A Google review is valuable for businesses looking to boost their online presence. Reviews can help your business increase visibility on the web by improving the visibility of your Google Business Profile. Reviews can make it easier for customers to find you, read honest customer feedback, and decide whether or not to do business with you.
What is a Google Review?
Google reviews have two main components: an overall star rating (on a scale from one to five stars) and written text. The Google review should be posted with the reviewer’s name and profile picture next to it so potential customers can identify the source of the review and verify its authenticity. Additionally, some reviewers may choose to attach images or videos depending on what type of service they received. By reading various positive and negative reviews, customers can understand your business and decide whether or not it is where they would like to purchase goods or services.
Can You Delete a Google Review?
Removing a Google review is more complex than hitting the delete button. The only way to delete a Google review is by having the person who posted it remove it or by flagging the review as inappropriate. When you flag a review, Google will investigate and decide whether or not to take action. Flagging a review begins by filling out a form that triggers an initial AI review. After submitting this form, an email will be sent for follow-up communication.
It’s important to understand that reviews are analyzed automatically with spam checkers, so actual human intervention may not always happen immediately. Additionally, even though the review might be taken down, there is no guarantee that it will never be seen again because some reviews are shared with third-party web pages. Therefore, it’s essential to closely monitor any online reviews for your business on different platforms.
How to Delete a Google Review Step-by-Step
1. Log in to the Google Business Profile email associated with your GBP account. This is usually your business Gmail rather than a personal account. When logged in, you can access your reviews from the “Your business on Google” section or the GBP under “Google reviews.” In the image below, you can see the 16 Google reviews in a blue hyperlink.
2. Next, select the link to your reviews and click on the three gray dots on the right side of the review that you want to report. (See the image below to locate the three gray dots.)
When you select reviews, a new window similar to the one below will appear:
3. Follow the prompts to report the review and confirm the “review for removal” report was received through your email.
When Can I Delete a Google Review?
Sadly, some people try to take advantage of the business review platform to harm businesses. Spammy reviews can harm your GBP’s ability to rank organically.
You can delete a Google review when it falls into these categories:
1. Off Topic – If the review lacks helpful context, such as referring to a different business as a better alternative, this is a reason to be deleted.
2. Spam – The reality is that fake reviews exist. If the review only offers one or two stars without comment, it’s crucial to investigate the profile that added the review. Many times, you’ll see that the reviewer has added negative reviews to multiple businesses at the same time. This is an easy way to prove you have a spam reviewer.
3. Conflicts of Interest – If a competitor or family member of a competitor leaves a negative review, it’s an apparent conflict of interest. Another example is that if you’re having a dispute with your landlord and they leave a negative review, you have cause to remove it.
4. Profanity – Google should automatically remove any review with offensive language; however, it’s good to quicken the process by submitting a removal request.
5. Bullying, harassment, discrimination, or hate speech – Google clearly defines these categories of inappropriate reviews on its support pages. It’s important to remember that an honest review is not bullying. However, if the language becomes threatening, you can request removal.
6. Personal information – If a review includes phone numbers, addresses, or names other than those publicly available, you have grounds to request removal.
Should I Delete Google Reviews?
The most recent statistics on consumer reviews reveal that positive and negative reviews can significantly impact consumer decisions.
- 99.75% of online shoppers occasionally read reviews, while 91% consistently read them to make decisions.
- 98% of shoppers say reviews are essential when making purchases.
- Nearly half (45%) of consumers will only purchase a product if reviews are available.
A negative review can significantly hurt your organic rankings, damage customer trust, and discourage potential buyers. Unsurprisingly, a company should care about its online reputation and why you, as the business owner, should consider deleting some Google reviews.
On the other hand, deleting reviews just because they’re negative doesn’t provide any real solution; it can also create mistrust amongst consumers as it looks like you’re trying to ‘hide’ something. Furthermore, deleting too many reviews may also hinder your SEO rankings, as Google will pick up on suspicious-looking behavior, such as a sudden burst of meritorious reviews that appear out of place in relation to others already published on the same account.
The best practice is, therefore, to always take feedback seriously and respond professionally and by Google’s policies and guidelines. There are several avenues for dealing with unhappy customers fairly and transparently that help improve their opinion of you without you having to delete the review.
A Google Business Profile aims to reach local customers searching for your products and services. Positive reviews encourage new customers to give your business a chance. However, satisfied customers will increase your retainment despite the occasional negative review.
What Happens When Google Won’t Remove a Review?
Google reviews aim to provide a platform for customers to share experiences. Sometimes, a business owner and customer differ on a service or overall experience. Customers are entitled to share legitimate negative experiences. When Google views a negative review as valuable, you have a few options.
1. Respond respectfully to the customer and share your perspective. Observers will take note of your professionalism. Read more about responding to negative customer reviews here.
2. Email or text your loyal customer base and ask for additional positive reviews. This request isn’t a suggestion to have people engage with the negative review. Instead, by adding positive reviews, you can tip the balance back in your favor and prove to customers that the negative review was an anomaly.
Do you need help removing fake content from your GBP? Are you interested in having a fully optimized Google Business Profile? Send us a message and learn more about our Local SEO strategies proven to improve your organic presence.