Unfortunately, not all reviews are positive. The impact of fake Google reviews that are negative can be significant and cost your business quite a bit. As a result, it’s up to you to find them and get rid of them when possible.
The Problem with Fake Google Reviews
If someone is searching for the product or service you offer, you not only want to be found but ensure the information presented is positive. Fake reviews can make this an issue.
The fact is, fake reviews often include allegations against you or false statements. Others may have been written by the competition that’s trying to sabotage your brand. There may be some from people who have never interacted with your brand or business.
On some rarer occasions, disgruntled, former employees may even be leaving negative reviews to try and seek “revenge.”
If you are concerned that there are negative, fake reviews about your business or brand on Google, it is up to you to find them and have them removed. Learn how to do this here.
Tips for Spotting Fake Google Reviews
When it comes time to find fake Google reviews, the first step is to ensure that the review in question is actually fake. Any type of negative review, particularly ones from angry customers, may appear a bit slanderous in nature, but if they are based on an actual interaction, they aren’t fake.
The good news is, there are a few signs of a fake review you can look for. Some of the most common are found here.
The Reviewer’s Name
If you can’t find the reviewer’s name anywhere in your customer database, then it’s an indication you are dealing with a fake review. After all, if the person has never interacted with your company or made a purchase, how could the review be legitimate?
Has the reviewer who left the negative review left a string of similar comments on other businesses’ pages? If you find a reviewer that is giving several businesses a one-star review, with very little movement, then they may be abusing the platform.
Read the review carefully. Does it mention products or services that you don’t offer? If so, then there is a good chance that the reviewer has mistaken your business for another service or brand.
The Review is Extremely Generic
In many cases, fake reviews are created using a template. As a result, it won’t mention any specific details regarding dates, prices, or an explanation of the particular situation. If you find an extremely generic review that doesn’t provide any specifics, then it is likely a fake.
Is there information in the review that is blatantly false? If so, then this is another sign of a fake review.
Unfortunately, being able to spot the fake reviews is the easy part of the situation. Trying to get these removed is where things can get a bit more complicated.
Responding to Fake Reviews: What You Need to Know
Responding to a review is smart, as it allows you the opportunity to address any issue that is raised. They also provide you with the opportunity to reassure another user who may see the negative review.
If you don’t recognise the customer, or their complaint is not linked to your service, then you can acknowledge this, too. By responding in this manner, you can indicate that something isn’t right about the complaint. It also shows that your business cares about what your customers have to save.
While responding to the fake review is important, it’s also crucial that you take the next step to see if you can have it removed.
Tips for Removing Fake Google Reviews
If you suspect a fake Google review, you can report this to Google. In fact, this can be done by anyone.
All you have to do to indicate a suspected fake review is click the “Flag as inappropriate” option, which is found on the review itself. In Google Maps, this option is available when you click on the three dots found on the right-hand side of the review.
Once you click on this option, you are navigated to a page where you have the opportunity to report any policy violation. At this point, you are asked to give your email address and specify the type of violation that has occurred.
After this form is submitted, Google will take the time to review your complaint. If the reviewer needs additional information, they will contact you; however, this isn’t something that happens very often.
Something to keep in mind is that Google is much more likely to take action against a particular review if it is flagged more than one time. If possible, have your colleagues take the same action While there is no guarantee this will work, it will increase the likelihood that Google will take notice.
Get Your Good Name Back
As a business, the general consensus about your business matters. If you are dealing with fake Google reviews, you need to do everything you can to have them removed.
When it comes to your brand and your business, protecting your “good name” is a must. If you need more help with your business success online, check out our blog on how to turn your website into a customer magnet.