How to remove Bad Google Reviews is a question that most businesses unfortunately will be asking eventually.
Online Reviews Should Be a Top Priority For Your Small Business
82% of U.S. adults say they at least sometimes read online customer ratings or reviews before purchasing items for the first time, and 40% who said they always or almost always read online reviews – Pew Research Center study.
Can’t Please Everyone
Regardless of how hard you try, there are always those that are very difficult, if not impossible to please, and they don’t hesitate to write negative reviews against your business online.
Online Review Sites
Negative (and positive) reviews for your small business can be found on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Amazon, TripAdvisor, Yellow Pages, or a number of other online review sites depending on the nature of your business. If your business relies on organic Google website traffic, I suggest focusing on Google, Facebook and Yelp.
Remove Bad Google Reviews
We’re frequently asked, “Can I remove bad google reviews, or can I pay to have them removed?”
There is currently no method to remove a “legitimate” negative review from Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, or the other major review platforms, other than to have the Reviewer remove it.
However, “illegitimate” negative google reviews can be removed.
If you have received a legitimate negative review, there are steps that can be taken to minimize the damage.
So called ‘Reputation Management’ companies promising to remove legitimate negative reviews are a scam.
However, content that doesn’t meet Google’s guidelines can be removed.
“If you’ve come across content on Google that may violate the law, let us know, and we’ll carefully review the material and consider blocking, removing or restricting access to it. Abusive content on Google’s services may also violate Google’s product policies, so before sending us a legal request, consider flagging the post, image, or video for one of our content teams to review.” Google
Google Content Guidelines
Every major local listing platform that allows users to leave reviews has content guidelines. Google has guidelines that disallow certain types of negative reviews, such as reviews that are considered spam, fake or irrelevant.
Read Google Content Guidelines below to learn how to remove bad Google reviews that violate Google’s Rules.
Negative google reviews that meet the following criteria can be removed:
1. Spam or Fake Reviews
Google ensures that spam or fake reviews can be removed. Reviews displaying multiple times, and reviews posted by one reviewer from multiple accounts can be removed. Similarly, reviews that are not based on personal experiences and content added to manipulate ratings can be removed.
Google says, “content should reflect your genuine experience at the location and should not be posted just to manipulate a place’s ratings. Don’t post fake content, don’t post the same content multiple times, and don’t post content for the same place from multiple accounts.”
2. Irrelevant, Off-Topic Reviews
Irrelevant Google Reviews can be removed as well. Political, social or personal commentary can be flagged and removed.
“Only post content based on your experience or questions about experiences at the specific location. Maps is not meant to be a forum for general political, social commentary, or personal rants. Content that does not meet this standard will be removed.” says Google
3. Promotional Offers
Google restricts sharing promotional offers and website landing pages in reviews. Reviews having content that provides contact information to purchase illegal products or services.
Promotional offers for restricted goods or services are prohibited. For example, you shouldn’t upload content that displays deals, coupons, pricing information or other promotions for a restricted product or service.
According to Google, the following content is in violation:
- Content that infringes copyright laws or legal rights.
- Content that depicts sexual abuse imagery or represents children in a sexual manner.
- Content that promotes the sale of endangered animal products, or illegal drugs
- Content that depicts illegal acts of human trafficking, organ sale or rape
- Content that contains or promotes graphic violence
- Content posted by terrorist groups or content that promotes terrorism
4. Hate Speech
Google also allows the removal of reviews that promote hate speech, obscene or offensive content. Review content that has blatant or implied harassment or bullying can also be removed.
5. Remove Bad Google Reviews – Guidelines
Google allows for removal of reviews posted by business owners, employees, and those posted against competitors to manipulate ratings.
When the review you want to remove falls into any of the above categories, report it to Google and request removal.
Removing Content From Google
This Removing Content From Google page will help you get to the right place to report content that you would like removed from Google’s services under applicable laws. Providing Google with complete information to help Google investigate your inquiry. This is a great place to learn if Google’s content rules have been violated, and you will fill out and submit a form there as well.
If you have received a negative google review follow these steps:
1. Contact The Reviewer
Contact the bad reviewer and negotiate a solution that will prompt the reviewer to remove it. The reviewer can easily delete their negative review or change it to a positive review. If this is not possible, read on. Negative reviews can be managed and diminished.
