You open your Google Business Manager dashboard and see several new reviews. You are happy, until you read them. One of them is a very negative review about your products or the experience at your premises. You are not sure what to do. Your first instinct is to make it go away. But how can you delete Google reviews?
The short answer to this question is that you cannot do this. Only the person who wrote the review can delete it. Or, Google can take it down for valid reasons. In this article, we will look at the entire picture: how to report a Google review and what to do about negative reviews.
How Can You Get Google to Take Down Reviews?
Google has clear guidelines for everyone: businesses keeping listings and individuals posting ratings and reviews. These guidelines indicate prohibited and restricted content posted by users which may be taken down.
- Civil discourse – harassment, hate speech, offensive content, personal information
- Deceptive content – fake engagement, impersonation, misinformation, misrepresentation
- Mature content – obscenity and profanity, sexually explicit content, adult-themed content, violence and gore
- Regulated, dangerous and illegal content – child safety, terrorist content, restricted products and services
- Information quality – off-topic, advertising and solicitation, gibberish and repetitive content.
So, your first task if you want to delete Google reviews is to read the negative comment carefully and find out which one of these guidelines it may break. If the writer uses expletives, the breach is under the “Mature content” category. If you find out that it is a competitor posing as an individual user, it falls under the “Deceptive content” category.
Steps to Delete a Google Review by Flagging It as Inappropriate
You can report false and malicious negative reviews to Google in three ways, which we will detail below:
1. Flagging a Review on a Computer
If you are at the laptop and want to flag a Google review, sign in to your Google Business Profile account. Select the listing where you found the negative review (if you operate several locations).
Next, find the Reviews tab in the menu and click on it. Find the offensive review, click the three vertical dots next to it and select “Flag as inappropriate”.
2. Flagging a Negative Review on a Mobile Phone
Go to your Google Business app and select the Customers options. Tap on Reviews and scroll until you find the negative review.
Just like on a computer, tap the three vertical dots next to the review and then tap the “Flag review” option.
3. Flagging a Review through Google Maps
You can access Google Maps, either on a computer or on a mobile phone, to find and delete a Google review by flagging it.
Open the Maps app on a mobile or maps.google.com on your computer. Find your listing and go to the review you wish to flag. Tap or click on the three vertical dots and select “Flag as inappropriate”.
How Long Does It Take for Google to Remove a Review?
Google analyses each report carefully. The company is not keen to impede free speech, so the decision to take down a review is not easily taken. You may have to wait for several days until you get a decision – and it may not always be the one you hoped for.
However, businesses also benefit from certain protective measures from Google. The company automatically filters spam or obviously fake reviews and removes them before you even notice them.
Things You Can Do While Google Analyses Your Report
So, you can’t delete Google reviews and you have to wait for the company to do so. Does this mean you simply wait while other potential clients can see that negative review? The answer is no.
You can show other people that you represent a business that genuinely cares about its customers. Here are some simple things to do:
1. Respond to the Review as Quickly as Possible
You must show that you are aware of the review and it matters for your business. Keep your tone friendly and polite and ask for more details about the person’s unpleasant experience.
2. Offer to Solve the Client’s Problem
Some negative reviews are genuine, some are not. At the beginning, you should start by treating all of them as genuine. Thus, ask the client to contact you in private, by email or phone, to discuss their grievance and work out a solution.
3. Do Not Get Drawn into Verbal Fights
Some people act in a manner that earned them the name of “trolls” on the internet. They simply wish to start fights with others and keep these fights going for as long as possible. If you get a rude reply to your sincere offer to understand the matter, do not reply in the same manner. Flag the inappropriate reply, as well, and wait for Google’s decision.
Remember that staying calm and polite while the other party is spewing abuse will actually work in your favour. People will perceive that it is not a genuine review and has nothing to do with your products or services. Moreover, they will develop a sense of solidarity with the abused party in a comment exchange.
Although you cannot delete Google reviews, you can notify the company that someone is unjustly giving your business a bad name. Continue to be helpful and professional in all online interactions and you will see that your reputation will not suffer from someone’s malicious wish to damage it.