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How Do I Remove a Negative Review on Google

It’s one of the most common questions we get from Central Florida business owners:

“How do I remove a negative review on Google?”

We get it. Sometimes, reviews aren’t fair. People who’ve had bad experiences with your brand are much more likely to speak up online than your biggest fans are. After all, they want to make their voice heard.

In order to maintain its image as a neutral “platform” instead of the judge of winners and losers, Google doesn’t allow a lot of interaction with its reviews. In fact, you can only actually remove a review when it violates Google’s terms of service or is totally irrelevant to your business.

If you have a legitimate dispute with a negative review, you need to have claimed your Google Business Profile (formerly “Google My Business.”) Locate the review you want to flag, and click the “meatball menu” (three vertical dots) then select “Flag as Inappropriate.” Then wait for Google to check it out.

In all other cases, you’re on your own.

But Wait – Don’t Some Businesses Advertise Review Removal?

Negative review removal doesn’t exist on any reputable website.

That includes Google, Yelp, Angie’s List (now called “Angi”), and more.

Yes, there are businesses that say they’ll remove negative reviews. These generally advertise as “public relations” or “reputation management” firms. They can send in a bunch of complaints and contest your reviews, but they’re unlikely to really get them removed.

More often, these companies astroturf your reviews by using their stable of poorly paid writers to create new, positive reviews that gradually drown negative ones out. Of course, few if any of those people will have real experience with your business.

Besides the obvious ethical problems, doing this can put your whole business in danger.

Google is very particular about how you, as a business owner, can interact with its platform. You aren’t allowed to provide any kind of monetary incentive for people to leave positive reviews for you, and this kind of service amounts to exactly that. You can end up being completely excluded from Google.

That adds up to thousands of customers over the lifetime of your business – simply gone.

The same is true of all those other big names, like Yelp.

They may make up a smaller percentage of your business, but losing them completely will hurt.

So, don’t go in for “reputation management.”

Only use ethical, trustworthy digital marketing.

Here’s What You CAN Do About Negative Reviews on Google

If you can’t make negative reviews go away, what can you do?

It takes some finesse, but how you respond to a negative review can make a difference.

Remember, when you post a response, you’re not just speaking to the reviewer. You’re also talking to all the people who might find that review weeks, months, or even years down the line. They’re looking for information about you and how you work. It’s time to showcase your professionalism.

You can’t always change a negative reviewer’s mind, but you can have a positive influence.

Here’s how:

Respond in an Impartial, Non-Emotional Way

It’s crucial not to respond to a negative review with anger, name-calling, or finger-pointing, even if the reviewer is doing all of the above and more. Maintain a tone that’s neutral or cordial. Don’t downplay the person’s concerns, and double-check the facts on your side before you start your reply.

Do Not Disclose Any Sensitive Information

Reviewers might make certain personally identifying information public, but you shouldn’t be tempted to do the same. Even something as simple as precisely when the transaction took place should be kept confidential. Proofread your response before you post, editing out these details.

Acknowledge the Concern

Even if the complaint is plainly absurd, you still want to show the person even-handed treatment – after all, you have an audience. Opening with a clear acknowledgment of the other party’s feelings is always step one to de-escalate a customer service situation.

Clarify the Next Steps

In an ideal world, you could solve the problem and the person would edit their review accordingly. In reality, this doesn’t always happen – but give them the chance to pursue a constructive resolution by providing clear next steps (such as a number to call to address the problem.)

Even the best-run Central Florida businesses tend to pick up some bad reviews. You can’t keep them from happening, but what you do next makes all the difference. And with help from a Central Florida marketing agency, you can attract and inspire more positive reviews in an ethical way.

Contact us to find out more or get started.

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