2. Respond Quickly
Regardless of the type of negative review you received, respond quickly.
If someone wasn’t satisfied with your service/product, in Google My Business write a response to their negative review keeping the following in mind:
– Own up to your part even if it’s only 10 percent true- Don’t make excuses
– If there is a legitimate reason why the service/product was perceived as less than excellent, be honest about it, and assure them it won’t happen in the future.
– Offer to fix the problem
3. Try To Rectify the Situation
There are cases when an angry review isn’t really about you or the company at all—maybe the customer just had a bad day. But for those times when there was a problem with the service or product, make a solid effort to fix it. Whether that means better customer service representative training, firing an employee, or rewording offers on your website.
Most of the time, people who left a bad review just want their needs addressed. It’s not uncommon for people to change a 1-star review to a 4-star after the business owner tries to satisfy their needs.
4. Monitor Reviews
Was that fraudulent one ever flagged? Was it removed? Did you redo that customer’s service?
Staying on top of what happens can actually turn your bad review into a good review. For example, if a customer was unhappy with a service and you came right back and fixed it, that customer may change their review from negative to positive with a little nudging. We’ve seen that happen many times.
If the reviewer didn’t use your service or product:
- Respond to the complaint and apologize for the dissatisfaction. State you can’t seem to find them in your records as having been a previous customer.
- Offer to fix their situation and give them contact information
- Flag or report the review as fraudulent
To remove fake google reviews:
- Open Google Maps and search for your business.
- Click to see all your reviews, and find the one you want to flag
- Click on the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner of the review, then click “Flag as inappropriate.”
- Call Google and follow up on your flagged review status. Go to your Google My Business home page. At the bottom of the menu on the left-hand side there should be an option for support. Click it.
- Get legal. If the review can be counted as slander and false, you DO have an option to fill out a Google form for a legal removal request. The requirements for these are pretty high, so grab your nearest legal professional before you go this route.
Bad Yelp Review Removal
To Get A Yelp Review Removed:
- Report the review to Yelp for removal
- Choose a reason that the review should be removed
- Provide Yelp with specific details and reasoning
- Submit your case to Yelp
Once the review case has been submitted, you have to wait for several days for Yelp to respond.
Yelp’s response will be either that it agreed with you or not. If it did not agree with you, you can appeal one more time.
What violates Yelp’s TOS or is considered inappropriate? Someone using four-letter words, or personally attacking you or the business and slandering you fall under inappropriate, but there are shades of gray in that interpretation.
If you’ve ever had to fire an employee you’ve probably had someone anonymously leave a scathing review of you and/or your business. Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of a negative review just because it doesn’t represent your business in the best light.
The ‘Guaranteed Removal’ of Google Content Myth
There are several myths in the space. Particularly that of the “guaranteed removal” of Google content.
A website is under no obligation to remove negative content unless that content is found to be slanderous, inaccurate, or without merit.
Submitting takedown requests to a website posting negative information may work, but it is unlikely. Without a successful takedown request and the good graces of the posting website, the negative information can still be found in search results. No company can guarantee the removal of negative content, even though many do make such claims.
‘Guaranteed Removal’ is Not Sustainable
If a reputation manager is able to have the offending content removed from a website, anyone can still re-post the negative information on another site with a few clicks of the mouse. If that information appears on another site, Google can still index and rank it.
What’s the point of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to manage your reputation, only to have the negative information reappear somewhere else on the Web? Therefore, most often, trying to remove content from Google is a poor idea.
Multiple Sources of Negative Reviews
Reputation managers may focus on ‘removing’ one or two of negative search results. But what about the other results on the first page? There can be an overwhelming number of sources.
Best Proactive Approach Better
With proactive efforts, you can control the sentiment around your name or brand in search results. Instead of focusing on deleting a few articles, it’s best to permanently push them far back in search engine visibility.
Bad Glassdoor Review Removal
Unfortunately, you can’t remove your company profile from Glassdoor, but you can remove reviews from Glassdoor in specific situations.
“Our interpretation of our policies and the decision whether or not to edit or remove content is within our sole discretion.” Glassdoor
You can’t pay Glassdoor to remove reviews.
