Google reviews can make a big difference in the success of any online business. But while there are some basic guidelines for posting reviews, business owners often ignore them. Positive reviews can boost your sales and increase your income, which is why so many businesses use various ways to fake reviews.
If you ever run into a fake review, you can take action and report it to Google. This will remove every suspicious comment, giving users real feedback about what the company is about. Stick around and learn how to do that.
Fake Reviews and Their Consequences
No matter if the fake reviews are positive or negative, they can create many problems for your online business. You have to know how to deal with them correctly to make sure they don’t affect the overall status of your company. Here’s what to do when you encounter fake reviews.
Fake Negative Reviews
Some competitors use dirty tricks to divert potential customers away from your website. They may write negative reviews about your services, hoping to sabotage your success. Sometimes, ex-employees or business partners use Google reviews to get back at you for firing them. These are the most dangerous kind of fake reviewers, as they know more about your company than anyone else. You can still report them to Google, but sadly, there’s no guarantee that they will be removed.
Fake Positive Reviews
With fake positive reviews, things are a little more complicated. You have to be 100% sure that a review is false, which is sometimes easier said than done. So, if you’re wondering how to spot fake reviews, here are some common signs that give them away:
- You can’t find the name of the person who posted the review in your customer database. That means that a competitor most likely lied in the review.
- You can find similar comments made by the same person on other businesses. If he/she posts 1-star ratings all over Google, they could be a dedicated troublemaker.
- If the review doesn’t have anything to do with your services, chances are that someone posted it by mistake.
- The review is packed with false information.
Spotting fake reviews is the easy part. When you’re sure that a review is fake, the next step is to do all you can to make it disappear.
How to Remove Fake Reviews
The first thing you can do is to answer the review diplomatically. Try to expose the fraud by asking more direct questions – for example, ask what service they used and when, or ask for more details about the issue. Odds are that you won’t get a response. When that happens, you’re left with a few options that could help you remove the fake review.
Flag Suspicious Reviews
The easiest way of removing a fake review, whether it’s good or bad, is to report it to Google. Open the review in question, and a small flag icon will appear next to the name of the person who posted it. Click on it and choose “Flag as inappropriate” in the options that pop up. You can do the same thing on Google Maps by clicking on the three dots next to any review.
You will then arrive at the report page where you have to provide more information about the review. Select the correct reason for reporting the review, and Google will check if it’s fake or not. If your hunch was right, Google might contact you for additional information. You can ask your colleagues or friends to flag the same review to make Google take care of it sooner.
Reporting Fake Reviews Using Google Small Business Support
If the flagging doesn’t work, you can try using the Google Small Business support feature next. You should wait for about a week for the reported review to disappear, but if it doesn’t, contact Google My Business by completing the following steps:
- Log into your Google My Business page.
- Find the “Reviews” section.
- Select the home menu and choose “Support.”
- Choose the contact method. It’s either Email or Phone.
- Provide the information asked and attach a screenshot of the suspicious review. Include as much information about it as possible.
- Hit “Submit,” and Google will get back to you in two business days.
What Information to Provide
You should include as much information about the fake review as possible when submitting a removal request. Here are some of the questions you should answer when reporting a fake review:
- Which policies are violated by the review?
- Why isn’t the review legitimate?
Include a screenshot of the review, as well as screenshots of more fake reviews made by the same person.
The two methods above are the most frequently used ones for reporting fake reviews, but you can also contact Google support via Twitter. Here is how you do that:
- Sign into twitter.
- Send a tweet to the Google Small Biz team from your business’s account.
- Explain the situation in detail when someone replies.
Know that it takes the Google Small Biz team up to 48 hours to respond.
Clear Your Name
Google reviews can make a big difference when it comes to the success of your business, so you must make sure that your customers are happy. Fake reviews left by your competitors or other people who envy your success could put your business at risk, so you should do everything you can to take them down as soon as possible. If you’re lucky, the methods above should help you do just that.
Have you had to deal with malicious reviews before? Tell us about the experience in the comment section below.