Wondering, can you turn off your reviews for your Google Business Profile? In almost all cases, the answer is no. Unfortunately, you will have to deal with the system Google has created. There are, however, a handful of situations in which Google will occasionally remove a review, or turn off the ability to leave reviews on a listing. Here’s how.
On this Page:
- Google will shut off reviews for certain business categories
- Google will shut off reviews for listings facing negative review attacks
- Can I Turn Off Google Reviews For My Business If I’m Getting Fake Review Attacks?
- What if my professional organization has guidelines about publicly displayed reviews, can I turn off Google reviews for my business in this circumstance?
- Here’s How to Get a Google Reviews For Business Removed
1. Google will shut off reviews for certain business categories
Some GBP categories can turn off reviews on Google automatically. These include categories such as schools or instructors. Google is not always consistent in this matter. However, almost all other listings have reviews turned on by default.
2. Google will shut off reviews for listings facing negative review attacks
If you are under a fake negative review attack, there might also be something additional you can do. It is possible to have Google Business Profile block the ability for new reviews to be left for a time period. I have only seen this when the following 2 things are both true:
- You have a large number of negative reviews that have been left recently and in a short time frame.
- You have a scandal that’s been covered in the media or you have evidence (such as an email or text) that someone is threatening your business and claiming that they will leave you tons of negative reviews as a punishment for something.
For example, this business was recently blasted with negative reviews due to a Facebook post that went viral. Currently, reviews are disabled on their profile so users are not able to leave a new review.
Can I Turn Off Google Reviews For My Business If I’m Getting Fake Review Attacks?
Although the review count has not updated yet (it still says 81), there are only 3 reviews live on the listing and the button to leave a new review was missing for that time frame. It has since been reinstated.
What if my professional organization has guidelines about publicly displayed reviews, can I turn off Google reviews for my business in this circumstance?
There are professions that may wish to turn off Google reviews to help protect their clients, or because their licensing requires them to not solicit reviews. Therapists and psychiatrists may want to disable reviews to protect patients’ confidentiality, especially if they are dealing with mentally unstable individuals for ethical grounds.
American Psychological Association specifically prohibits members from asking for reviews. Doctors may feel more comfortable if review capability was turned off completely just to be safe.
Unfortunately, Google does not make exceptions for these types of situations and allows the ability to leave reviews for these types of businesses.
Here’s How to Get a Google Reviews For Business Removed
It can be quite difficult to get a review removed from GBP. In fact, a review will only be removed if it breaks one of the specific guidelines listed:
- Spam and fake content
- Restricted content
- Illegal content
- Terrorist content
- Sexually explicit content
- Offensive content
- Dangerous & Derogatory Content
- Conflict of Interest
Google Business Profile opts out of taking responsibility for dealing with reviews by stating:
“Google doesn’t get involved when merchants and customers disagree about facts, since there’s no reliable way to discern who’s right about a particular customer experience”
What you see as an obvious fake review may not break GBP guidelines and, therefore, will not be removed.
To attempt to have Google act on a review that you feel violates one of their guidelines, you would:
- Flag the review(s) for removal through your account. You can do this by opening the review tab in your GBP dashboard, finding the review you want removed, and clicking the three little dots in the upper right corner of the review. ‘Report Review’ will appear. Click it, and then choose which of the guidelines the review breaks from the list.
- Wait for three days (Google won’t do anything before that), and if Google refuses to remove the review, you can try and get it reported using their review removal tool
- To use this tool, you use the “Manage you Google Business reviews” link – https://support.google.com/business/workflow/9945796?authuser=1
- Verify your business account and select the listing you want the review removed from
- The next option you see will ask you if you want to “Report a new review for removal” or “Check the status of a review I’ve already reported and my appeal options”. If this is the first time you are submitting this request, you will select “Report a new review for removal.”
- You will then be shown a list of all your reviews; the last column on the right will have an option to “Report a review link”. Click the “Report” link next to the review you believe violates Google’s Guideline.
- You will then see the following screen, select the appropriate category, and select “Submit.”
- Go back to the previous screen and close the request.
- Once you have submitted your request, you will need to wait another three days and then check the status of your request.
- To do this, you will need to go back into the tool and select “Check the status of a review I’ve already reported and my appeal options.”
- This next screen will tell you if your removal request has been removed, if the decision is pending, or if it has been denied.
- If your removal has been denied, you will get an option to “Appeal eligible reviews”. Select this option if you wish to appeal.
- The appeal process is where you have the option to support your case as to why you believe this review violates Google’s Guidelines. At this point, you will want to gather all the evidence you have about the review, the reviewer, any documents that support or claim, previous cases you might have submitted about the issue, or any other related documentation you believe might be relevant to your case. Put all this information into a Google doc (if you prefer) or spell it all out to Google on the next screen. Remember you will only get one shot to appeal your review, so make sure your information is thorough.
- Click Submit
- From there, you will want to wait another 3 days to get your decision
- If your appeal is denied, the only other option you have is to submit your case to the Google Support Forums, where you can have a PE escalate the issue to the Google support team. However, if the Google support team doesn’t believe your review violates any of the guidelines, you will not be able to get this review removed.
If you are having trouble with a Google feature and need help, there are SEO experts available in the Local Search Forum who may be able to guide you.
Many businesses often wonder if it’s possible to turn off reviews for their Google Business Profile. Unfortunately, Google’s policies and features do not allow businesses to disable Google reviews completely. Hopefully, this quick overview of ‘Can I turn off Google reviews for my business?’ and how to get reviews removed from Google will be helpful for you. If you are looking for specific circumstances on how to get reviews removed or if you need more resources on reviews, you can check out the following pages:
- Getting Reviews from Someone That’s Not a Customer Removed
- 8 Examples of Negative Reviews on Google
- How to Remove Negative Reviews on Google My Business
- Why Are My Google Reviews Not Publishing?
And if you’re a local business that needs help ranking on Google in either the 3-pack or organically, at Sterling Sky we can help. We offer SEO audits, consulting, or monthly local SEO services. Contact our office today for more information.
Check out what William had to say about our local SEO services on Google.
“Sterling Sky is easily the best Local SEO company in North America. Joy is known as an expert in this area and she is surrounded by a star studded team of similar hard working bright minds. They carefully research and implement best practices to increase SEO and customer usability. There is no one better for Local SEO. If you need help with GBP (Google Business Profile), reviews, On Page SEO, PR, or if you just want better rankings, contact Sterling Sky. I have consulted with Joy and been a client for over 4 years and it has helped my business to dominate.”
Rating 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
See our 4.9 rating and read more of our 68 reviews on Google!
December 27, 2020