Reviews are hugely important to modern businesses. They provide social proof to potential customers and help establish trust right off the bat. But as good as positive reviews might be for your company, bad reviews can be disastrous — especially if they appear on Google Reviews.
Google is an important resource for the modern consumer. It’s one of the trusted search engines and offers users a wealth of information when they’re looking for where to shop and who to buy from.
When positive Google Reviews are left for your business, it can lead to an explosion of popularity, trust, and profitability. But if people are leaving bad reviews, you can bet that it’s going to hurt your reputation.
So that begs the question, can you delete a bad review on Google? And if so, how can you do it?
That’s what we’re going to explore in this article. We’ll cover when you might want to delete a review on Google, whether it’s possible to delete reviews left by others, how to delete reviews you’ve left on Google and Google Maps, and what you can do to get rid of bad reviews others have left.
Why Would You Want To Delete a Review on Google?
There are many reasons why someone might want to delete a review on Google. However, Google isn’t in the business of deleting legitimate reviews, even if they reflect negatively on a business.
Reviews have a huge effect on shoppers, with nine out of ten consumers turning to reviews before making a purchase decision. On top of that, they believe them. A whopping 79% of consumers place trust in the reviews they read. That’s why bad reviews can be potentially catastrophic for a business.
Google reviews are well-respected and seen as an objective source by many — and Google intends to keep it that way. An impressive 59% of consumers look at Google reviews when researching a company or product.
So why might you want to delete a negative review?
For starters, reviews that are spammy or inflammatory can hurt your business. This could include reviews that are providing links to other competing services (possibly posted by those services), someone posting personal information, or attacks that might cross the business line.
Libelous or explicit reviews can also upset potential customers. This includes making unsubstantiated statements about a person or using graphic or sexual language. This is a situation where you would 100% want to get a review stricken from Google.
If you suspect that a competitor or individual is trying to hurt you by leaving fake or explicit inflammatory reviews under various accounts, you might want to take action and petition Google to remove the offending review.
Can You Delete a Review on Google Left by Someone Else?
It’s possible to delete a review that someone else has left on Google. However, there has to be a reason for the deletion. And by that, we mean something other than you not liking what they said about your company.
Google review deletion is possible only if someone has violated Google’s review rules. That means you need to be able to prove without a shadow of a doubt that someone maliciously defied one of Google’s rules for review conduct.
You can’t just delete any review that you don’t like, and if numbers are to be believed, you wouldn’t want to anyway.
62% of consumers won’t trust a business that censors reviews. Reviews are only trusted because they provide an unbiased view of a company from the perspective of peers. If people think that you’re trying to game the system by censoring reviews, the entire process loses its credibility.
There are three main guidelines Google has set down that people often violate. While there are more rules in place (which we will review in-depth later), any violation of these are grounds for immediate deletion.
First, if someone is posting a review with a conflict of interest, that violates the Google rules. This includes a business leaving a review for itself, someone who received money or another form of compensation to leave a review, or reviews that were directly solicited.
Then, you have impersonation. This occurs when someone leaves a review pretending to be someone they’re not. It could also be someone who claims to be an expert in an industry (like a doctor for medical products or a lawyer) who doesn’t actually hold those credentials.
Finally, there are spam reviews. This includes reviews that feature promotional or commercial content. It could also be someone posting the same review multiple times or on multiple different products.
Flag any review that you believe violates Google’s conduct rules, and be prepared to back up your claim. With any luck, you’ll be able to get these reviews deleted from Google.
How To Delete a Review You Posted on Google
If you want to delete a review on Google that you posted, it’s a much easier process. Google isn’t forcing anyone to leave reviews that they wrote. If you created something, it’s your right to take it down. Much like someone who wants to remove their website from Google, you’re able to take down your reviews with ease.
While the process for removing reviews left by others can be long and arduous, it’s far easier to delete something you posted. This involves a straightforward deletion process that anyone can master.
You might be asking yourself why someone would want to delete a review they left. There are several reasons for this.
