4 Reliable Ways To Remove Google Reviews For Your Business
After all the hard work you put into marketing your business, receiving a one-star Google review can feel like a slap in the face. And to protect your brand’s stellar reputation, it’s natural to want to erase it from your business profile and prevent other customers from seeing it. But can you actually remove Google reviews? Or will you find yourself shouting into the wind?
Let’s find out.
Can you remove fake or bad Google reviews?
You can remove fake or bad Google reviews from your profile, but only if they violate one of Google’s content policies. These policies are extensive. They will consider removing any reviews that fall under the following descriptions:
- Spam or fake content
- Hate speech
- Offensive content
- Personal information
- Fake engagement (like paying someone to leave a review)
- Impersonating someone
- Misrepresentation (false accounts of the business)
- Obscenity and profanity
- Sexually explicit content
- Violence & gore
- Restricted content
- Dangerous content
- Illegal content
- Child safety
- Terrorist content
- Off-topic content
- Advertising & solicitation
- Gibberish & repetitive content
Google will not consider removing reviews that you don’t like or agree with. There are 213 million companies in the world,3 so you can understand their hesitancy to get involved, as well as their need for strict policies.
Finding breaches of Google’s policies in your reviews can be tough. In some cases, you’ll need to know which specific words constitute a breach before you can think about reporting it to Google. That’s why some review removal companies hire lawyers to carry out their services, because they have the skills to be more successful (more on these companies later).
Why should you remove Google reviews?
Social proof plays a key role in people’s buying decisions. According to NiceJob, 97% of customers say reviews influence their choice on whether to buy products or services.1 A survey from BrightLocal puts this figure a little lower at 81%, but these are still big numbers.2 In addition to this, 90% of customers believe reviews to be more important than what salespeople say.1
A high average rating on Google can be the difference between a customer choosing a competitor over you. So if your business has been plagued by fake reviews from disgruntled employees, internet trolls, or competitors themselves, getting them removed should be a priority because they can have a big impact on your business. The higher your average rating, the better your brand’s reputation in the eyes of your prospects and customers, and the more revenue you will generate.
4 effective ways to remove Google reviews
Unfortunately, there’s no simple “delete” button when it comes to removing Google reviews. But while the following processes are more time-consuming (and potentially expensive), they have been proven to work.
Before you consider removing the review, it’s a good idea to respond to it anyway. 89% of consumers are highly or fairly likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews.2 If you believe that the review is fake or spammy, you can respond with something like “we couldn’t find you in our system, please contact us on [phone number].” This shows other people that the review is not from a genuine customer, and helps to boost your reputation. For more information, check out our article on how to respond to a negative Google review.
Now let’s get down to it. Here are the four most effective ways to remove Google reviews from your business profile.
1. Report the review to Google
If you believe that the review has violated one of Google’s content policies (as discussed above), you can report it. If a genuine violation has occurred, there’s a good chance that Google will play ball and delete the review for you.
There’s a few different places you can report these reviews to Google. These have all been taken directly from Google’s help documentation:
When you’re on Google Maps, you can report the review using the following steps:
- Find your Business Profile.
- Find the review you'd like to report.
- Click More Flag as inappropriate.
When you’re on Google Search, complete the following steps:
- Find your Business Profile.
- Click Google Reviews.
- Find the review you'd like to report.
- Click More Report review. Select the type of violation you want to report.
Google Business profile
If you’re on your Google Business profile, complete these steps:
- Choose the review you’d like to report:
- Single business: Open the profile you'd like to manage. On the left, in the menu, click Reviews.
- Multiple businesses: On the left, in the menu, click Manage reviews. Then use the drop-down menu to choose a location group. (This option is not for organisation accounts).
- On the review you'd like to flag, click More Flag as inappropriate.
Once you report a review to Google, it can take several days for them to assess the review and decide whether to remove it.
2. Solve the customer’s problem, and ask them to remove the review
If the negative review is genuine, you may be able to solve the customer’s issue and ask them to remove it once done. This leads to a happy customer and a higher Google rating.
This kind of thing does require finesse. You’ll want to apologise for their experience regardless of whether you’re in the wrong, and try not to get defensive when communicating with them. Your number one goal is to solve their problem and make them happy. If you have their phone number, calling them can be more fruitful because people are usually a bit more meek on the phone (rather than being keyboard warriors).
You might even consider offering them some kind of deal to sweeten them up. When you consider how much business you can lose from bad reviews, the investment is usually worth it.
If you’ve been successful and the customer has agreed to remove the review, here’s how they can do it:
- Open Google Maps.
- Click the three-lined “hamburger” menu icon on the top left
- Click “Your contributions”
- Click the “Reviews” tab
- Find the review on the left, click on the three-dotted icon for it, and choose “Delete review.”
3. Use a review removal business
If you’re unsure whether your review breaches one of Google’s content policies, and aren’t confident enough to submit the removal by yourself, you can use the services of a review removal business. These companies usually have teams of lawyers who will comb through the contents of your review and pick out language and details that they believe are enough to get it removed, before processing the removal request for you.
This can be an effective way to get your reviews removed, but comes at a heavy cost. You can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1000 AUD per review, with some companies offering a “no win, no fee” guarantee, and others not. Timeframes for removal are between a few days to a few months depending on the complexity of each review.If you’re interested in this service, the following companies offer it:
- Remove Digital
- Internet Removals
4. File a legal removal request to Google
If you believe that a Google review violates the law or your rights, you can get a little more serious and submit a “legal removal” request through this page. Before doing so, you may want to get some advice from a lawyer about whether the review genuinely falls under this category. The legal road can be treacherous and exorbitant, so this is obviously a last resort when it comes to removing a Google review.
What if I can’t remove a Google review?
If you’ve tried everything without luck, and the stubborn one-star review is there to stay, what else can you do?
If you can’t delete your negative reviews, the next best thing is to overwhelm them with positivity. Make it your mission to get as many 5-star reviews as possible, so that the bad reviews are slowly buried under a mass of happy customers, and are much less likely to be seen.
You can do this in a couple of different ways:
- Use Google review management software—this is software that periodically asks your customers to leave reviews via text message or email. They make the process super easy for the customer, who can usually leave a review within a couple of minutes and a few clicks. They also send out reminders to those who have forgotten, which can massively boost the number of reviews that you get. Companies who offer this software include BirdEye, Podium, GatherUp, and many more. Pricing for the software starts at about $100 AUD a month.
- Ask people manually for reviews—if you’re not willing to pay for reputation management software, you can get into the habit of asking customers to leave reviews after you’ve had a positive experience with them. This is as easy as creating an email template to fire off once the conversation is done—they are much more likely to leave you a good review if you just made them happy! This process can also be easily automated if you’re using software like HubSpot or another quality CRM.
With a little diligence, you won’t need to remove Google reviews. You can overwhelm them with satisfying 5-star reviews instead.
- Connor J. Wilson, How Online Reputation Marketing Improves Rankings, Traffic & Sales, NiceJob
- Jamie Pitman, Local Consumer Review Survey 2022: Customer Reviews and Behavior, BrightLocal
- D.Clark, 2021, • Global companies 2020, Statista