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Google My Business review removal tool

Remove Fake / Spammy / Incorrect / Offensive Reviews from Google with the New GMB Review Removal Tool

Looking to remove a review from Google? Google My Business reviews can help or hinder your business’ reputation. When they’re good, they’re very good, but when they’re bad, your reputation on Google My Business (GMB) can tank. In the online review space, customer feedback is essential for any company to thrive, but what if you have a review that wasn’t left by a customer? What if you have a Google review that a competitor left on your page? Or someone from a foreign country who has never been a customer?

There are plenty of legitimate bad reviews out there, but there are also spammy or fake reviews meant to hurt your brand reputation, your ratings and your local rankings. Unfortunately, these negative fake reviews were not only harming your business, but they were also difficult to get Google to remove the review. 

Thankfully, Google is getting more intelligent every day and learning how to block these spammers. It knows that just like some online pirates create lousy backlinks on purpose, they also leave fake reviews as one of their strategies. But now there’s a tool to help you remove Google reviews that you believe violate Google’s review policies – the Google My Business Review Removal Tool which was released in March 2021. The name of the tool is a mouthful, but wow is it handy!

What is the Google My Business Review Removal Tool?

The GMB Review Removal Tool can be used to flag, track and yes, remove negative Google reviews that violate their policies. You can flag a review directly inside the tool.

When negative reviews violate Google policies and there is evidence of abusive contributions (reviews, photos, videos and general activity) you can flag reviews and request removal. 

Negative Google reviews should not be flagged if there is a difference of opinion between the customer and the business i.e. you can’t just start flagging every negative review because you don’t agree with a customer’s opinion about your business. Even though there is now a Google review removal tool, it still means that the review has to violate one of Google’s policies before they will remove it.

The process for removing a review using this new removal tool is to simply visit the following link while you’re logged into the email address that’s associated with your Google My Business account (i.e. the one you use to log into your GMB page backend at business.google.com).  If you’re an agency and you visit that link, this is what you’ll see:

Google Review Removal Tool not available to agenciesEssentially, Google is saying that the review removal tool is only available to business owners and not to agencies. If you’re the owner of the account or an admin whose email address is not connected with other GMB pages, you’ll see a list of the reviews that Google is allowing you to dispute. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, not all your reviews will show up here. And sometimes, the very review that you’re trying to remove will not be available in the list and therefore you can’t use the tool to remove it.

If that’s the case, you can always try to get the review removed the old-fashioned way….

Flagging Google Reviews Prior to the Removal Tool

Before the removal tool came around, business owners had to go and manually find and flag reviews that they believed to be in violation of Google’s review policies.  The problem was that the removal success rate wasn’t very high and very few business owners even knew that they could flag reviews in the first place.

Here’s a walkthrough of that process.

GMB review management varies slightly between Android and IOS phones, tablets and computers, but the process is very much the same. The main difference is the use of apps on mobile devices, rather than on an internet browser.

Steps to Flag a Google Review – OLD WAY

On a Computer from Inside your GMB Page Dashboard

  1.     Sign into Google My Business
  2.     Click on Reviews in the left hand menu
  3.     Choose the review you’re concerned about
  4.     Click the 3 dots at the top right of the review and then flag it as Inappropriate

In Google Maps

  1.     Open Google Maps
  2.     Find your Business Profile
  3.     Find the review to be flagged
  4.     Click the 3 dots and then flag it as Inappropriate

In Google Search

  1.     In Google, find your Business Profile
  2.     Click Reviews and find the review to be tagged
  3.     Select the star rating
  4.     Click the Flag and select Inappropriate and the type of violation

 

According to findings by SEO guru Neil Patel, a few negative reviews can actually help. The reason is fairly simple. Consumers who only see 5 stars and glowing reviews will become suspicious.

In fact, a 2017 study by Power Reviews found that “85% of consumers look for negative reviews in order to make informed purchase decisions.” Among younger, savvy consumers aged 18-29, this number increases to 91%. 

Tips for Responding to Negative Online Reviews

Any reviews that don’t violate Google’s review policies cannot be removed. However, to help preserve your online reputation, we have a few tips for turning those negative reviews into a positive customer experience.

  • Be Specific – recap what the complaint is about to assure the user that you understand. 
  • Acknowledge their Experience – did they have a bad meal? Did they have to wait in line too long or not find what they were looking for? Acknowledge their feelings and apologize sincerely in a short message. 
  • Don’t Get Defensive – we’ve all seen that business owner who bared their teeth on a forum or on an online review. It can get ugly and you don’t want to be the one everyone’s talking about. For best results, keep the response short and sweet. 
  • Fix It – even if you’re fairly certain that the customer’s leaky bathroom pipe has nothing to do with the work you did in the kitchen, be careful not to get in an argument. Instead, offer to fix it in whatever way you can.
  • Follow Through – move the conversation offline by offering contact information. Existing and potential customers will see that you are willing to go above and beyond to mend fences and provide excellent customer service. The complainant should be pleased too. Gather their email address and phone number if possible, so you can be sure the issue is resolved. 

 

Google My Business is an excellent way for local businesses to drive traffic and sales. But one negative review from someone can change everything. If you’ve got a negative review on your GMB page that you know is fake, try the new Google Review Removal Tool and see if you can’t get it removed from Google. 

If you’re looking for a complete digital marketing strategy that incorporates Google My Busines page and review acquisition strategies, contact the IdeaZone team today.

online review management - client success example

The Importance of a Good Review Solicitation & Management Strategy

What are Online Reviews?