Perhaps it’s a review you mistakenly posted on your own page. This could be a review you intended to leave for another company but accidentally left your own Google page open. That could be potentially embarrassing, especially if it causes you to tank your own review score. You’d want to quietly delete that review before anyone else notices.
Perhaps it’s a review of another business that you regret leaving. It could be that you were dissatisfied with something, but then the company worked hard to fix its mistake and left you feeling positive.
It could also be that your opinions on a specific company have changed. Sometimes, we realize that we’ve judged an organization too harshly or our opinions soften over time.
Of course, it could also be the exact opposite. Maybe you left a glowing review for a company, and then they did something that soured you. If you no longer want your previous opinion to boost a company’s standing, it’s easy to fix.
No matter your reasoning, there’s a simple process for deleting a Google review.
First, go to your Google account. This can be done by logging onto any Google service, like YouTube, Chrome browser, or Gmail. You can also accomplish this by clicking on the upper right corner of Google’s homepage.
Next, you’ll click over to Google Maps. This is where the majority of Google reviews live. Once there, click on the three-line menu to open a list of options.
Select Your Contributions from the list and then choose Reviews.
This will open up a collection of your reviews. Find the one you’re looking to delete and click on the three dots menu.
You’ll then be able to select whether you want to edit or delete the review. If your opinions have changed and you want to leave something positive or negative about the company, you can choose to edit the review instead of deleting it.
However, if you want to wipe your review from the face of the internet forever, click the Delete review button.
How To Delete a Review on Google Maps
Google Maps is the GPS and map service operated by Google. It’s also the service that allows you to view businesses available in your local area. Typically, Google Maps is where you’d go to leave a Google review.
If you’ve left a review on Google Maps that you regret or simply want to take down, there’s an easy and simple solution to your problem. It’s actually the same process we just went through.
First, sign in to Google. Once you’re there, open Google Maps by going to www.maps.google.com.
In the top left corner of the page, click Menu, which is the three-line hamburger icon.
After that, click on the menu icon labeled Your Contributions. in the following menu, select Reviews. This will bring up a list of your reviews in chronological order.
Once there, find the review or reviews that you’re looking to get rid of. Click on the three-dot menu and select “Delete” to eliminate the review.
Once that’s done, you’ll have successfully removed a review from Google Maps.
How To Delete a Review on Google Written by Someone Else
It’s always horrifying to see a truly terrible review of your company listed by someone else. This can be upsetting on both personal and professional levels, and you might want to take action right away.
The question then becomes can you take action, and what action can you take?
As we mentioned before, Google doesn’t just delete reviews because they hurt your feelings. There has to be a reason for Google to take action.
If no rules have been broken, you’ll have to reach out to the author directly. If they respond, this could be the first step in opening a dialogue where you might be able to address their criticism directly and even make improvements based on their feedback.
However, if a Google rule has been violated, you can flag or dispute the review, bringing it to Google’s attention.
So the question then becomes, when should you flag a review? Google has ten criteria through which a review can be flagged.
Let’s go through them one at a time.
1. Spam or Fake Content
Content is considered spam when it contains obvious commercial bias or promotional content.
You can also consider any content that has been posted by the same person multiple times in multiple places to be spam.
2. Rants and Off-Topic Commentary
Reviews on Google need to be kept on-topic and speak to the matter at hand. If you have reviews where the writer goes completely off-topic and starts ranting about some unrelated pop culture or political issue, you can tell Google that this person is using your business as a sounding board for spreading an agenda.
This is a clear violation of the Google rules and should result in deletion.
3. Promoting Illegal Actions or Items
If the writer promotes any illegal actions or illegal items within their review, you can flag it with Google.
This could include advocating stealing or piracy of content. It could also include references to illegal drugs or links to pages where one can purchase illegal items. If there are any such issues in the reviews you see, flag them right away.
4. Posting Illegal Content
If someone posts any kind of illegal content, such as depictions of drug use or anything that exploits a minor, you need to flag it with Google immediately.
This includes both written copy and images.
