Being able to collect social proof is huge, and Google Business Profile provides a perfect platform for that.
But it also leaves a business vulnerable to blackmailing.
Fake reviews remain a huge problem not just for Google but for Facebook as well.
To discuss local customer reviews and dealing with fake reviews, Jim Boykin, founder and CEO of Internet Marketing Ninjas, and Ann Smarty, IMN’s analyst, were joined by Ben Fisher, Google’s trusted Business Profile Product Expert.
Ben Fisher is Co-Founder of Steady Demand and Diamond Google Product Expert with over 25 years of experience in Internet Marketing.
There’s actually a lot of organized crime around leaving fake reviews because:
- They negatively impact your business average ranking
- They are also a ranking factor in local ads.
To avoid becoming a target of fake reviews, avoid ever paying for reviews.
Business buying reviews usually become the target of fake reviews and blackmailing.
Getting rid of bad reviews is very difficult.
They have a strict number of guidelines that explain what they define as an abuse.
But in many cases, it remains very challenging to get rid of fake reviews.
For example, removing a fake review from a past employee is a nightmare and it will only work if they have you as a past employee on their Linkedin profile.
In other cases, it is very difficult to prove that a certain review is probably attack from your competitor unless there are signals of abuse:
- Location: Someone from India is reviewing a local company in California
- Multiple similar one-star reviews a user leaves
- Referring to a competitor in their reviews
- Brand new account leaving a negative review
To get rid of a bad (fake, abusive) review on Google Business Profile:
- Report it from within your dashboard (which will probably not going to help but that’s a required step anyway)
- Request an appeal (which is human moderated)
- If your appeal gets rejected, go to Google’s support community and make a post with a link and screenshot (no backstory). From here, this can be escalated to Google.
- At this point you’ll get a final decision from Google (after a week or so)
There’s no way to request a call back from Google to request a review removed. And there’s no way to request a review removal using the chat functionality as well.