How to Delete a Review on Google
Although advertising is still very powerful today, consumers have more access to product information than ever before, and they typically rather rely on personal recommendations and other users’ reviews. Google has become such an inherent part of our lives that we almost automatically consult it when choosing a restaurant, selecting a travel destination, looking for a car wash service, and what have you.
Therefore, if you run any kind of business, good reviews on Google can help you establish a trustworthy reputation and boost sales, raise brand awareness and reach your target audience more easily. But what happens when you get a bad review on Google? Does one bad review jeopardize all the efforts you invested in developing your business, building trust with your audience, perfecting your service/product, etc.? One or just a few bad reviews, as opposed to a great number of good ones, will most probably not hurt your business in any way. A few bad reviews can even help you look more trustworthy – rarely does anyone buy into the image of perfection today. On the other hand, if you’re just starting and one of the few reviews you got is bad, you’d probably do better without it.
Bearing all this in mind, in this article, we will show you how you can delete a review on Google, as well as explore the reasons why you may be getting bad reviews and what else you could do about them apart from deleting them. Stay with us to find out more about:
Google reviews hold the reputation of being objective, and therefore they are trusted by many people. But, that does not mean your business is protected from malicious and unfair reviews that can come from a competitor or an unrealistically demanding consumer. You can get many types of bad reviews that can hurt your business and do not really reflect the quality you offer. These include:
Reviews that attack you or your employees personally, cross the business line, and use offensive language.
Spam, offensive or inflammatory reviews that may contain links leading to your competitors’ websites.
Reviews that contain threats that are explicit, vulgar, or of a sexual nature.
Reviews that do not describe your business, product, or service but are only focused on the personal, unrealistic expectations of a consumer.
Reviews that promote the language of hate and cultural, gender, racial, or any other kind of discrimination.
Fake reviews, written in the name of people (experts in the field) that do not really exist.
Reviews that a business has paid in exchange for some kind of benefit – discount, free goods, and/or services, and similar.
Reviews containing deceptive or misleading health or medical information, as these can be seriously harmful.
Reviews that contain offers of illegal trade, illegal products, or similar illegal activities.
Repeating reviews that make no sense and have no connection to your business.
Although such bad reviews are often obviously fake and have nothing to do with your business, they may be deeply disturbing to your potential consumers. It is only natural that a consumer wants to simply distance themselves from threatening content that has nothing to do with them or with the product/service they were looking for.
Luckily, the Google Review policy accounts for all these and many similar cases, so it is possible to delete such bad reviews. But, you will have to be able to prove that they are against the Google Reviews rules.
Suppose you are unsure whether a bad review you got is actually against Google’s review rules. In that case, a quick way to check is to think in terms of how the review is harmful to potential consumers apart from harming your business reputation. It is not enough just not to like the review you’ve got. To make sure you have the right to report the review, we encourage you to read through Google’s review rules and see how the problematic review you’ve got fits in with Google’s definition of harmful content.
There are five criteria against which the content of reviews is classified as forbidden or restricted by Google’s review policy. If the content violates the civil discourse, is deceptive, is obscene or violent, is dangerous or illegal, or the quality of information is questionable – you have the grounds to ask for deleting the review.
Generally, you can consider Google as a friend to your business when it comes to reviews. It even offers a free digital Marketing Kit that consists of posters, stickers, social posts, and other types of content to help you encourage your consumers to leave reviews.
The whole concept of Google reviews is to encourage honesty and provide objective information for consumers. Therefore, arbitrary censorship of reviews is simply not possible as it is directly opposed to the idea of providing objectivity. If you deserve an honest and fair bad review, the only way to make the situation better is to explain the mistake or improve your product/service. But, in the majority of other cases, when the bad review is not justified, you can count on protection from Google.
There is no way you can delete a review on Google written by someone else without getting approval from Google. The first step to getting a review deleted is to bring it to Google’s attention. That practically means you need to report the review to Google.
