I hear it over and over from my clients. I don’t want to create a Google My Business because of the fake reviews I might receive or have seen others receive. Despite all your hard work to build your online reputation, negative reviews from disgruntled clients or customers or even worse yet- fake reviews from spammers and your competitors can make it even harder for you do business.
So, are these reviews even that important?
Yes, they are. Reviews on Google My Business are public, so that is why it is extremely important to monitor your listing. In today’s society we are instantly swayed by negative reviews and testimonials. It plants a seed of doubt in our minds upon first impression without second guessing the validity of that review.
However, the good news is that if you’re diligent at identifying the negative reviews and can make a satisfactory case for why they are against the Google My Business guidelines, you can get them removed by reaching Google directly.
Here are some tips on how you could identify, respond and get the negative reviews removed to maintain a healthy online presence. Let’s get started.
How you do spot a fake review on Google My Business?
I understand how irritating, infuriating and damaging can defamatory, fake online reviews be to your bottom line. But, before you start reporting or responding to the negative reviews, you need to be sure that they are fake! So if you sell lots of products and don’t know if the reviewer even bought from your online store here’s a tip how you can tell if a review is fake
Fake reviews lack detail – Bogus reviews are vague and don’t get product or service specific. By specifics I mean — any detail about price, specific dates, precise explanation of the situation(s), or anything else that could personalize the review!
Fake reviews normally look like this,
The review is 1-star – All one-star reviews are not fake, but if there exist 1-star reviews on your Google My Business listings that do not reflect a genuine experience and are extremely negative, they may be from fake reviewers endeavoring to manipulate your product’s or service’s ratings.
A genuine review, even though it is negative, will maintain a moderate language.
Same pattern of reviews – If the reviewer utilizes a similar language across several different reviews, have a habit of giving 1-star reviews multiple businesses could be the first indicator of spam.
FYI Google My Business allows you r a reviewer’s profile, where you can investigate these issues.
Now that you have known how to identify the fake reviews, the next step is to get the fake negative reviews removed from Google My Business.
How to remove negative reviews from Google My Business?
If you find any of the reviews are not valid get them reported as soon as possible!
Flag the review on Google My Business
Once you’ve found a review and you’re sure that this review, in particular, violates the terms of service of Google My Business, you can take the final step of flagging the review.
Place your cursor on the review that you’d like to report. You will see a flag icon appearing on the top of that review.
Click the icon and the violation page will open up.
Enter your email address there and select the violation type. Once you are done, click submit.
Prepare yourself to describe the case
Okay, so you’ve waited for long now and still have got no response from Google My Business? Time to get in touch with Google My Business support team on Twitter.
You’ll need the following to get support from Google:
Check your records for the reviewer’s experience with your business
NAP (name, address, phone number) details of your business
URL of the review and Google maps link
A clear and concise explanation of why the review should be removed
Screenshot of the review that supports your claim
Send them a direct message, including the above data and hold up a couple of days to get their response.
You can likewise utilize Google forums or make a phone call and have a live discussion with a Google My Business associate.
But your job does not have to stop here!
Once you have reported the review, it is time to respond to the fake negative reviews.
How to respond to negative reviews on your Google My Business listing
Believe it or not, people do read your responses to take a look at your answer on Google My Business reviews to see if you genuinely care about your customers. Ensure you act the right way without letting your emotions overpower you. Formulate a professional and well-thought-out response to a fake negative review.
Here’s what Google My Business suggest you to do when leaving a response:
Stay nice and abstain from getting personal – Never get personal! Always ensure that your response is direct, courteous and valuable paying little heed to whether the review is real or fake. Doing this would enable you to build trust and restore your reputation with current and future customers.
Thank your reviewers – Thank them for leaving their feedback and for helping you know where your product or service can do better.
Take responsibility. If you made a mistake own it! It’s great to acknowledge the things that weren’t right on your part, but do not hold yourself liable for things that weren’t your fault.
Apologize when appropriate – It’s a no brainer! Still, Google My Business stress this a lot as people fail to do it! It’s best to say something that shows compassion and empathy.
Respond timely – Respond promptly to show that you pay attention to your customer’s experience, and you genuinely care about them. Do not ignore it and hope it disappears.