Online reviews are essentially the updated version of word of mouth marketing. Online reviews are star ratings and/or written notes that give potential clients a first-hand look at feedback from customers who sought out the same service or product.how to get a 5 star rating

97% of online shoppers read online reviews and many will only make a move if the product has earned at least four out of five stars. When it comes to star ratings, the number of reviews and the subtle prompt to follow your brand can mean the difference between window shoppers and loyal customers.

But isn’t it only unhappy customers who leave reviews? Not at all. Think back to a time that you received truly awesome service. The customer service, the product and / or the delivery speed blew you away, prompting you to want to leave a glowing review for that business. Even if you didn’t leave a review, you likely told family and friends about the brand, product or service. After that, they probably told someone else who then googled the product, read the reviews and then decided to purchase.

Because consumers feel they can trust the word of others (known as social proof), they feel comfortable spending their hard-earned dollars on businesses with reviews. With so many people relying on reviews to research products and services, an online review acquisition and management strategy is therefore essential for building and marketing a positive online reputation.

The Importance of Online Reviews

  1. Contributes to Increased Revenue

    Online reviews are the bridge between you and your customers. When used correctly, reviews can increase overall revenue as more new customers are attracted to your product or service. Studies show that revenue increases as star ratings increase. According to Invespcro.com, a one-star increase on a popular review site like Yelp can yield a 5% to 9% increase in revenue. Not only that, but they will spend more money too—up to 31% more. Loyalty increases, revenues increase, and those satisfied customers may, in turn, become positive reviewers themselves.

  2. Boost SEO Rankings

    Online reviews boost SEO rankings, improving the visibility of your site and brand. The more positive review content linked to your business, the more highly ranked your site will become and the more recognition your brand will receive. As positive reviews grow and your business builds rock solid credibility, your site and your Google My Business page will also show up in more organic search results.

  3. Creates a Valuable Forum

    Online reviews build up a valuable forum between you and your clients. With review management, you can address positive reviews by thanking the customer and quickly remedy negative reviews by responding to the concern. This puts a face to your brand, making you and your business that much more real. No one likes getting negative reviews, but they do happen and they can be useful for identifying areas that need to be acknowledged and fixed.

  4. Gather Product Research Information

    Online reviews are also ideal for gathering product research information that can be used to ensure total success with the next product launch. Product feedback via reviews provides solid information about how the product is being received by the consumer and what, if any, changes need to be made going forward.

Why Businesses Don’t Have More Reviews

There are several reasons why businesses don’t have (m)any reviews:

  • They don’t ask for reviews
  • They are only using one method to try to get reviews from their customers
  • They don’t have any tools to help automate the review acquisition process
  • They are intimidated by the process of managing and responding to reviews
  • Customers are unable to easily leave reviews

All of the above issues can be easily remedied using a great review acquisition system and a solid review marketing strategy.

Using Review Acquisition and Management Tools

Review acquisition and management tools are designed to remove the guesswork and time spent requesting and reminding consumers to leave a review.  And once the reviews come in, many of these tools also have the ability to market your positive reviews online through social media platforms as well as on your site. Review marketing tools are essential for shaping the image that your brand projects by taking positive customer feedback and expanding it to touch on every facet of your marketing plan.

Key features of a great review acquisition and management service:

  • Review Acquisition – using widgets and landing pages as well as email and text review requests, your company can become visible on trusted sites like Google and Facebook as well as industry relevant directories
  • Review Monitoring – reviews are monitored and can be responded to simply and quickly, with regular notifications to your team’s inbox.
  • Review Marketing – reviews are streamed on social media and featured on your website for the greatest visibility.
  • Review Reporting– Reporting allows you to see how much your acquisition and management campaigns are benefitting your brand.

online review ratings

Creating a Review Management System

Properly managing and marketing customer reviews is an easy way to boost your company’s visibility, increase brand awareness and get new customers at the same time. You’ll also get a clear picture on where reviews are coming from, what other trusted review sites could be added to the campaign and how to stay steps ahead of the competition. With automated reports, targeted email drip campaigns and notifications for new reviews found online, your review management campaign keeps you in control. With a review management system, you will gain, manage and market reviews, all in one place.

 

Marketing Your Reviews to the Worldideazone reviews

Where to Market Reviews:

  • On highly visible and high traffic pages like your home page and product pages. Including reviews on highly visible pages makes it easy to showcase shiny happy reviews from satisfied customers.
  • On Social Media Channels – consumers research products and services on social media. Including reviews on social media increases the likelihood of followers and also boosts engagement.
  • In Email Drip Campaigns – email marketing is another highly effective marketing strategy and one of the best avenues for ROI, since every dollar spent means $44 earned. Also, customer feedback that is clearly visible in an email encourages recipients to visit and explore your site.

Using client reviews for marketing is a powerful way to get the word out about your business. Using a review management campaign, you can resolve any issues as they pop up, thank happy customers, and leverage reviews as part of your overall marketing strategy. Boost your brand recognition even further while letting your customer’s words do the work for you.

How IdeaZone can help

Whether you’re starting out with one review or have a collection of reviews circulating around the web that you’ve been struggling to wrangle, the online marketing experts at IdeaZone will make the most of the limitless potential of your online reviews. By creating a custom campaign designed to acquire, organize, report and market customer feedback, you’ll be able to easily manage and control your brand’s reputation. Using tried and true review acquisition, management and marketing methods, trust us to take the guesswork out of the who, what, when, where and why of making your customer’s reviews work for you.

 

Review Management Client Successes

For a company who offers online training – from 2 to 49 online reviews in 4 months.

For a private school – from 1 to 27 reviews in 4 months.

 

For a new restaurant – from 0 to 43 reviews in 3 months.

online review management - client success example

Located in beautiful Victoria, BC, we help clients all over the world with powerful online marketing plans, web design and branding. Contact our team and ask about our review management system and how to get more 5 star reviews.