Fake reviews are an ever-growing problem for small companies on Google’s business review platform, and this issue largely stems from the fact that creating an anonymous account and leaving a review is an extremely easy process.
While Google has an array of policies that users should follow when leaving a business review, and this means that fake reviews can be reported to Google on Twitter, Facebook and the Advertiser Community, you have to be diligent and check your company’s reviews regularly.
Why is Google reluctant to delete reviews?
Google is reluctant to delete reviews because they don’t know who your customers are, and they aren’t willing to accept “this wasn’t a customer” as a strong enough reason to delete a review.
This is partly because they allow users to sign up for Google accounts with anonymous usernames, and this means it is difficult to identify them online.
The other reason for this is that someone doesn’t necessarily have to have been a customer to experience your company, as they could have just simply browsed around your premises or spoke to you on the phone.
How should you respond to fake Google reviews?
It is always annoying when an anonymous review helps to destroy the hard work that has gone into building your business, and it is even more infuriating when it recounts an incident that never occurred.
First thing’s first – remain calm! Do not instantly reply to these reviews with a rant. It is imperative that you remember that potential future customers will see how you respond to these reviews.
One particularly effective method is to share these reviews through your social media channels, as this allows you to take the negative sting out of what has been said, and can go some way to highlighting how preposterous the situation really is.
For example, if you have received nothing but positive reviews over a two year period, but then receive three anonymous negative reviews in 30 minutes, it does look slightly suspicious!
When sharing this on social media in a light-hearted way, you disarm the reviews that are seeking to harm your business, and this can even inspire your followers and customers to leave real, positive postings. However, it is important that you don’t ask for reviews when doing this, as it should be a natural response for those who see the post and have had a positive interaction with your company.
Can you get fake Google reviews removed?
As we mentioned earlier, we have seen companies succeed in this regard by contacting Google via Facebook, Twitter and the Advertiser Community. However, this is not guaranteed to work, and you should have a backup plan with how to deal with these reviews just in case.
We would recommend posting a response to these reviews where you offer these unimpressed “customers” with a 100% refund. Because these reviews are fake, you are not losing any money by offering this refund, and it also shows potential future customers that you are willing to address people who have had a negative experience with your business. Customers understand that no business, even the most successful ones in the world, is perfect, and it is how you deal with complaints that truly reflects your company’s ethos.