I can feel your pain. I have dealt with many clients who call up in a panic because a competitor has left a bad review on their Google+ page. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop someone from leaving a bad review, but does this mean you should grit your teeth and get on with it?
Reviews are incredibly important in local SEO and fake reviews can have a hugely negative impact on your business. However, they can be removed from a Google+ page, but only if it is completely irrelevant or if it does not comply with Google’s review guidelines. A client once had a bad review on their Google+ page from one of its competitors that simply said ‘Dog’. As it was a pawly written review (I had to, I’m sorry) it was fairly easy to convince Google to remove it.
So there are two simple ways to remove a negative, irrelevant review:
Solution #1: Flag It
When you hover over a review, a little grey flag icon will appear which you click to report it to Google. Someone from Google will then review it and contact you back regarding the final outcome. Even if the fake review is worded as a genuine customer, I have seen reviews removed by Google once flagged so it is always worth trying.
Solution #2: Contact Google My Business Support
The other solution is to get directly in touch with the GMB Support team. There are several ways to get in touch, but a direct message on Twitter appears to be the most effective. You can find the GMB Twitter account here. You can usually find other ways to get in touch with them at the bottom of this link. This is pretty much the same as solution 1 but I have found that direct contact can sometimes work quicker.
It’s Not Over Yet
If you have received a negative review by a competitor who is pretending to be a customer, you may not be able to get it removed, but you can still do something about it. Google allows you to respond to reviews, so this is your chance to make it obvious to viewers that the review is fake.
I tend to tell my clients to respond with something along the lines of this:
“Dear Customer, I am sorry to hear that you are not satisfied with our service. I have checked our accounts and it appears that we don’t have your name listed as a previous customer, but I would be more than happy to deal with your problem if you could call us on …”
This is not a great example but you get the idea. It allows you to remain professional and apologise for the non-existent bad service but to also state that you can’t recall them being a customer, implying that it could be fake.
Reviews Increase Click-Through Rates by 28%
Getting a fake review as your first ever review on Google+ can be very frustrating. But it’s not as bad if the fake review has been added to a page that already has a handful of good reviews. It will still bring the average review score down, but at least it won’t show as a 1 star. We recommend our clients to get at least 3 positive reviews a month on the Google+ page. This will help them gradually build a nice portfolio of reviews that will eventually range back several months/years. If you are needing help with getting more reviews, have a think about implementing a review strategy or check out this guide on how to get more reviews on Google.
I check reviews of products and services more and more now, and out of the huge mass of great reviews a single product can receive, there will always be that one fussy person who is never satisfied with anything. How I see it is if you have 20 great reviews from that last 2 months and just one bad review somewhere in the middle, it makes the bad review look a little less believable.
I honestly hope this guide helps you recover from the dark side of fake negative reviews. If you can’t get the review removed, check out our post on how to overcome negative reviews on Google for more information. If you have a problem that is not answered in this blog post, feel free to get in touch and I will do everything I can to help you out.
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