5. Making Terrorist Threats
Any threats of violence or any kind of terrorist attack are a clear violation of Google’s rules surrounding review content. Google takes these kinds of threats seriously, and you should too.
6. Sexually Explicit Language or Content
Any language or content of a sexually-explicit nature is in clear violation of Google’s rules. Any reference to anything inappropriate or sexual can be grounds for a flag.
7. Profane or Offensive Content
If someone is using profane or offensive language in their review, they’re in direct violation of the Google review rules. This includes swearing, lewd statements, racial slurs, homophobic or transphobic slurs, or anything else of that nature.
8. Harassment, Intimidation, or Inciting Violence
No one is allowed to harass or intimidate anyone in a Google review. If someone leaves a review on your business in which they attempt to intimidate you or incite violence against you or someone else, you should report it.
Google is typically quick to respond to issues like this.
9. Falsely Impersonating Someone Else
If someone is pretending to be someone else, their review is illegitimate. Someone claiming to be the president of the United States can’t leave a review of a company bashing it or praising it. Doing so is grounds for deletion, and you should flag these reviews right away.
10. Dishonesty or Showing Bias
If there are bald-faced lies in a review, you’re allowed to flag it to Google.
You might have to prove that the statement was written dishonestly to have the review stricken.
How to Flag a Review on Google
If you’ve determined that a review for your company has violated one of the ten Google rules of conduct, it’s time to flag that review and bring it to Google’s attention.
There’s a simple process for flagging a review.
Step 1: Log in to your Google My Business account
Step 2: Select the proper business. If you have more than one business associated with your Google account, make sure you’re looking at the one that features the review in question.
Step 3: Select Reviews
Step 4: Click the three-dot menu next to the offensive review and click Flag as inappropriate to report it to Google.
Once the review is flagged, it might take several days for Google to review it. You can expedite the process by asking others to flag the review as well. When more people flag the review, Google might take notice quicker.
If all of this fails, it might be time to contact Google Small Business Support.
You can reach the support page by going to www.support.google.com/business.
Once you’re there, select the Contact Us option. Then type in Customer Reviews and Photos. After that, select Remove Reviews.
Choose your preferred communication method. Once that’s done, you should receive help within 24 hours.
If All Else Fails (Tips & Tricks)
If there are negative Google reviews that haven’t violated any rules, all isn’t lost. While there are no official steps that you can take to have the reviews removed, there are a few tried and true methods you can employ to try and address them.
First, respond publicly to all reviews, positive and negative. Responding to a positive review is easy, and there’s no need to go into that. But responding to a negative review is vital in these situations.
It’s important that you not act defensively or lash out. Be humble and thank them for their feedback. Then, try to resolve the issue. Don’t tell them why they’re wrong. Instead, apologize for the situation that upset them and offer a solution.
If you resolve the issue, ask them if they would either take the review down or edit it to note how you went above and beyond to ensure that they were satisfied.
Even if the writer refuses to take the review down, you’ve still done something beneficial. People will be able to see your responses to negative reviews. They will be able to see how you tried to go above and beyond to respond to the problem. That goes a long way with prospective customers.
You can also request fresh reviews from other customers, but you have to be very careful with how you go about this. If you know that someone is a satisfied customer, let them know that they can add a review on Google. Don’t ask them for a positive review or a five-star review.
Also, most importantly, don’t try to incentivize reviews. You can’t provide customers with prizes for a positive review. This is a direct violation of Google’s rules. If you’re caught, the company could penalize you.
There are many ways to earn the trust of your audience, from trust badges to excellent customer service. However, nothing instills a sense of trust quite like Google Reviews. These accounts from satisfied or dissatisfied customers can go a long way toward turning public opinion for or against you.
Everyone loves great Google Reviews. You can use a WordPress review plugin to proudly show them off on your site. However, bad reviews can often send us into a tailspin. If you find bad reviews on Google, make sure they’re not violating any Google rules.
If they are, you’re within your rights to flag the review and report it for deletion. However, if the review is within Google’s rules, it’s possible to reach out to the author and address their concerns. Doing so could get you back in their good graces and get their review deleted forever.