Respond to the Review:
Your first step in combating fake online reviews is to respond to it. This probably won’t help with getting the review taken down, however, it is an important step to help your customers know you take their reviews seriously and want them to be well informed. It also helps protect your reputation with potential customers who may have been turned off by what seemed like a negative review.
Also, be sure that whenever you respond to fake or real negative reviews to be calm and don’t lower yourself to a toxic reviewers’ level. This can do more damage than good and can hurt your reputation more than the review itself.
Flag the Review:
Your next actionable step will be to flag the fake review. You can do this either through Google Maps or preferably in your Google My Business profile. This process is simple. Just bring up the review and click on the flag or select “flag as inappropriate” from the review section in GMB.
Using Google My Business is the most effective method as it increases the chance that Google will review and respond to the request. Also, you will be sent an email confirming they have received your request when you flag through GMB.
State your Case:
It will take up to 3 days before Google will remove any flagged posts, and getting it removed is not a guarantee. Take this time to prepare a detailed explanation of why you feel the review warrants removal. Step one is to document the review URL. You can do this by clicking the name of the reviewer, selecting the review in question and copy the URL to the review here. Google may ask you for this later so it's important to have on hand. Other information you should prepare includes:
- Your complete business information (Name, address, phone number, Website URL and Google Maps link)
- A clearly stated reason why the review should be removed.
- State which policies you believe are being violated
- An explanation as to why you believe the review is fake
- All documentation that corroborates your story
Reach out to Google:
If you’ve waited the 3 days and Google hasn’t responded to your request, its time to get a little more aggressive. Get on twitter and send a direct message to GMB support @GoogleMyBiz including all the info we mentioned above. You should hear back from them within 5-7 business days.
You can also try using Google’s Online Chat to speak to someone or make a phone call to speak with a representative. They should be in contact with you in 2-3 days. You should receive an email with a Case ID as the subject. Write this down and keep it somewhere safe!
Ask the GMB Community:
If you are experiencing multiple review issues or are not receiving the help you want from Google, you have one more avenue you can use. You can go to the Spam & Policy section of the GMB community forum and post your issue. It may take time due to the large number of posts here, however, if you can include all of your previous efforts and gathered information it will greatly increase your odds of getting a response in a timely manner. This is a very helpful community and a top contributor may be able to escalate the problem directly to Google.
Wait and See: