One of the most common pain points for any small business owner is dealing with negative reviews. We are constantly flagging and reporting negative reviews for our clients that violate the review guidelines. However, Google doesn’t always agree with our assessments and interpretations of their guidelines so I thought I’d share several recent examples and their outcomes.
- The user called someone at the business a “douchebag”. I tried to get this removed as “sexual explicit content” and was told by Google that it didn’t violate their guidelines. However, the review did get removed.
- The user called a lawyer a “shyster”. Several different people attempted to get this removed by arguing that it was racist because the lawyer they were reviewing was Jewish. We were told multiple times that the review did not violate guidelines, however, it was eventually removed.
- The review was calling another customer who had left a review a racist. They specifically named the person in the review (“a racist lady Becky S who gave this place a 2/5 below”) and said they stayed at the hotel at the same time as them. I had to argue quite a bit with Google on this one, but the review was removed.
- The user called the business owner (a doctor) a con artist. They wrote “He puts on a great act, but in my opinion, he is a con artist.” This review is still live and Google would not remove it.
- The user reviewed a lawyer and simply put “it sucks”. They gave absolutely no context and the owner had no idea who it was. This review was also not removed and is still live today.
- The review specifically referenced a competitor. The review said “Every other dentist I’ve been to does the same work or better for less money. I would recommend ABC Dental instead of here”. Google said this didn’t violate the guidelines and wouldn’t remove it.
- The review called the owner “a right wing nut job”. Google also didn’t remove this one and said it didn’t violate their guidelines.
- The review called the business a “communist based company” and went on to claim that the business wasn’t American friendly. Google refused to remove the review.
Negative reviews are frustrating and you don’t always win the fight with Google to get them removed, but it’s always worth trying. In some case you might even be able to get your Google reviews for business temporarily turned off. If you see one that you think violates Google’s guidelines but Google My Business support is telling you it doesn’t, it is always worth getting a second opinion by posting on the Google Business Profile community forum. However, as illustrated by these examples, sometimes stupid reviews stay live and the best thing to do is to post a great response and move on with building a great business.
*Reviews quoted in this article were slightly re-worded to keep them anonymous.