A poor Google review is every business owner’s nightmare, especially if you think that the comments are unreasonable or fake reviews.
We feel you. A negative comment on a review site such as Google business listing, TripAdvisor, or Yelp, or a series of negative feedback, can seriously undermine the blood, sweat, and tears you have invested in your business over the years.
In this post, we will show you a few ways how you can get an inappropriate review removed from your Google Business Profile.
- Why should you delete inappropriate Google reviews?
- Can you delete Google reviews?
- Cases of inappropriate Google Reviews
- Option 1: Delete Google Reviews with Flag as inappropriate
- How to make sure that Google will delete your flagged review?
- Option 2: Ask the reviewer to delete their Google review
- Option 3: File a Legal Removal Request
- Option 4: Tweet or contact teams at Google
- 2. Contact Google via email or chat
- Alternatives to deleting a bad Google review
- Reasons why not to delete some Google reviews
- How to delete a review you left on Google?
- FAQs about deleting Google Reviews
- Key Takeaways
Why should you delete inappropriate Google reviews?
Most of the local businesses have a Google Business Profile where they manage their business listing and receive most of their negative and positive feedback.
The previous customer experience is very important for potential customers, and Google reviews can help you get more customers and build a better reputation.
Today, a review of your business can make or break your success.
But sometimes, something can go wrong, and you might get a bad review. Thus, as a five star review on Google can help you attract new customers, bad reviews can harm your business.
However, regarding deleting Google reviews, remember that not every negative review should be deleted. In other words, you can delete reviews only if they violate Google’s policies, such as spammy reviews that manipulate ratings.
Face that not all customers can be satisfied with your products or services, and negative Google reviews are part of the business reality. Therefore, if you made an honest mistake, it’s good practice to answer the bad review with a solution to the problem. That way, people who are searching your business on Google can see that you are willing to help if your customers are not satisfied.
But, unfortunately, there will be bad Google reviews from fake profiles that are irrelevant, and they can really harness your online reputation. In such cases, you will be unable to find a solution and work it out. So they will still be visible to anyone searching your business and reduce your business’s Google rating. Hence, it’s best to remove Google reviews that are written with the intent to damage your business.
Can you delete Google reviews?
As a business owner, you cannot delete Google reviews but flag them as inappropriate, which is a reporting option for the Google service team to act on. Also, there are a few things you can do, outlined in the text below.
Google doesn’t enable businesses to remove reviews on their business profiles. This simply prevents businesses from deleting genuine reviews they got because of poor services.
To keep the reviews on Google business profiles real, there are two options to delete Google reviews. The first one is the person who wrote the review to delete it.
The second option is for businesses to ask Google to delete the review. However, to ask Google to delete a review, the review must go against Google’s policy about content.
Cases of inappropriate Google Reviews
Regarding content, Google has a policy that applies to all content formats, including reviews. Thus, Google automatically proceeds all reviews to detect inappropriate content. This includes spam and fake reviews.
But, if Google doesn’t detect a comment that goes against their policy, and you think it classifies as one of the following cases, you still have a chance to report and ask Google to delete the review. Then Google can take down the review to comply with Google policies or legal obligations.
The first case of inappropriate Google reviews is those that contain harassment, hate speech, offensive content, or personal information.
Hence, you can request Google to delete the review if the review has an intent to harass other people or businesses. This case includes a specific threat of harm against individuals or defined groups of people, unwanted sexualization or objectification of a person, claims about a person’s sexual orientation, sexual activities, or gender identity, and more.
It’s also forbidden to write Google reviews that include any form of hate speech and offensive content that is clearly and deliberately provocative and aims to attack other individuals or groups.
This part of the policy also protects personal and confidential information. Therefore, you can delete a Google review if it contains credit cards, medical records, government-issued identification, and more.
Google is also against fake engagement, impersonation, misinformation, and misrepresentation. That’s why every review that doesn’t reflect a genuine experience can be flagged, and Google will delete the review.
When businesses exchange discounts, free goods, and/or services for a review also counts as fake engagement and goes against Google policy. Merchant requests for revision or removal of a negative review through offerings are not allowed too.
Google reviews seeking to impersonate any person, group, or organization, as well as those with false, inaccurate, or deceptive information, are also against Google’s policy and can be deleted.
Another case of prohibited Google reviews is those using profanity or obscenity to offend other users or emphasize criticism. Also, to make Google a safe place to explore the world, sexually explicit reviews are also eligible to be deleted. This applies to every kind of adult-themed content that is not for educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic purposes.
Regulated, dangerous, and illegal
Furthermore, Google has a policy for some products or services subjects that are controlled by local regulations. Therefore, certain guidelines must be followed if a Google review contains alcohol, tobacco, gambling, guns, health and medical devices, adult services, etc. For example, those reviews may not feature CTA or offers for selling products or services subject to local legal regulations.
Lastly, you can delete Google reviews if they contain political, general, or social commentary or personal rants. Besides off-topic reviews, this includes advertising, repetitive, and gibberish reviews.
