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February 21, 2024

How to Report a Google Review

Removal isn't guaranteed, but businesses can report Google reviews as misinformation, slander, or other policy violations. Here are the steps you can take.

If you just received a negative review on your Google Business Profile - that is unhelpful, aggressive, inappropriate, or obviously fraudulent (all violations of Google’s review policy) - you might be wondering about the best way to attempt to have it removed.

We certainly understand why. Online reviews are extremely valuable: 77% of shoppers say they 'regularly' read them when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020). This means great reviews can help bring customers through your door without you ever having to lift a finger. 

Since Google has the most monthly traffic of all leading review sites, it might be the most important record of social proof for your business. Be that as it may, attempting to remove or delete Google reviews should be done sparingly. It’s best to focus on monitoring and responding to all of them instead. Critical reviews, although frustrating, are actually the most important to answer. 

By prioritizing responses to critical or negative reviews, you get to explain your side of the story and earn a chance to redeem yourself in the eyes of current and future consumers. Better yet, by continuing the conversation with the customer offline, you might inspire them to update their review. 

In spite of our best efforts in regards to response management, sometimes negative feedback just takes things too far, thus breaching Google's policies for reviews. These reviews can be addressed - whether they’re from an angry customer, previous employee, competing business, or a good, old-fashioned online troll. You have options, and Google’s Review Policy explains what content is not allowed and deserves to be reported.

What is Google's Review Policy?

Google’s policy on reviews is a set of guidelines that are created and enforced to try to ensure that reviews posted to Google Business Profiles are authentic personal experiences, relevant to the business, and appropriate for all viewers. When a review’s content goes against these rules, Google's review removal policy allows businesses to report the review and (hopefully) have it deleted. 

Businesses must be mindful of these policies when responding to - or asking for - reviews. Google’s ground rules are constantly changing and businesses must be diligent in keeping up to stay in compliance with the current guidelines. Below are some of the top reasons you should report a Google review for removal. 

Inappropriate review content according to Google's Review Policies:

  1. Civil Discourse: Reviews should never include examples of harassment, hate speech, offensive content or the sharing of personal information.

  2. Deceptive Content: Reviews from fake accounts that impersonate an individual or provide misinformation/misrepresentation will not be tolerated.

  3. Mature Content: Obscenity, profanity, violent, adult-themed or sexually explicit content is not allowed.

  4. Regulated, Dangerous and Illegal: In addition, terrorist organizations are not allowed to use Google’s review service. Shocking, we know.

  5. Information Quality: Reviews that are off-topic related to a business, feature advertising/solicitation or contain "gibberish" may be reported.

  6. Conflict of interest: Content should be unbiased. For example, business owners should not review their own business.

How to Report a Google Review

To report a Google review, first navigate to the review in question. Click the vertical three dots in the top right-hand corner and then select “Report Review."

If the review content violates Google’s policy, they will likely delete it. If a few days have passed and the review is still visible on your Google Business Profile, don’t hesitate to follow up with their GBP support team. You can talk to a specialist on the phone, chat online, or send an email in the interest of resolving your issue.

It’s likely only a handful will ever need to be reported for violating Google’s business review policy.

Google Review Troll Meme

All reviews, however, should be responded to - ensuring that your business is providing the best customer service both in-person and online. Consistent replies are also a best practice for increasing Google reviews in general.

To be clear - we're not suggesting you need to respond to a review that you also plan to report. Some trolls should be left under the bridge.


Align Engagement Efforts with Google’s Review Policy

Aligning your online engagement efforts with Google’s policies can help enhance your digital marketing and reputation management strategies. By accurately understanding and interpreting the rules, you can develop constructive ways to increase reviews and improve your star rating.

One tactic is to encourage clients to leave honest reviews about their personal experiences with your business, regardless if it was a positive or negative interaction. Understanding the importance of Google reviews, while adhering to their guidelines on review solicitation, is key to a successful online presence. 

Another option would be to partner with an online reputation management company that will keep your review response strategy in peak condition, in compliance, and impressing potential customers from the get-go. At Widewail, we respond to Google reviews along with consumer feedback on other popular and industry-specific sites such as Yelp, Facebook, CarGurus, DealerRater, ApartmentRatings, Apartments.com, etc.

We invite you to reach out with questions or request a demo here.

*This post was updated on 2/21/24 and originally published on 1/24/19.

What's Widewail?

Widewail is a reputation management software and services company based in Burlington, VT. We help hundreds of small local businesses and national brands like Lexus and BH Property Management generate and respond to reviews.

Learn more about our Trust Marketing Platform.

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Jane Garfinkel

I’m a New Jersey native who joined the Widewail team during my brief stint in Burlington. Now living in Jersey City, I currently serve as the Response Team Lead and Content Specialist. My background is in writing and my work has been published by Thrillist, Reductress, McSweeneys, The Rumpus, and more. I occasionally update my own blog No Meat, Some Potatoes, and in my free time I hang out with my dog Jake.

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