply enter your email address, check the type of violation that the review falls under, and click submit.
Reach out to Google
Once you’ve done this we recommend you take the initiative to actually contact Google directly regarding the issue. In order to do this the right way, visit your Google My Business dashboard to get the process started.
Visit the reviews section of the dashboard, click support, then choose your preferred method of contact. We highly recommend that you choose a phone call as opposed to email. The success rate seems to be much higher when you can speak to someone directly.
Make sure that you have all your proof, information, and general reasoning for wanting to delete the Google review ready to go before you call. As we mentioned before, don’t act upset or emotional on the phone call. Just calmly explain your situation.
What if it’s a legitimate negative review?
If you want to know how to delete Google reviews that are legitimate, you have to change your strategy. You may not agree with the review, but you won’t have the ability to remove or delete it.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to achieve a result that’s similar to removing a Google review but falls safely within the bounds of what you can do. It won’t be as simple as clicking a few buttons but the results are more reliable, sustainable, and can benefit your business on a far greater scale.
As a matter of fact, the number of businesses who actually implement these strategies is far lower than it should be. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest is they simply don’t understand how effective and time efficient they can be.
The long-term fix
What we’re referring to here is a long-term commitment to review management geared specifically toward Google reviews. While many business owners are spending time trying to learn how to delete a review on Google, there are many others who don’t have to worry about this nearly as much.
The reason for this is they have spent the time needed to make sure their reviews on Google look great and accurately represent the quality of products and services they offer. This means that instead of fretting about the fact that they can’t remove a Google review, they can spend their time on the things that matter most.
So how do they make this happen?
Well, it’s a lot simpler than you may think. It primarily comes down to addressing the main issue with most review platforms. Satisfied or happy customers tend to not leave reviews is often as unhappy customers. This can lead to inaccuracies with the overall rating of a business.
In order to tip the scale back in your favor you need to encourage happy customers to leave Google reviews without being too pushy about it. Fortunately, this can be done in a number of ways.
The quickest way to make an impact here is to approach your most loyal and regular customers and ask if they wouldn’t mind leaving you a Google review. Explain that it would really help your business, and stress that their review be honest as well. You don’t have to ask for a good review if they are a loyal customer, you already know what the result will be.
After you have done this you will want to put some systems in place for bringing in more great reviews over time. Doing this effectively can range from complicated to simple, but the biggest thing to remember is to ask for reviews from people who have had a good experience.
Bake this into the operations of your business. Train your employees on how to recognize great opportunities and what to do next. Still, if you need some extra help putting these systems in place effectively you can always get in touch with our online review management services and let us do the heavy lifting.
What you can’t do
Doing the steps above can make worrying about how to delete Google reviews a thing of the past, there are a couple pieces of information to keep in mind about what is allowed.
The first one is obvious, don’t buy fake positive reviews. This is not only unethical but it is a clear violation of Google’s review policy. Oh yeah, and it’s against the law too!
At best they will likely remove these Google reviews and at worst you could face legal action. You don’t want that headache. It’s far better to just do things the right way.
Another common infraction is the process of incentivizing positive reviews. This is not allowed and can backfire as well. You have to be careful about how you word your request for a Google review.
This is why earlier we mentioned that you should ask for honest reviews from your best customers. You do not want to create any confusion that you are not doing things the right way.
It might seem harmless to offer a discount in exchange but trust us, other people have tried this and have been caught. Sometimes this can lead to a customer leaving a negative review instead! Again, do things the right way and you won’t have anything to worry about.
Here’s what to do next
The methods above are more sustainable and can lead to a more positive impact on your business overall. By practicing them you can essentially delete Google reviews you don’t like by surrounding them by positive one, all while playing by the rules.
If a review of your company is clearly worthy of getting flagged, the first steps for how to remove a review from Google are the way to go.
However, if you want to think long term and not have to worry about one or two negative ratings (they happen to everyone) we highly recommend that you get in touch with our online review management team. Set up a free consultation, get some feedback, and we will help you figure out where you can go from there.
Struggling with how to delete Google reviews is something that many businesses face, but you don’t have to be one of them!