This article is Part 2 in a series on fake reviews.
Fake reviews can be extremely damaging to small and local businesses. Many companies work hard to build a solid online reputation, only for a slew of fake negative reviews from dishonest competitors to pull their ratings down. In an era when 86% of consumers read local business reviews, it’s vital for online reviews to reflect well on your company.
If fake reviews are harming your business, you need to take action. Most major review sites provide a way to flag a review for site moderators and potentially get it removed. Depending on the site and the evidence for deception, you may have a decent chance of getting a false review removed from your listing.
No matter which review site you use, you may not be able to get a fake review removed if the moderators don’t see clear proof that the review violates their standards. Regardless, there are still actions you can take to improve your online reputation.
How to Get a Fake Review Removed From Google
Google will remove reviews that clearly violate its policies, such as reviews written by someone with a conflict of interest or by someone who is impersonating someone else. However, it’s up to independent moderators to decide whether there’s enough evidence to remove a fake review.
To get a fake review removed from Google, you will first need to sign in and select the review. If you have multiple listings, sign in to Google My Business and select ‘Manage reviews’ from the menu on the left. Use the drop-down menu to choose a location group. For a single listing, select ‘Reviews’ from the menu on the left.
Alternatively, you can go into Google Maps and search for your business. Click on the number next to your business’s star rating to reach the list of Google reviews for your business.
Once you find the fake review, click the three-dot icon in the top right corner of the review and select ‘Flag as inappropriate’. From there, you can just follow the prompts to request that Google looks over the post.
Keep in mind that you can’t write a statement telling Google why you believe the post should be removed. All you can do is request that a Google moderator reviews a particular post, select a reason from a brief list, and wait a few days for a response. There is no guarantee that your complaint will be reviewed.
To increase the chance that a moderator will review your complaint, you may want to ask some of your colleagues to flag the review as well. Complaints with greater numbers may take priority.
If the moderator judges that the flagged review violates Google policies, it will be removed from your listing. On rare occasions, the moderator may contact you if they require further information or have feedback to share.
How to Get a Fake Review Removed From Yelp
Yelp moderators will remove flagged reviews if there’s a clear conflict of interest, if the reviewer didn’t talk about their own experience, or if there’s offensive language. You will need evidence of bias to convince the moderators to take action.
To get a fake Yelp review removed, log in to your business’s Yelp account and find the fake review. Click on the flag icon in the bottom right, select the reason you’re reporting the post, and write an explanation of why you believe the review should be removed. Make sure to include any information that moderators may be able to verify independently, such as the reviewer’s employment history at your company or any additional posts they’ve made online.
Like Google, Yelp will only remove a post if the site moderators are convinced the reviewer was biased. This review site tries to avoid taking sides in factual disputes and generally allows reviewers to stand behind their reviews. If there isn’t clear evidence to support your claim, the review will most likely stay up.
How to Get a Fake Review Removed From Facebook
Facebook will remove flagged reviews that violate its broader community standards, which are focused more on issues like personal harassment and bullying than on defamatory reviews. It may be harder for you to get fake reviews removed on Facebook than other sites.
Many fake reviews can be reported as spam, which is a direct community standards violation. If the review has nothing to do with your products and clearly adds no value for your followers, there is a greater chance that Facebook will remove it.
To get a fake review removed from Facebook, find the review and click the V-shaped icon in the top right corner of the review. Select ‘Report Post’ and follow the instructions.
What If I Can’t Get a Fake Review Removed?
If you can’t get a fake review removed from your listing, it may be best to treat it like a legitimate negative review.
We suggest responding to the review with a polite apology, questions, and helpful information to show prospects reading your reviews that you care. Consider offering the reviewer solutions like a voucher or reimbursement. If the reviewer really is fake, they won’t be able to follow up.
You can also point out inconsistent or obviously false information in the review. For example, if the reviewer mentions an item or service you don’t offer, or names an employee who doesn’t exist, you can bring this up and politely suggest that they may have accidentally reviewed the wrong business.
To take an active role in managing your online reputation, you can use a free customer review software like Kudo. This review generation tool allows you to not only get more reviews from real customers, but also deal more effectively with negative feedback. Give Kudo a try and watch your online reputation transform in just a few minutes a day. GET IT FOR FREE >