We constantly see people ask Google My Business (GMB): Can I turn off reviews on my GMB listing?
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.
1. Google will shut off reviews for certain business categories
Some GMB categories can have their reviews turned off 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 My Business 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.
Fake Review Attack
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 is missing.
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 have reviews turned off 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.
How to Get a Google Review Removed
It can be quite difficult to get a review removed from GMB. 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 My Business 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 GMB guidelines and therefore will not be removed.
To attempt to have Google act on a review that you feels 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 GMB dashboard, finding the review you want removed, and clicking the three little dots in the right upper corner of the review. ‘Flag as inappropriate’ will appear, click it 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 will need to contact Google support to further argue your case.
If you are having trouble with a Google feature and need help, there are SEO experts available in the Local Search Forum that may be able to guide you.
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. 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 GMB (Google My Business), 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.”
December 27, 2020