How to Delete or Remove a Google Review for Your Business
[UPDATE MARCH 17th, 2021: Google has released a free tool specifically for escalating review removal requests and managing and tracking those escalations. It’s not particularly suited to agencies that manage multiple businesses but it’s certainly worth trying as a first port of call when you need a review removed.]
A poor review is every business owner’s worst nightmare come true, especially if you feel that the comments are unreasonable or downright untrue. A negative review, or series of negative reviews, can seriously undermine the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put into building your business over the years.
Over and above the annoyance you feel and the impact it may have on your team, there are several other ramifications which you’ll need to deal with. Your immediate reaction to save face will almost certainly be to look into how to remove a Google review. You may spend hours trying to figure out if you can delete a Google review because of how poorly your business is portrayed for all to see.
We get it.
However, there’s more at stake than the simple annoyance you feel when you see the one-star rating attached to comments about your business. You’ll need to take a measured approach to dealing with the offending review if you’re to limit fallout and succeed in convincing the powers that be to remove a Google review on your behalf.
Why are Google reviews so important?
It’s no secret that reviews in general are a vital part of running a local business. In fact, with 9 out of 10 local consumers trusting online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, building a strong review profile is arguably as important as choosing the right people to deal with your customers and ensuring your business is visible on Google.
According to the media monitoring tool, Mention, reviews are important to businesses for seven reasons. These include providing social proof which subsequently drives purchases, increasing online visibility, building trust, aiding with decision making and sparking conversations around your brand. Most importantly, they have a clear and tangible impact on sales.
BrightLocal has been studying consumer attitudes towards online reviews for a decade and our own research confirms the overwhelming impact that a strong review profile can have on a local business. It’s for that reason that we often encourage local business owners and local marketers to prioritize online reviews.
Google is the fastest growing review site
Reviews left specifically on Google have additional importance over and over the standard benefits. In a research piece focused on the comparison of business review sites, we concluded that Google is the fastest growing review site, beating out the likes of Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and FourSquare.
While all are garnering new reviews at an impressive rate, Google’s growth outstrips the other platforms by a notable margin. The percentage of new reviews left on Google jumped 278% between 2015-16, while the second fastest growing platform, TripAdvisor grew by just 85% in comparison for the same period. This popularity naturally makes reviews left on Google (both good and bad) of particular importance.
Google reviews are a ranking factor
Signals from Google reviews are also a local ranking factor. The industry-standard Local Search Ranking Factors survey placed Google My Business signals as the number one local pack ranking factor, and review signals the third most important factor.
Having poor reviews can therefore torpedo your local SEO activity. If you’re new to local SEO, know this; local search is said to represent around 46% of total Google searches, so the knock-on effect of a negative review on your local SEO could seriously kill your local business website’s traffic.
It could also have a direct impact on your bottom line, with 69% of local consumers looking online for a local business at least once per month and 56% searching for local businesses weekly.
Add in the fact that half of consumers conducting a local search on their smartphone go on to visit a bricks-and-mortar store (as per Google research) and it quickly becomes clear that a strong Google review profile is a very powerful asset. Being able to remove a Google review that isn’t favorable therefore takes on new significance.
Google reviews appear prominently on Google SERPs
Reviews on Google provide valuable information about your business to both you and your customers. Business reviews appear next to your listing in Maps and Search, and can help your business stand out on Google.”
This is great when your reviews are positive, but if a one or two-star rating appears in the mix, the fact that Google reviews appear so prominently in the Google My Business knowledge panel and next to your business listing on the local search results page can become an issue.
Why would you want to delete a Google review?
We’ve seen that reviews in general, and Google reviews in particular, are interlinked with many aspects of your local SEO and reputation management. They can affect how and where you’re ranked on Google and how local consumers new to your brand perceive you.
Over and above those first impressions, if poor reviews impede your local pack ranking, they could also mean you lose website traffic and miss out on in-store visits.
The biggest worry perhaps is that it’s well established that the majority of consumers trust online reviews. As a business owner, it stands to reason that you’ll want to delete a Google review that shares a poor experience, criticizes your staff, products or services or otherwise makes claims that you wouldn’t want other consumers to read and believe.
Of course, Google has different feelings about this. Its aim is to have reviews which reflect real, honest experiences. That said, if your review monitoring process identifies a steady stream of negative reviews, your first port of call should not be to submit a delete request but to address the commonly recurring issues.
Provided the reviews are genuine and from a range of different, verified customers, the poor reviews offer you valuable insight as to how your business, product or service is being received and what local consumers want you to change.
If you run a hotel, for example, and reviewers often complain of long check-in lines or dirty rooms, adding more staff to the front desk or bolstering the housekeeping team could prevent additional negative reviews in future.