Can You Remove a Google Review?

Can You Remove a Google Review?
In short answer: Yes and no. Yes, because you have an opportunity to remove a Google review that is made for your business. On the other hand, no, because you can’t be sure 100% that the Google review is going to be removed.

There are some methods you can follow to be sure a review will be removed but you have to provide logical reasons. Otherwise, the review might stay there forever.

I’m pretty sure that you wonder how you can remove a Google review right now. So, let's find an answer to the question “How can you remove a Google review with different methods?” and ensure that your business's digital front is as impressive as its services. 

But before delving into it, it is necessary to understand the importance of Google reviews for your business regarding SEO.

What is a Google Review?

A Google review is a feature provided by Google that allows customers to publicly rate and review businesses on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, and leave comments about their experience. 

These ratings and reviews appear next to a business’s listing in Maps and Search, offering a quick snapshot of your customers' experiences.

Google reviews of Hard Rock Cafea

The Google review feature has become popular for its transparency and accessibility, making it a trusted source for customers trying to understand a business's credibility and service quality. 

For businesses, these reviews offer an opportunity to engage with customers, improve their services, and enhance their online reputation.

Why are Google Reviews Important for SEO?

Google reviews influence how search engines perceive the relevancy, reliability, and reputability of your business. The reviews stand as a form of social proof, enhancing credibility not only amongst your clientele but also in the eyes of Google's search algorithms. 

To further elaborate, here are some of the ways Google reviews can affect your SEO:

💫 Improving Local SEO: When customers voice their positive experiences with your business in Google reviews, they essentially endorse the quality and value of your services. Google's algorithms take note of these endorsements, associating your business with high quality, consumer satisfaction, and overall trustworthiness - all key factors in improving local SEO.

💫 Influencing Click-Through Rates: When potential customers see positive reviews and high ratings, they are more likely to trust your business and hence, click on your listing. Thus, Google reviews can directly impact your click-through rates (CTR), serving as an appealing invitation to prospective clients.

💫 Increasing Customer Engagement: Every review, positive or negative, invites an opportunity to interact with your customer base – to thank them for positive feedback or to address any concerns noted in negative reviews. Such activity signals ongoing engagement with customers and builds a sense of community, which Google's search algorithms interpret as high user-interaction.

What is Google’s User Contributed Content Policy?

Google promotes straightforward and respectful interactions between businesses and their customers. 

To maintain high standards and ensure respectful collaboration, Google enforces a policy – the User Contributed Content Policy. 

The policy revolves around these main expectations:

✅ Respect: Google expects user-contributed content to be respectful, so no content that discriminates or harasses others based on race, sex, religion, etc., is permitted. Reviews should objectively reflect a consumer's experience and not target individuals negatively.

✅ Authenticity: Only genuine experiences or opinions are accepted in reviews. Spam and fake content are strictly against Google’s content policy.

✅ Safety: Google prioritizes user safety, strictly prohibiting violent threats, explicit content, harmful activities, or invasion of privacy in user-contributed content.

✅ Legal Compliance: Google explicitly notes that user-contributed content should not violate any local laws or regulations, including copyright laws.

Infringing on these policy guidelines can make a review eligible for removal by Google's team.

When Should You Flag a Google Review?

a user giving a one star for a business

Deciding when to flag a Google review is a crucial decision. It's essential to keep in mind that you should only flag reviews that violate Google's content policy and are genuinely inappropriate, misleading, or unrelated.

Reviews that fall into the following categories can be potentially flagged:

🚩 Irrelevant Content: Reviews should be a reflection of personal experiences. If a review seems irrelevant or unrelated to your business, it may be eligible to be flagged.

🚩 Offensive or Hateful Content: Google's policy prohibits hate speech or offensive language. If a review uses profanity, discriminative language, or personal attacks, you're justified to flag it.

🚩 Fake Reviews: Sometimes, businesses are targeted with fraudulent reviews, possibly from a competitor. If you identify a review as potentially fake, and it cannot be validated with a real customer experience, flagging it could be an appropriate response.

🚩 Reviews Violating Privacy: If a review shares personal information, including yours as a business owner or your employees - for example, mentioning someone's full name - it can be flagged for violating privacy.