The reason why you need to delete Google reviews that are irrelevant is that they can dilute useful information you want to deliver to prospective customers that are interested to find out more about your business.
Option 1: Delete Google Reviews with Flag as inappropriate
If, after reading this, you are still feeling the urge to remove a Google review, here are the screenshots of the steps you should take:
- Open your Google my business account
- In the left menu, click on the ‘Reviews’ option
- Find the review you want to remove
- Click the three dots menu and click ‘Flag as inappropriate‘.
5. Select one of the given options on what is wrong with the review (not relevant to this place, conflict of interest, offensive or sexually explicit, privacy concern or legal issue)
6. Click on the ‘Report’ button
That’s it. If Google needs further clarification, their support team will follow up with you via email.
Or watch the video below:
Due to high demand, expect delays in the processing of your flag/request. Please don’t flag the same review twice. Only reviews that violate Google’s content policy can be reported. Reviews that are negative or that you disagree with, but adhere to the content policy, won’t be removed.
How to make sure that Google will delete your flagged review?
While Google is getting more qualified at controlling reviews, with so many new reviews appearing each day, it’s hard to tackle them all.
It’s is why it is a good idea to become familiar with Google’s review policy and understand if your review has high chance of being deleted or will remain on your Google listing forever.
Here is a quick summary of a review content that Google does not permit:
- Spam content: same review content written multiple times from different profiles;
- Off-topic: review that is not related at all to your location, your product, or your service. This includes personal rants and political views, too.
- Offensive language: content that contains obscene language or lewd gestures;
- Dangerous and derogatory content: contains threats, harassment, discriminatory, or it’s fraudulent reviews.
- Conflict of interest: negative reviews about your competitors to mislead users and manipulate Google search engine rankings;
- Restricted or prohibited items: content that contains links, offers, or calls to action to things like alcohol, guns, tobacco, pharmaceutical items, and medical devices. It includes discount offers, coupon codes, or contact information to acquire restricted items;
- Illegal content: content that promotes illegal activity. It includes reviews that violate copyright, represents sexual abuse, cover banned products like unlawful drugs or trafficked animal products, portray violence, or is related to terrorist groups.
- Impersonation: content where a person dishonestly portrays themself as an individual, representative of a company or organization.
If the review belongs to one of these categories, it will eventually be removed from your listing.
If the review is not removed, and you strongly believe that it should be deleted, get in touch with Google itself.
Option 2: Ask the reviewer to delete their Google review
Knowing how to respond to bad reviews can be a big advantage for businesses when done right. Having a bad review doesn’t mean it’s the world’s end. You can still convert unsatisfied customers into lifelong promotors of your brand if you take care of their issues professionally.
When your business gets a bad review, the first thing to do is to understand the customer’s point of view. Is there something you can do to make things right for that customer?
If it’s something that can be easily solved, you can write a comment to their review and offer them your solution.
If you think the problem needs deeper discussion, it’s best to write a comment asking them to email you their feedback.
That way, the public will see that you offered help but won’t be able to see all the complaints. On the other hand, you can have an open conversation with the unsatisfied customer and get a clear perspective of what actually happened.
After you have addressed the issue and improved a customer’s experience with your business, you can courteously ask them to edit or delete the Google review. If you successfully solved their problem and asked politely, chances are they will change the review.
However, if they still don’t want to change, you can flag it and wait for Google to assess. Although, when you respond to a review, it’s harder to delete it since your response means you acknowledge that the review is accurate and relevant.
Worst case scenario, if the customer won’t delete or edit the review and Google won’t delete it, everybody can still see that you offered to help and that you had your customer’s best interests in mind. And in the end, such dedication speaks louder than a positive review itself.
3 tactics for talking with unsatisfied customers
Additionally, whether you decide to talk publicly or via email, some tips will help you ease the situation.
First, you must recognize and name the customer’s problem. For example, you can start with: It sounds like you had a poor experience with our services.
Next, you can show empathy and understanding of their emotions. Say that you would also be disappointed with such an experience and that you have a higher standard of doing things. Thus, the situation was obviously an honest mistake you want to take care of as soon as possible.
At last, guarantee that you will fix the issue as fast as you can. For example, say that you want an opportunity to make things right. If you don’t already have a solution for such situations, you can ask the customer to tell you what is the best way for them to solve their problem.
Option 3: File a Legal Removal Request
Filing a legal removal request is another option to delete Google reviews, that unfortunately applies only to a limited number of cases. This is only an option if the Google review is illegal.
Steps to file a legal removal request:
- Navigate to the Content removal tool.
- Select Google My Business.
- Answer the questions Google will ask you related to the review.
If you decide to file a legal removal request, you need to know that Google takes these cases very seriously. Hence, if you submit one of these reports, you might be alleging wrongdoing or illegal activity, so Google has to be sure that they follow the right protocol from start to finish.
Option 4: Tweet or contact teams at Google
If you tried all of the above options and still haven’t received a solution, you can complain to Google itself on a public medium. This will put pressure on Google because people can see what responses Google receives. Hence, this way, it behooves them to address those concerns when they arise.