To flag a review, go to your Google My Business account and select the business the review is referring to. Of course, if you have just one business associated with your Google My Business Account, there’s no selection to be made. The next step is to select the reviews you wish to flag. You will notice a three-dot menu next to the targeted review. Click on it, and then select flag as inappropriate. Now, the offensive review is reported to Google.
There’s no way to know how fast Google will react, but it usually does not take less than 24 hours for the review to be deleted. One way to speed up the process is to ask others to flag the selected review, too, as the more people find it offensive, the greater the chance Google will react swiftly.
Steps to Take if It Takes Too Long to Wait For Google’s Reaction
In case it takes too long for Google to take action, don’t fret. You also have the option of resorting to Google Small Business Support by visiting the www.support.google.com/business page. State clearly the reason for reaching out by typing in remove reviews in the designated field.
You will be directed to the page with more information about removing reviews, and you will also be offered the option to contact the Help Center via email.
The whole process of reporting an issue with reviews is intuitive, and you will be automatically guided through it once you start it. After your report has been sent, you can expect to receive the first feedback in about 24 hours.
You can make many different kinds of mistakes, and posting a review that does not do justice to your or someone else’s business, a review that doesn’t make much sense, or is simply outdated or unnecessary for any other reason is a mistake anyone can make. In terms of Google reviews, Google makes it much easier to correct your own wrongdoing than the wrongdoing of others, so deleting a review you posted on Google is simple and easy.
To remove your own review on Google, log in to your Google account. It doesn’t matter whether you log in to Gmail, Chrome browser, or some other Google service – the procedure can be done from any of these login screens. Next, go to Google Maps. You will notice a three-line menu in the upper left corner of the screen.
Click on it and select Your contributions from the menu.
This will open the section containing all your reviews. Simply find and select the ones you want to delete and then choose the Delete option from the menu that opens when you click on the three dots in the upper right corner of the review. You will also be offered the option to edit the review. The choice is up to you.
And, that’s it. You don’t need to wait for Google to approve for you to delete your own review. It is all done in just a couple of clicks.
It is not easy to establish a business and earn a solid reputation. If the first thing you think of when you see a bad review is to delete it as soon as possible, that’s a perfectly normal reaction. But, remember that even when the review is bad, deleting it may not be the best way to handle it. Not every bad review is a serious threat to your reputation. Sometimes, you can smooth the situation simply by responding to the review in a calm and reasonable manner. Admitting a mistake and showing the will to compensate for it can do wonders for your public image. You also always have the option to turn directly to the person who left the review to ask for an explanation or offer compensation.
In cases when you believe a review can severely damage your business image and reputation, a wise approach would be to consult a PR crisis approach. Many big brands managed to completely repair their reputation thanks to smart tactics designed by expert PR agencies. Of course, you’re probably not going to hire a PR agency due to a couple of bad reviews, but you could learn a lot about maintaining your brand image just by studying how some famous companies handled their PR crises.
Bad reviews are often very triggering, and that’s what you should focus on – stay cool, avoid arguing, and don’t try to outsmart the already dissatisfied consumer. If the mistake is really yours, don’t hesitate to admit it. Although it doesn’t feel good at the moment, this kind of attitude may actually enhance your trustworthiness in the long run.
A bad review is a good reminder that you should always have a prepared tactic for reacting whenever faced with criticism or some other type of crisis that threatens your business reputation. By staying prepared, you are also minimizing the possibility of being triggered to react in an inadequate manner and make the situation even worse. You are probably aware of your weaknesses in terms of business, so it might be very helpful to come up with a few scenarios that include the type of bad reviews you could get and the best course of action you can take to minimize the consequences.
It is safe to say that Google will back you up in case you get reviews that are not only bad but also potentially harmful for consumers and internet users in general. And since you surely can handle realistic criticism that comes in the form of objective but not flattering reviews, the wise thing you can always do is focus on the quality of your offer rather than worry about a few bad reviews.