Reputation management involves finding out what your customers like or don’t like about your products and/or services.
It’s what opens opportunities for you to perform the necessary changes and improvements.
Part of a company’s reputation management is identifying stakeholder issues through review generation.
Unfortunately, there have been increasing incidents of fake reviews that come in different forms.
As a business, how can you remove fake Google reviews to regain or increase your credibility? Businesses can actually remove unwanted Google reviews.
The Fake Review Virus
So much like a virus, a review impacts all the major review sites of a business, especially Google and Amazon.
Customer feedback is a valuable form of content in digital marketing. It is used to tap into the power of third party recommendations and increase brand reach and reputation.
A review system and reliable rating on a businesses’ online platforms are aimed at maintaining consumer trust.
However, recent research suggests that fake reviews are far more common than you might think.
Let’s take a look at some facts about fake reviews from Harvard Business Review:
- Sellers are heavily incentivized to manipulate their products’ ratings by soliciting fake reviews.
- There is a large and thriving market for fake reviews.
- One of the most common mechanisms for procuring fake reviews is via private Facebook groups.
Sellers would use these groups to recruit people to purchase their products and leave an authentic-sounding five-star review for a $5-10 commission.
An estimate of as many as 4.5 million sellers sourced fake reviews via Facebook groups in 2020.
- Fake reviews appear to be most common for a certain type of product priced similarly to their competitors.
These products are not named brands but by Chinese manufacturers selling directly on Amazon’s platform.
Different Types of Fake Reviews
Studies show that roughly 90% of Internet users consult customer feedback before buying.
Although the scale of fake reviews is not precisely documented, it’s in the millions across the digital marketing platforms.
Here’s a list of the different types of fake reviews from Curtis Boyd of Objection. Co:
- Vendors that sell both positive and negative online reviews.
- Business owners directly or indirectly generate fake reviews for themselves (through fake profiles or vendors).
- Current employees writing positive reviews on behalf of an employer.
- Ex-employees writing negative reviews in retaliation for being terminated or laid off.
- Customers lying about or exaggerating a negative experience to obtain a refund or some other benefit like a discount.
- Review clusters writing positive or negative reviews within a short period of one another.
- Reviews with offensive language of the racist or sexist nature. Bad and foul language doesn’t necessarily mean fake, but no business owner wants to see that on their Google reviews.
- Defamatory reviews intent in ruining a business’ reputation
- Reviews that harasses the business and its customers
- Spamming a business’ GMB (Google My Business) with recurring reviews under different accounts.
Why Google Reviews are Important
As it is always said, “Content is king”.
A business’ online reviews matter. Google reviews help potential customers choose a business and build trust. What else?
- Google reviews boost local search ranking, which increases traffic, conversions, rankings, and revenue by:
- Influencing brand trust
- Increasing online exposure
- Driving local SEO
- Providing essential feedback
- Improving click-through rates
- Converting more customers
- Google reviews increase credibility as long as they’re authentic, in the right industry, and are placed on the same site.
- Google reviews influence purchase decisions. It might just be what a customer needs to get them to buy a product. A positive review can be the validation a consumer needs to make a decision.
How to Remove Fake Negative Reviews from Google
Is it possible to remove fake negative reviews from Google that someone left you?
If your business or company has been wronged with a review or a review has been faked, it’s not the end of the world.
It may not be an easy process and believe me, it can be frustrating at times, but there is something that can be done.
Follow these steps to remove a fake Google review from Google Local or Google Maps:
- Ask the person who wrote the review to remove the negative review and if this step does not work proceed to step 2.
- Sign in to your Google account.
- Open Google Maps.
- Search for your business.
- Choose to view your business reviews.
- Select All reviews.
- When you see the review you want to remove, click the three dots in the top right corner.
- Flagging the unwanted review to Google
- Fill out the form “Report a Policy Violation.”
- Click Submit.
Removing fake Google Reviews from Google My Business is similar to the steps above. First, you can respond to the negative review.
Then, you can flag the review as fake, inappropriate, or promoting a competitor. Google will review it for removal.
You can also report the negative review to Google Small Business Support who will make a decision about removing it.
Here are the specific steps on how to remove fake Google reviews from Google My Business:
- Determine if the customer review is fake.
- Log into Google My Business.
- Navigate to the reviews tab.
- Select the review(S) you would like to flag.
- Choose the ‘flag as inappropriate’ option.
- Complete the follow-up survey.
- Respond to the customer review.
Spotting a Fake Google Review
Now that you know how to remove fake Google reviews, here’s how you can make sure that you are certain that the review is truly fake.
Discontent and angry customers can appear to be slanderous in nature.
These are the common signals that a Google review is fake:
- The reviewer’s name does not appear in your customer database. This means they have not bought from you or used your service.
- The reviewer gave multiple businesses similar reviews.
- The reviewer mentioned products or services that you do not offer or sell. They probably have mistaken you for another business.
- The reviewer does not mention any experience with your product or service nor leaves a comment.
- The review contains false information. It can be written by someone with a conflict of interest, such as a current or previous employer, friend, or competitor.
Retaining Consumer Trust
Both sellers and customers are becoming sophisticated in creating fake Google reviews.
Online marketing has flooded the internet with positive and negative customer feedback.
Google is finding ways to develop effective means to identify and get rid of negative reviews to retain customer trust.
How to remove fake Google reviews has been a never-ending task but being able to crack down on this activity will increase trust in digital marketing platforms.