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.
We're not going to beat around the bush: deleting Google reviews can be pretty tricky. But that's not to say it's impossible.
As reviews are meant to represent the voice of the people, it's essential that companies are not easily able to manipulate them. It's for this reason that Google doesn't simply offer a 'delete' option for reviews left on the site - that could leave feedback incredibly inaccurate.
What Google does offer instead is flagging. By flagging a review you believe to go against Google review guidelines, it'll be brought to their attention, and they'll consider moderating it.
Before we start delving into the nitty-gritty, let's first consider if there's a real need to delete your Google reviews.
Customer reviews are becoming increasingly important for online consumers, and Google reviews are no exception.
In fact, 64% of consumers say they are likely to check Google reviews before visiting a business, so maintaining a strong reputation here is key.
That being said, having straight As - or in this case, 5s - across your reviews isn't as important as you may think.
So despite common misconceptions, having a few negative reviews here or there can actually be a good thing.
Reviews on yourMy Business page do not 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.
If this is the case, the review goes against Google's review policy, and you can flag it.
Google provides complete instructions for business owners to fix or flag reviews written on their My Business page. You can log into your Google My Business account and flag a review to Google, who may or may not moderate or remove it.
This includes reviews written without having experienced the product or business first hand, defamatory language, personal attacks and off-topic content.
Believe a review violates Google's policies? Here's how to flag it:
Flagging obviously fraudulent reviews is 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 distinguish verified from non-verified reviews.
If you feel you have been wrongly-reviewed, the best chance you have in getting a review removed from Google is to flag it.
Another path you may want to go down is responding to negative Google reviews directly. Often customers are fairly surprised to see a response to their feedback, especially on Google.
With a carefully tailored, polite review response, you can actually work with customers to solve their problem. Whilst this may not change their review score, it will showcase great customer service, lessening the impact of the negative review on other potential customer's impression of your business.
Additionally, you can actually use review replies to shine a light on fraudulent reviews. If you have no record of the order, say so. If you really believe the review is fake and have the grounds to prove it, don't be afraid of stating this.
Again, this will help other customers to know which reviews can be trusted. It may also aid Google in recognising which flagged reviews are fake, meaning they're more likely to take them down.
With replies come another benefit - you could actually ask your negative reviewers to alter their feedback. Perhaps you've resolved their problem or maybe they've got your business confused with someone else? If so, point this out, then politely ask them to edit or remove their review.
Unlike businesses, consumers are able to edit and delete Google reviews that they leave.
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.
So if you're worried about your reputation, the answer is simply to actively collect more Google reviews from your customers.
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 won't generally take time out of their day to review a company.
That is, unless you prompt them.
If your happy customers are just asked to write a review, they will.
It's easy to collect more positive Google reviews with REVIEWS.io.
Our Local Reviews feature enables you to send your reviewers to various other sites to leave feedback, including Google.
We also have Review Boosters, which allow you to invite past customers to review you too. This generates a huge influx in review collection, meaning it's easy to bury the few negative reviews you may have with a wealth of happy customer testimonials.
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 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 likely 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.
Want help turning your Google reviews around? We're here to help. Sign up for a free 14-day trial with us today, or jump on live chat now with one of our advisors to get the ball rolling.