Fake reviews are sometimes written by competitors hoping to one up you, or even customers who have mistaken your business for someone else’s! What’s important is that you know how to spot and get rid of them in order to keep your online reputation as authentic as possible. Today we’re going to show you how.

Think you’ve been the victim of a fake review on Google? Check it against some of the following tell-tale signs to know for sure.

1. Your customer database doesn’t match up

In this instance, if the review is negative, we’d recommend you reply to it. You could ask for the order number or customer name, which will enable you to either bring the reviewer’s details up on your database or identify them as a non-customer.

2. Generic comments

If the cause for concern is a lack of detail, you can reply to the reviewer and ask for these. Prompting them to provide you with specifics about their order or experience will make it much easier to identify them as a real customer.

3. Other suspicious reviews

With this information, you can contact other businesses the reviewer has left feedback for directly to find out if they have any record of the customer, before taking matters further.

4. Review timeline

As before, providing the reviews left are for businesses that will have customer details, you can contact them to find out if the reviewer is also missing from their records.

5. False information

If the reviewer has mistakenly left your business a review, they should be very willing to remove it. Reply to the reviewer politely informing them you don’t offer the services/product mentioned and ask them if they’re sure they have the right business, or can provide an order number.

How to remove a fake Google review

If you have solid evidence that a review is fake, you can flag it to Google. This will alert Google to the review and get them to consider removing it. In order for a review to be flagged, it should meet Google’s guidelines.

Google considers the following review characteristics to be ‘inappropriate’:

  • Contains offensive language or profanity.
  • Is written by someone with a conflict of interest, such as a current or previous employer, friend or competitor.
  • Is written by someone who has never experienced the service or product provided.

How to flag a fake Google review

  1. Hover over the review then click the flag symbol. If in Google Maps view, click the three dots to the right of the review, then ‘flag as inappropriate’.
  2. Enter your email in the box provided and use the checkboxes to select the applicable violation type from the list.
  3. Be patient. Google can take some time to look over flagged reviews. If the process takes more than a week, you may wish to report the review to Google Small Business Support.

How to report a fake review to Google Small Business Support

If the fake review remains, you can also try contacting Google Small Business Support, who should get back to you within a couple of days. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log into your Google My Business Account using this link: https://www.google.com/business/.
  2. Go to the reviews section.
  3. Click the home menu then navigate to ‘support’.
  4. Choose whether you’d like to make contact by phone or email.
  5. Next, you’ll be asked to provide some information. Include a screenshot of the fake review including any research you’ve done as further evidence.
  6. Review the information you’ve provided then click ‘Submit’.
  7. Wait for Google to get in touch and provide them with any further information they require.

What to do if Google doesn’t remove a fake review

In some cases, there will be insufficient evidence for Google to remove a review you deem fake. In these instances, it’s best not to panic, but to take matters into your own hands. Here are two helpful things to try.

  1. Reply to the review asking the reviewer to get in touch. This will open up a dialogue and – hopefully – help you to get to the bottom of the review.
  2. Collect more, positive Google reviews to outnumber the fake, negative review. You can do this by encouraging your customers to leave you a review on Google, either by email, in person or with a link from your social media. If you use a Review Platform, such as Reviews.io, you may be able to get customers sent to Google directly to leave their review. We offer this service as part of our Reputation Management.

In Summary

Once you’ve seen a few, fake reviews on Google are pretty easy to spot. Having said that, businesses should never accuse reviewers of being ingenuine – this could really come back to bite you. Instead, follow the guidelines above, go through the flagging process, and reply politely to negative reviews to find a solution to the problem.Want advice about fake Google reviews? Head over to our website or jump on live chat with one of our advisors and we’ll be more than happy to help in any way that we can.

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