Best Ways to Remove Negative Content about your Business from Google

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio

We’re living in a hyper-digital age where news travels fast. This can be both good and bad, unfortunately, because when someone leaves a negative Google review about your business, things can get sticky pretty fast. But can you remove this negative content from Google? 

Best ways to remove negative content from Google

As much as we hate to admit it, Google reviews can either make or break your brand name. And, there’s little you can do to prevent those negative reviews or content from popping up because you can’t really control how people feel about your business at any point in time. So, the question is, when someone does leave a negative or even a fake review on Google, what can you do about it?

This easy-to-understand guide presents four key ways through which you can remove negative content from Google. Some of them may be more effective than others, while some may take a while to work – either way, there’s no harm in trying, so let’s get to it!

Before we discuss the ways to remove negative content, we just want to quickly put this out there, if it’s any consolation: bad Google reviews aren’t the end of the world. Yes, they can seriously tarnish your reputation in certain situations, but the good news is when you, say, mix those negative reviews with positive ones – for example – you can not only lessen the impact of the negative content but also show to everyone that you are a real, organic business, where people have shared both positive and negative sentiments about you. 

Even the top-rated and most well-established businesses run into negative reviews every now and then. Also, just a quick heads up before revealing the four ways to remove negative content – Google will remove certain kinds of negative reviews on its own if they violate any of these conditions:

  • Fake or ‘spammy’ content which is posted for the sake of manipulating ratings, including those posted several times from more than one account.
  • Off-topic posts which have little to do with the business or customer experience, and more to do with the reviewer’s personal or political views.
  • Posts which promote, encourage or entice specific actions to be taken around items bought which do not comply with local laws – such as the promotion or purchase of gambling services, firearms, alcohol, adult services, pharmaceuticals, etc.
  • Illegal activity or the depiction of an illegal activity, including but not limited to endangered animal products, copyrighted content, human trafficking, graphic violence, etc. 
  • Any content which may depict terrorism in any way or point to an individual/company as a terrorist. 
  • Content which is sexually explicit or that which sexually exploits children.
  • Offensive, profane and obscene content.  
  • Dangerous content, such as that which may be considered intimidating or harassing in nature, including that which may incite or propagate hatred. 
  • Content which falsely impersonates, represents or incriminates someone else, such as the company’s heads or senior management. 
  • Content which is biased or dishonest – including positive reviews posted by the business themselves or where they asked an employee to do the same on their behalf, for the sake of manipulating a competitor’s rating.

And, with that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff:

Way #1 to remove negative content  

As we just discussed, Google does not allow certain types of content to be posted online – be it on Google Reviews, Google Videos or Google Photos. When someone leaves negative sentiments about your business online which contains any of the above, you can request Google to remove it from search results. 

So, the first thing to do is review Google’s policy. This is a good way to check that the negative content is not allowed as per the ‘inappropriate content policy’ set by Google. 

Next, you’re going to flag the negative review in your account, and here’s how to request for the inappropriate or negative content to be removed from Google according to the device you’re using:

Desktop PC

  • Sign in to your Google My Business account
  • Open the listing you’d like to manage, then click reviews
  • Click more, and then click on flag as inappropriate

Mobile device

  • Launch the My Business app
  • Tap customers, then reviews
  • Tap more, and then flag review

Google Maps (for computer only)

  • Open Google Maps on your PC 
  • Find your business listing
  • Locate the negative review or content you want removed
  • Click more, then flag as inappropriate

With this step, the key thing to remember is to be patient, as Google advises the same! It may take at least a couple of days for someone on the Google team to assess the flagged item and run it through the content review team. 

Way #2 to remove negative content  

One of the most common ways businesses can remove negative content from Google and restore their reputation is to approach the customer or individual who left the bad review, and ask him/her to delete it. 

It’s understandable that responding to negative content the right way may take a fair amount of time, energy and patience, but in the long run, removing negative reviews this way can be very beneficial to your business. 

If you succeed, you will have not only deleted the negative review but also restored your customer’s faith in the brand – in fact, following the ‘patch up’, they may even become one of your brand’s best advocates! Here’s how to go about it:

The moment you come across a negative review, take a step back and think carefully about it from your customer’s perspective – What did they complain about? Can you make things right now that you understand what went wrong? 

Once you’ve assessed the root cause of the negative review and made sure that the review isn’t fake or one which may be flagged as inappropriate, you should write a polite, direct and brief response to the negative review on Google. 

Now, business owners will have different opinions on what to write or not to write, but in our opinion, the general gist more or less remains the same:

  • Recognise that there’s a problem – for example: “We can clearly see that you had an issue with one of our services.”
  • Next, you’d want to show genuine empathy and acknowledge the frustration and undue stress they’ve gone through – for example: “We’re sorry you’ve had to put up with this, we’d be pretty upset too if we were in your shoes”, or something along those lines. 
  • Lastly, you need to give some kind of assurance that you’re looking into the issue and will fix it as a priority. So, something like: “Please allow me to make this right for you, and in the meantime do share your thoughts on how we can better serve you….” – you get the idea.

You’ll have to play the waiting game for a while and once you get a response (hopefully), you can set the record straight. 

Way #3 to remove negative content  

Send a tweet to @GoogleSmallBiz and ask them to remove the negative review or content on your business. If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance the first two ways did not yield any positive results. 

Let’s assume that you flagged a review as ‘inappropriate’, but never got any feedback on it – maybe you had flagged it multiple times, but still no response. Perhaps, you even took the liberty of responding to the reviewer, but they never got back to you. 

So, it seems you’ve done all the due diligence you possibly could – you’ve got nothing to lose by approaching Google on a public forum. However, instead of tweeting Google directly, you will tweet them on their “@GoogleSmallBiz” handle. Make sure to “follow” them so that they can Direct Message you to report any developments. 

Attaching screen shots of the negative content with your DM or tweet, along with a link and short description, will definitely help Google’s Small Business department to see a clearer picture and address the issue more promptly. 

Way #4 to remove negative content  

Register a legal removal request for the negative content left about your business online. This is a last resort to remove negative content from Google, but there’s a catch: it applies to only a handful of cases. 

For instance, Google extends businesses the option to make a formal request for content removal, if the negative content is illegal according to their policy – which we listed at the beginning of the article. 

So, if you feel that the negative content or review is fake, falsely incriminates you, has been posted to defame you (without reason), or has anything illegal or explicit which violates Google’s policy, you can use the Content Removal Tool to remove the negative or “bad” content. 

Select Google My Business, and on the next few pages, you will be asked specific questions pertaining to the negative review and your complaint about the content in it.  

Google is known for taking these complaints very seriously and when you submit a report, keep in mind that you’re alleging illegal activity or wrongdoing on the reviewer’s part. So, be careful and think this through! 

If you need professional help with negative content removal from Google in a smooth, hassle-free and cost effective-way, then just get in touch

Comments are closed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This