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How to remove negative Google reviews - and manage the ones you can't

Published on 10 July, 2018

You’ve worked for years on your business; delivering great service, providing top-notch products and building a reputation to be proud of, only for a disgruntled customer to come along and leave you that dreaded, negative Google review.

You want nothing more than to hit the “DELETE” button and be rid of it forever. Sadly, we have some bad news for you. You can’t just wave goodbye to bad reviews, but the real question is, ‘Why would you want to?’

By taking just a few proactive steps, you can help turn those negative reviews into positive business growth.

Responding to negative reviews

As you can’t remove your negative reviews, responding in the correct way is your next best bet. Negative reviews offer a great opportunity to position your business in a positive light by responding quickly and being seen to address the issue directly. A prompt and detailed response paints you as a transparent, trustworthy business that cares about what your customers say, and displays a willingness to learn, improve and where necessary, put things right. For more useful tips on how to approach your negative reviews with confidence, check out our guide.

Learning from negative reviews

Negative feedback can deliver valuable insight into how you’re running your business and where you can improve. Take what your reviewers say on board and keep an eye out for recurring comments; these can help you identify the root of the negative responses, and allow you to start fixing the issues quickly. Responding appropriately, and being seen to take positive steps to improve, will help to build trust in your business, ultimately leading to more positive reviews and a better Google rating in the long run.

Fighting back against negative reviews

Getting a barrage of negative reviews, does not mean you have to lie down and wave the white flag. You can take positive steps to help boost your ratings on Google by partnering with an independent reviews company to let you take back control of the conversation. Actively collecting more reviews from your real customers will most likely result in positive feedback, which can then be integrated alongside your Google reviews to dramatically improve your overall star rating.

Thanks to our partnership with Google, collecting genuine reviews through Feefo can drive traffic to your website, with our verified ratings platform also contributing to your Google stars.

Removing malicious and fake reviews

Okay, we know what you might be thinking.

“What about people leaving fake reviews to intentionally harm my business - how could they ever be positive?”

You’ve got us there. Malicious reviews can be frustrating and damaging. Luckily, Google understands the importance of publishing genuine feedback, so there is a way to get them removed. Before you go down this route however, pause and take a minute to make sure you have a solid case for having it removed, as the burden of proof rests with you. So, if you think it’s been left by a competitor, is defamatory towards you or your business, or is just plain offensive, make sure you have evidence. Once you do - follow these three easy steps:

  1. Log in to your Google My Business account
  2. Find the review in question and select the flag icon
  3. Enter your email and reason why it violates Google’s review policy

Then, unfortunately, all you can do is wait as Google evaluate your request and determines whether the review warrants removal.

In the meantime, it would appear Google are taking positive steps of their own to protect your online reputation. Anonymous reviews left on Google no longer count towards your overall rating; meanwhile Google are beginning to systematically remove these reviews from your Google My Business page altogether. In theory, by only leaving reviews left from registered Google accounts, it’ll result in more honest reviews from genuine customers.

Approach with confidence

So, if you’ve been hit with a spate of negative reviews on Google, remember - don’t panic! Use them to your advantage to learn and improve; ensuring your customers have nothing but glowing praise for you next time they come to reviewing your company.

The best defence is a good offence! Get replying to your feedback as soon as you can, and take proactive steps to improve the reputation of your business by engaging with your customers and getting as many real reviews, from real customers, as possible.