Reviews are not only popular but are more important for all online users or customers. Reviews dropped on sites such as Google+ Local, and Yelp.com have become increasingly significant. It is a well-known fact that people trust reviews. A study released in the recent past found out that 70% of the respondents considered Google Reviews as trustworthy and helpful, and only those recommendations made by friends ranked high in the survey.
So, now the question is “What am I supposed to do if I have got some fake Google reviews? And can this defame my image?”
Almost all businesses face this common and frequent issue of receiving Fake Google Reviews on their Google My Business Profile. Even though Amazon and Yake have sued for the fake review posters, nothing much has stopped the business from getting such negative Google reviews. Back in 2013, The State Attorney General of New York took action against some 19 New York-based companies which were involved in fake reviews, but again, even these legal actions were not successfully able to prevent or stop fake reviews from pouring in, in spite of being sued with huge fines. But this doesn’t mean that the Business Owner has to sit quietly and watch the show, they have the right to fight back and also implement certain simple strategies to delete Google reviews that are fake.
How to Remove or delete Google Reviews
1. Respond to the Review
While at times it may not be possible to get the reviews removed completely, you have the ability to respond to them. YES! You heard right.
A Fake Review will burn you from inside but don’t ignore them, instead make it a point to respond to all those fake Google reviews. Even you though you may not be able to solve the issue, you can make it clear to your other reviewers, and prospective clients that you are actually taking things seriously and you are aware of such reviews.
As a way to tackle and remedying this situation, Google has come up with certain tips for responding. Reply to Fake Google Reviews in a non-defensive manner, keep it short and respond to that as much as you would for negative Google reviews.
“Hi, “Reviewer’s name”
We take these matters very seriously, unfortunately, we have no record or recollection of any customer experience fitting this account, nor can we verify anything about your identity from your name in our records. If you were a client of ours, we would like to investigate this issue further, please contact *person’s name* immediately at * a company email address* so that we can resolve this issue immediately.”
Again, in case you are not able to respond in a calm or professional manner, it is better not to respond at all. Fake reviews may upset and irritate you, but securing and bringing a positive image to your business is more valuable.
2. Flag the Review
The next best option is to “Flag the Review” and notify the Google team regarding the violation of their review policy.
Hover over to the review in question, and a flag icon will appear
Click the flag icon and a popup page will appear, and this takes you to the “Report a policy Violation Page”
In this page, you need to enter your email address in the respective box and choose one of the violation types which you feel proper –
- This post contains hateful, violent or inappropriate content
- This post contains advertising or spam
- This post contains conflicts of interest
Pick the violation type and submit the issue, and wait for the Google team to respond or communicate back to you.
3. Report the Review to Google Small Business Support
In case you were not successful in removing the Fake reviews using the flagging technique, you can still get in touch with the Support Associate. Follow the steps below:
- Log into your Google My Business page
- Navigate and reach the Review section
- Click on the Home menu
- Select support
- Choose contact methods – Phone or Email
- Fill the needed contact parameters, add the screenshot of the fake review in question and submit your complaint
And now wait patiently for the Google Team to get back to you (this may take up to two to three days)
4. Ask the Google Community for Help
Even if flagging of the review and contacting the Google Small Business Support was not effective, you still have an option of asking the Google Community for help to delete Google reviews.
If you want to know about the spam policy or have any specific question in mind, you can seek advice from the Google Community members, as Google has blessed us with its Support Forum for getting answers. You can do this by following these steps –
- Log in to your Google My Business page
- Go to the Spam and Policy Forum
- Over here, you can see plenty of questions or issues that are exactly similar to that of yours
- You can get some readymade solution over here
- Or, you can alternatively shoot a question about your fake or spam review problem
- And, wait for some really awesome community experts to respond to your issue
And even if this was not useful, you can escalate the matter and report your problem to the community manager directly as well
What to do if I am not able to get a Fake review removed?
Unfortunately, there are many occasions and circumstances where you may not be able to remove Google reviews that are fake, as Google removes only those reviews that are in direct violation of its policies. There are chances of insufficient evidence to prove if the review in question is legitimate or not. If this doesn’t work out, you still have more to do….
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