To do so we suggest contacting Google on Twitter by tweeting to @GoogleMyBiz. Also, make sure to follow them so they can send you a direct message in return about your problem.
Additionally, to make the process quicker, you can attach any screenshots you have available to your tweet or DM. Don’t forget to include a short description and a link as well to Google’s Small Business department. This can help them get a better overall picture of the issue and address it directly and quickly.
Here are a few other ways you can contact Google:
1. Fill in details about your issue in a support form
- Log in to your Google My Business profile
- At the end of the left-hand menu, click ‘Support.’
- Click on ‘Contact Us’ and go through the steps to fill in your issue
2. Contact Google via email or chat
You can reach out to them via:
Alternatives to deleting a bad Google review
You already know that having negative reviews can impact your overall reputation. That’s the moment where you’re tempted to delete the bad ones.
But there are several tactics that can help you to bury the negative with positive ones. Here are some of them.
Respond to the negative review
It’s important to show that you care about your customers, even if they leave a negative review. By responding to their complaint and answering some of the questions raised in the review, potential future customers will see how much effort has gone into making sure every customer is satisfied with our products or services.
Here are some tips you should follow when responding to a negative Google review:
- Don’t lose your cool!
- Personalize the response
- Say thanks for their feedback
- Don’t get defensive, but instead aplologize and sympathize
- Ask for a second chance
Knowing how hard it can be to create the perfect response to an itchy review, we created bad review response templates you can use right away.
Get more positive reviews
Ok, everyone knows that having a bad review from time to time is normal for any small business. But if you have a bunch of positive reviews, the negative ones will remain at the very bottom line.
So, what you have to do is to ask your satisfied customers to give a review of your business. And there are many ways on how to ask for a Google review:
- Ask via email
- Ask via SMS
- Print QR codes on packages
- Embed a review button on your website
Promote your positive reviews
Reviews promotion can do wonders for your online reputation.
Showing off your best reviews on your website will encourage potential customers not just to make a purchase from you, but to leave another positive review as well.
You can use some of these ideas about where you can display your 5-star reviews:
- Display the reviews on your About us page
- Create a header of the best review you’ve got
- Embed a carousel of the top 10 reviews on your home page
- Place each product’s reviews next to it
- Create a dedicated reviews page
Reasons why not to delete some Google reviews
So, before you jump and flag the Google review as inappropriate, consider these few reasons why it’s okay to let bad reviews lie on your page. Sometimes they can actually help and not harm your business.
- Removing Google reviews will frustrate an already disappointed customer because you will clearly tell them you are not interested in their feedback.
- When someone leaves you a negative review about your company, consider this a chance to turn negative reviews into positive ones. Listen to what they are telling you, understand them, and suggest a solution.
- Positively responding to a negative comment shows the potential customers that you care about your clients and the lengths you will go to fix their issues.
- It is not natural for a business to have 100% positive reviews. Even companies with world-class customer service attract a negative review at some point. And that is okay.
- Perceive the comment like hiring your own mini focus group without having to pay for it. Take the feedback seriously and look for ways to apply it to your business.
- Improve customer experience and win them back. Then ask them to edit their online review of your business.
How to delete a review you left on Google?
As a user who has written a review, it’s easier to hit the delete button. You don’t need to go through all that struggle of flagging a review and hoping that Google will erase it.
Instead, you can delete your own review in a few simple steps:
- Open your Google account and navigate to Google Maps
- In the left menu, choose ‘Your contributions’
3. Click on the ‘Reviews tab’
4. Select the review you want to delete
5. Click the three vertical dot menu (shown on the screenshot below)
6. Choose if you want to edit, delete or add a photo to the review
We created a complete Google reviews guide to learn how you can get the most out of your reviews on Google, manage customer reviews and improve your online reputation management. Make sure to check it out.
FAQs about deleting Google Reviews
After you flag a Google review as inappropriate, it takes a few business days for Google to review your request. If Google agrees that the review goes against its policy, the review will be deleted within three days.
You need to know that you can’t delete every negative Google review just because you don’t like it. This means if a negative review doesn’t go against Google’s policy, it will stay visible on Google. If that happens to you, make sure to follow the tactic we’ve discussed above and answer the review to apologize and offer a solution to the problem.
No, Google won’t let reviewers know who reported their reviews unless it violates its terms of service. If you flag someone’s review, reviewers can go to the review’s page and see whether or not the review has been removed.
Google reviews are very important and impact your search results.
And not always will you receive positive reviews.
When you do receive a negative review, you must take the time to respond professionally.
But in cases when the reviews are obviously against Google policies, you should use some of the options described above to delete them.
Here is a list of when you should consider deleting a review:
- offensive review to some of your other customers
- Illegal content
- fraudulent review that is not about your business
- Fake content that is manipulated solely to hurt your business
- Spam reviews
This way, you can still protect your brand’s online reputation while adhering to Google’s guidelines.