How to Remove a Google Review in 3 Different Ways

Even successful businesses with great services are not immune to receiving negative reviews. 

Unfortunately, you can't delete Google reviews yourself. But you can flag fraudulent or inappropriate reviews to Google, who may remove them based on the violation of their policy guidelines.

A well-managed review profile can significantly improve your business's online reputation. So, let’s explore how.

Method 1) Report a Review in Google Search Results

Search your business on Google

After you find your business profile, click on ‘Reviews’. If you find a review you’d like to remove, click on the three dots and then on ‘Report review’.

reporting a google review

You’ll see a list with types of violations. Select the one you want to report.

report review screen

Method 2) Flag a Review in Google Maps

Open Google Maps and find your business. 

Click on ‘Reviews’ and find the review you’d like to remove. Click on the three dots and then on ‘Flag as inappropriate’.

reporting a review on Google Maps

On the list, select the type of violation you want to report.

report review on Google Maps

Method 3) Flag a Review in Your Business Profile

Sign in to your business profile

Click on ‘Reviews’ and find the review you’d like to report. Click on the three dots and choose ‘Flag as inappropriate’.

flagging a review on Business profile

Choose the reason why you’d like to report the said review from the following list.

reporting reasons

How to Address Negative Google Reviews Alternatively

While removing a review might often seem like the easiest way out, it isn't always the best course of action, especially when dealing with genuine negative feedback.

In certain situations, especially if the upward review is from a disgruntled customer, involving Google and flagging their review might end up escalating the situation. The customer could potentially retaliate by posting more negative reviews, creating a harder situation for your business to handle.

However, with the right strategies, you can make your business soar even in the face of negative reviews. 

Here are some steps to address negative Google reviews:

🎯 Confirm the Review is for Your Business: Sometimes, customers may mistakenly post reviews meant for another business, causing unnecessary negative publicity for your brand. If you suspect that a negative review wasn't meant for your business, you can politely ask the customer in your response to confirm. Also, you can report the review to Google for removal if it's proven to be indeed a mistake.

🎯 Respond to the Customer's Review: It's crucial to respond swiftly and professionally to show that you value their feedback and are dedicated to resolving any issues they may have experienced. Write a polite and professional response to the review. Acknowledge their feedback, apologize for their negative experience, and guide them on how you intend to rectify the situation. Maintain an empathetic and professional tone in your reply. 

🎯 Solve the Customer's Problem: If an issue is highlighted in a review, take immediate action to correct it. This does not only assure the complaining customer of your commitment to excellent service but also prevents more customers from facing the same issue and perhaps leaving similar negative reviews. You can reach out to the customer to understand their problem better and communicate the steps you're taking to rectify the situation. 

🎯 Follow Up with Customers: Once the problem is fixed, make sure to follow up with the customer and inform them about the resolution. A proactive follow-up with customers who left negative reviews shows that your business values customer satisfaction and is dedicated to providing quality service. Don’t just assume that the problem disappeared after you have taken action. Instead, request confirmation from the customer, ensuring their problem was indeed resolved to their satisfaction.

🎯 Ask the Customer to Delete it: After resolving their issue, contact the customer, remind them of their review, let them know about the steps taken to rectify the situation and how their feedback helped your business do better. Politely request that they reconsider their review based on the remedial actions taken. However, you can only request, the decision to delete or alter the review lies in their discretion.

Final Thoughts

a hand drawing holding a mobile phone which appears google maps reviews on screen

Google reviews sit strongly as a potent vessel for businesses – large or small, to build your reputation, enhance trust amongst your customers, and ultimately drive profitable customer action. 

However, if you stumble upon a negative review you’d like to remove, there are some steps of action you can take.

Make it a habit to check your Google reviews regularly. This practice ensures you promptly spot both negative and positive reviews, and you can react to them much quicker. You can report such reviews and flag them as inappropriate. 

While damaging, negative reviews offer unique opportunities to showcase your commitment to customer satisfaction. Make sure to respond to such reviews courteously and offer to rectify any issues presented.

Your commitment to continual improvement will shine through your customer service, influencing more positive reviews!

🔎 See also:

- How to Add Keywords to Google My Business

- PPC for Small Businesses: 8 Tips & Tricks

- How to Search for PDFs on Google (3 Methods)