Is it possible for you delete or remove Google reviews?
Google state that reviews that fall into one of the following review categories are automatically processed; they will take down reviews that are ‘flagged in order to comply with Google policies or legal obligations.’
These review types are listed as follows:
1. Spam and fake content: Fake content about a customer’s experience, sharing the same content multiple times, or posting content for the same business or location from multiple Google accounts.
2. Off-topic: Reviews that are used to rant about social, religious, political, or personal issues are prohibited on Google Maps.
3. Restricted content: This could be content that violence local or regional regulations —reviews of restricted products or services, contact information for restricted products or services, links to websites listing restricted products.
4. Illegal content: This is content that depicts illegal activity – violence, human trafficking, drug dealing, content produced on behalf of or by hate groups, etc.
5. Terrorist content: This is fairly obvious but this refers to any review that promotes terrorism in the form of threats, celebration of specific acts, recruitment, incitement, etc.
6. Sexually explicit content: Reviews that contain sexually explicit content (e.g., insults, descriptions, materials, etc.).
7. Offensive content: Any content that contains profane, offensive, explicit, or obscene language or gestures. If reviewers are using offensive language you can flag their review.
8. Dangerous and derogatory content: This includes bullying, discrimination, threats, harassment, intimidation, or inciting hatred.
9. Impersonation: falsely representing yourself as an individual, representative of a company or organization. This includes pretending to be someone else, an employee of the company being reviewed, or a Google employee.
10. Conflicts of interest: This includes writing reviews about your own business or a competitor’s business to manipulate their review ratings. Or with reviewers posting content about their current or former employer.
What does this mean for business owners?
It means that if a customer is leaving a review, it must comply with the set of narrow criteria listed above. Any review that falls into the restricted territory of points 1-10 can be removed.
Why is this important for your business?
There are some reviews that slip through the net! In fact, if you read through their help article on prohibited and restricted content, you’ll see that Google admits this themselves.
“We may take down reviews that are flagged in order to comply with Google policies or legal obligations.”
Google accounts for 57.5 percent of all reviews worldwide, across all review platforms. That’s far too many reviews to automatically authenticate even if they wanted to. This means it’s a good idea to go through your review portfolio on Google and flag all of the reviews that fail to meet the criteria above.
Another unpleasant fact of leaving a Google Review is that someone who hasn’t been a customer can leave a review.
How to delete a Google Review
Going through the steps below won’t be a sure thing and won’t guarantee that you’ll be able to delete a negative review. It’s reasonable to hope that things will work out that way you want. Here are the steps:
1. Sign in to your Google account
2. Head over to Google Maps
3. Search for your business in Google Maps
4. Click the stars/number of reviews to expand the reviews
5. Scroll down to the offending review, click the three-dot menu icon on the offending review
6. Click the “Flag as inappropriate” link
7. Fill out the policy violation form then click Report
Their policy isn’t particularly clear. You’re not sure whether Things will work out in your favour or not. What if it doesn’t work out for your business? There’s another option available to you.
1. Sign in to your Google My Business account
2. Click the reviews tab, scroll to the offending review, then click the three-dot menu
3. Select “Flag as Inappropriate“
If Google agrees with you, these reviews should disappear in time.