Two ways to remove bad reviews from Glassdoor:
1. Flag reviews
If you believe the review violates Glassdoor terms and community guidelines such as: contains profanity, reveals confidential, non-public internal company information, includes an advertisement or web link, contains substantial quoted material from other sources, uses excessive capitalization, violates: “one review, per employer, per year, per review type”, or identifies individuals by name outside of C-suite positions, flag the review.
2. Take legal action
If Glassdoor refuses to delete a review, you may be able to take legal action to have it removed. However, be aware that the law protects sites that collect user submitted content (like Glassdoor and Ripoff Report) from liability.
Glassdoor doesnt reveal a reviewer’s identity. So you may not be able to sue the individual who you believe is responsible for the defamatory content, either. In most cases, legal action will cost you money, generate more negative press, and rarely end in your favor.
Since it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to remove negative reviews from Glassdoor, you essentially have two choices for handling them:
1-Bury negative Glassdoor reviews in Google
2-Earn positive reviews and improve your company’s profile
There’s a common misconception that reputation management services have the power to magically delete unwanted search results or use “negative SEO” to bury a single result. In truth, the only way to effectively remove bad Glassdoor reviews from Google is to bury them by lifting up dozens of positive articles.
To do so, diversify and expand your brand’s search results in a holistic way.Here’s a short list of some of the things that can be done:
- Establish a review management program
- Regularly publish thought leadership articles and content
- Strategically leverage ally networks and amplify public relations activity
- Develop and optimize websites, blog content and press releases
- Establish a review management program
- Build off-site SEO signals through strategic outreach
Glassdoor is a highly trusted platform that already has a massive audience. So, whenever possible, it’s better to improve your company’s profile rather than abandon it.
Your first step should be to examine any negative feedback through unbiased optics. Use surveys to regularly gauge employee sentiment and give your people a voice. Openly address criticism and discuss meaningful changes you plan to make to improve your business before complaints enter the public arena.
The most effective way to drown out negative reviews and increase your star ratings is to earn new reviews from current employees.
Respond To Negative Online Reviews
Since you can rarely remove negative Glassdoor reviews, show others that you’re listening. If you disagree with something, fight the urge to go on the offensive. Instead, present your side of the story professionally, and remember that others will judge your response. If you appear belligerent, you could validate the complaint and further damage your brand.
Online Reputation Management Services (ORM)
There are many online reputation management and review management services and software that attempt to help small business. 88% of small businesses monitor their online reputation at least quarterly.
There’s a common misconception that reputation management services have the power to magically delete unwanted search results.
ORM services include:
- Creating and optimizing websites
- Building high quality links
- Thought leadership articles
- Social media management
- Review management
- Content production
The Number 1 Online Reputation Management Issue is Bad Reviews!
Consumers overwhelmingly trust online review sites to learn about products and services before they make a purchase.
What’s worse, most consumers can’t tell the difference between legitimate negative feedback and fake one-star ratings. But don’t panic. An online reputation management company like us can help you with review management so you aren’t caught off guard.
Online Reputation Management Tools
Most of the reputation management tools focus on monitoring online reviews and responding to reviewers in a manner that is quick and professional, as well as communicating with customers before they leave reviews. None of the tools can actually remove negative reviews.
Negative Online Reviews and Bad Press Overview
Take Down Those That Can Be Removed
A Google Removal Audit will identify whether your results are candidates for de-indexing from search engines. While rare, this allows the opportunity to remove them completely from Google.
Suppress Negative Reviews
Rather than trying to remove bad google reviews, consider using a Damage Control Process which minimizes the number of people who will find your negatives. Bury it below positive content that tells your story by publishing blog posts, social media updates and rich media.
Continual creation of optimized content helps keep your positive webpages above your negatives, and creates a protective barrier that helps prevent new negatives from being seen.
Best Overall Reputation Tactic
Increasing your positive reviews is the single best tactic you can implement to diminish bad reviews.
Remove Bad Google Reviews Summary
To remove bad google reviews, as well as any other type of bad review, should be a priority, however, if it’s not possible to do so, there are many other viable options to consider.
This article explains what type of google, yelp, glassdoor, reviews can be removed, and what type cant be removed, as well as discusses how to do it. In addition, this article outlines actions that can be taken to minimize damage caused by negative reviews, discusses Online Reputation Management Services, ORM, and prevalent myths.