How to Deal with Negative Reviews on Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile (GBP) is a tool for firms to market their qualities and engage with customers. Customers often engage with a company’s GBP by leaving reviews. These reviews offer helpful feedback to your business but also speak to Google about your business’s quality of service. Reviews are also an important factor in local Google search rankings and user conversion. We all love to hear raving reviews about our business, but what happens when a customer plasters your Google Business Profile with a negative review? Should you react? How should you react? What can you do to appeal the negative review?

Reacting to a Negative Review

It is best practice to never respond right away to a negative review. In the moment, business owners are upset or hurt which can lead to responding without thinking through all your options.

We suggest first trying to reach out to the customer privately if you have any contact information or if you know who the individual is. Try to settle the matter offline. If the matter is settled, the customer is often happy to delete the negative review from your Google Business Profile. If you’re unable to connect with the customer offline and want to respond to the review, feel free to craft a response which addresses the issue but remember that prospective customers may read your response in the future. You may also want to drop your contact information in your response to try to settle the matter offline. It is important to note, however, that once a negative review is responded to, it’s much more difficult to remove.

Appealing a Negative Review

Google’s Prohibited and Restricted Content policy not only applies to reviews on GBP but also photos and videos. Examples of reviews that violate Google’s policy are:

  • Spam or fake
  • Off-topic or unrelated to the business
  • Promoting restricted content (alcohol, gambling, tobacco, guns, etc)
  • Sexually explicit
  • Offensive or obscene
  • Dangerous
  • Impersonation or deceptive
  • Conflict of Interest

It is important to review Google’s policy before you consider flagging someone’s review. Google filters out spam and potentially fake reviews algorithmically. In order for Google to grant an appeal to remove a negative review, there has to be a very convincing argument that the review violates Google’s policies. Be sure you are armed with all the evidence you need before flagging a review. It is also very important to report the negative review from an owner’s GBP account. Google also takes into consideration the reviewer’s history. For example, if the user has left a series of one-star reviews in a fraudulent manner, they may remove it.

How to Flag a Review

  1. Login to your Google Business Profile account and select the listing for which you want to flag a review. Select “reviews” from the left-hand menu
  2. Click on the three vertical dots to the right of the review you’d like to flag. It’s important to note that when you are flagging a comment, that you are flagging it from a manager or primary owner’s account to begin the process.
  3. Select the violation type. A new page will appear allowing you to choose a violation type for the review in question. Google will ask you to provide a valid email address as well as prompt you to identify how the review violates their policy guidelines, so be sure to use the owner of the GBP profile’s email address when submitting.
  4. Submit the form and wait for an email from Google. After submitting the form, Google will investigate the review and follow up if they need additional information. Wait three days and check to see if the review has been removed. If it has not been removed, contact Google Business Profile support via chat or phone. Explain thoroughly with specific details and evidence (printscreens, etc.) so that the violation is clear.

It’s important to be diligent about reporting this type of content, as current and future customers might see it connected to your business. Staying connected with your clients through GBP is highly effective when you can successfully filter out unnecessary and harmful content.