Google allows anyone to leave a review for any company, whether invited or not. This is great for boosting your online reputation and building brand awareness, but what if you get a review you don't like? Can you get rid of it? Today we're going to find out how to remove and turn off Google reviews - or if it's even possible! Ready to take control of your online reputation? Let's go.
Google reviews may all look the same, but they don't all have the same origin. To answer the question "how can I remove a review from Google", you'll first need to find out where the review is located on the web.
How to remove Google Shopping & Google Adwords reviews
If the review is shown in Google Shopping results, or on a Google Adwords advert, then it will likely have been collected and verified by a licensed third-party review platform.
Google collects reviews from around the web and licensed third party review providers, and aggregates them in the form of a review score. Reviews can be for a company or a product, and they can contribute to the star ratings found in Adwords and organic search results (so long as the company in question has collected 150 reviews in the preceding 12 months).
However, the reviews that Google sources for these aggregated scores from third-party review partners are all verified reviews. Verified reviews are generally permanent reviews that cannot be deleted from Google's system. If a customer has received poor service from you and has proof-of-purchase, then their review will stand and Google will use it in their aggregated score.
Very occassionally, Google Shopping or Adwords reviews can be deleted if they go against your licensed Review Platform's guidelines. For example, here at Reviews.io, we'll look into reviews if:
- the customer is not a verified buyer
- there is use of profanity
- there is use of personal names
- the review isn't factually correct.
If the review you want deleted meets this criteria, be sure to flag it. A decision will then be made, and if the review is delected from your Company Page on our site, it will also be deleted from Google within a few days. In general, though, it's not possible to have Google Adwords or Shopping reviews removed.
Can I remove Google My Business reviews?
Reviews on the My Business page (which are shown in Google Local results and are entirely separate to those collected by independent third parties) do not necessarily need to be verified by Google before they are published. Google Local is an open platform and its very nature means that the only requirement for a user to write a review on a business is owning a Gmail address.
This, understandably, can cause some concern for businesses. It's possible - and in truth it happens - that disgruntled customers will write unfair reviews on your Google Local page. It's even possible that non-customers will write an unverified review.
Google does provide instructions for business owners to fix or flag reviews written on their My Business page. You can log into your GMB account and flag a review to Google, who may or may not moderate or remove it.
They specifically state that you can only flag reviews if they violate Google's review policy.
This includes reviews written without having experienced the product or business first hand, defamatory language, personal attacks and off-topic content.
That's all well and good, but what do you do if someone just leaves a 1 star rating with no comments? By definition, this review does not violate Google's policy, as there is no review content (in the form of a comment). Unfortunately, Google does not require a comment to be written for any reviews put on a Google My Business page. Additionally, without requiring a proof of purchase, it can be almost impossible to dinstinguish verified from non-verified reviews.
If you feel you have been wrongly-reviewed, the best chance you have to get a review removed from Google is to flag it.
Can anything be done to remove reviews from Google?
The short answer is, not much unfortunately. You can flag reviews to Google but they may not take action on them and verified reviews are even more difficult to get rid of. This leaves businesses in a bit of a predicament, so what is the best solution?
Can I turn off Google Reviews?
You may be thinking, with all this hassle, it may just be easier to turn Google reviews off. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that. In fact, you can't turn off Google reviews. Google my Business reviews are in place to allow anyone with a gmail account to leave a review for your business.
The answer is simply to actively collect more reviews from your customers.
How to collect more Google reviews
Did you know that a large percentage of your happy customers will actually leave you a review if you just ask them? People are busy and unless prompted to do so won't generally take time out of their day to review a company (unless they're annoyed - we all know that people with a bad experience are more likely to tell their friends without prompting than those with a positive experience).
However, if your happy customers are just asked to write a review, they will.
So the solution to hiding negative reviews on Google is to collect more positive reviews. Overall, your review score will be greatly increased, and this is the score that is prominent in Google Local results (as you can see in the below SERP for the term "restaurants near me").
The best way to get more reviews is to sign up with a Review Platform. This way, you'll be able to send 'review boosters' to all of your past customers, which means gaining an unprecendented amount of stars in the space of just a few days. This increase in positive reviews will help to balance out any negative ones you have on Google and turn your online reputation around.
How to avoid negative Google reviews
It's unlikely you're reading this article because you're inundated with positive reviews - it's usually only negative reviews that people want to delete. Whilst learning how to prevent bad online reviews isn't won't help you get rid of your current ones, it will help mask them and also reduce the likelihood of them happening again.
Aside from flagging, there is no secret to removing reviews from Google. Sadly, once they're there, it's unlikely they're there to stay. The secret, therefore, to managing your online reputation is working to prevent these negative reviews and actively collecting positive ones. Do that, and you should never need to remove a Google review again.