Getting a negative review can be one of the most frustrating things about being a business owner. Google does have guidelines for reviews and if a review violates those guidelines – you can attempt to get the review removed, but you have to follow a process. There are four steps to getting a review removed that violate Google’s guidelines and you must follow them in this order!
1. Flag the Review in the Dashboard
Go to your Google Business Profile (GBP) dashboard. You can do this one of two ways. First, you can search your business name on Google and you should see a dashboard pop up. You could also go to this link: https://business.google.com/locations.
Once you are in your dashboard, you want to click on “read reviews”. There you will see all of your reviews. Find the review that you believe violates Google’s guidelines and there should be three dots next to it. Fun fact: the three dots are called ‘the kebab menu’ (also known as the three dots menu and the three vertical dots menu). It is an icon used to open a menu with additional options. When you click on the three dots menu, you want to click on “Report Review.” After you do this, you have “flagged” the review for removal.
2. Check the Status AFTER Three Days
You must wait three business days before checking the status. This step is crucial. If you try to contact Google before the three days are up, they will just tell you to wait. After three business days, Google will tell you if the review was removed or not. In order to find the status, you have to use the review tool. This is not a commonly known tool but is very important for flagging reviews – be sure to bookmark it so you always have access to it. First, you need to search for your business name by clicking on the arrow and then typing your business name in where it says “Listing Name.”
Once you’ve done that, it will ask you if you are reporting a new review or checking the status of a previously reported review. You want to check the status of the review you reported three days ago.
Once you are in there, it will show you the status of the review(s) you have flagged. If they have not reviewed it yet, it will say “Decision Pending.” If they did not remove the review, it will say “No Policy Violation.” Hopefully, the review will have been removed and it will say, “Removed.”
The problem with flagging a review is that you cannot put any notes in there, so you are telling Google you believe there is a policy violation without being able to give them any context. So, oftentimes, you will see the review was not removed.
3. Appeal the Decision
If Google has denied your request to remove the review, there should be an option to appeal this decision. There should be a button at the bottom of the screen to “Appeal.”
Once you click this, it will open up a window for you to actually put in information about why you believe this review should be removed. You’ll want to explain what policy this is violating and explain how this review violates that policy. This actually creates a ticket to Google Support. After you submit it, you should receive an email confirmation from Google. This email will contain a case ID number – this is very important – do not lose this number! After a few days, you will receive an email from Google saying that your appeal was approved (the review was removed) or denied (again!). You cannot appeal a decision more than once, the tool will not allow you to.
4. Post on the GBP Forum
If the review was still not removed, you can post it to the Google Business Profile Forum. On here, you’ll want to post about the review and why you think it should be removed. You must include that case ID number, which is why it is important not to lose that number! The forum is run by a group of moderators who do not work for Google. By posting on the forum, you will get a third-party opinion about whether they agree the review violates Google’s guidelines. If a moderator believes it does violate Google’s guidelines, they can escalate it. The moderator will then explain to Google why they believe the review should be removed. Hopefully, (fingers crossed!) after these four steps, the review has been removed! However, it is important to note that Google does not always remove all of the reviews that you believe should be removed.