How to dispute a Google review

If you’re tasked with reputation management for your clients, you should know how to deal with negative Google reviews. A client may come to you asking, “How can you help me remove a negative Google review?” Now you're wondering how to dispute a Google review.

Find out how to capitalize on a good review and minimize the damage of a bad one. Download these review response templates now.

Sadly, you can’t just open a Google Business Profile, click a few tabs, and see that glimmering Delete button. It’s not possible.

But there are other ways to dispute and remove a Google review.

How to dispute a Google review

Google has standard policies for Google reviews. If you can prove someone has posted a fake or inappropriate review according to their policies, you have a chance to get the review removed.

One of the first steps for how to dispute a Google review is to involve the Google team. You need to ask them to review the suspicious review and remove it. But there is no guarantee that they will do so.

You may also have to wait weeks to get a response. It’s even possible that you may not get a response at all.

However, to save a client’s reputation, it’s worth a try.

Types of Google reviews that are eligible for a dispute

According to Google’s review policy, you can dispute some specific types of reviews that are mentioned below.

Spammy or fake reviews Google will likely remove spammy or manipulative content that may repeatedly appear on several reviews.

Reviews that are irrelevant – You can flag off-topic reviews that contain any irrelevant social, personal, or political commentary. However, reviews that contain someone’s genuine experience with a business will be considered valid.

Illegal or sexually explicit content – You may request to delete Google reviews that contain something illegal, locally restricted, or sexually explicit. Offensive and dangerous content that harasses your client or contains hate speech also falls under this criteria.

If the review in question fits one of these criteria, you can flag that review in the hope that Google will remove it.

How to flag Google reviews

If you think competitors have attempted to wrong your client's business, you should flag such fake reviews.

It’s easy.

The Google team members will review your flagged Google review. They will remove it if only they find it violates their policy.

You might get a response after several days. It’ll be best to ask the client to flag the review as well. In that way, it will help you draw more attention.

Here are the steps to follow when flagging a Google review:

  1. Log in to the Google Business Profile Manager of your client’s business
  2. Select the correct location if there are multiple
  3. Find “Reviews” in the menu
  4. Find the review you want to flag and click the three-dot menu
  5. Then choose “Flag as inappropriate”

If you fail to draw the attention of Google, there are other ways to delete a Google review in question.

  1. Tweet to Google
  2. Contact Google Business Profile Support
  3. Request dissatisfied customers to delete or change their reviews directly

How to contact Google Business Profile Support

Informing Google Business Profile (GBP) Support about an unfair review is another tactic to dispute a Google review and get it removed.

Before doing that, make sure you have the evidence to support your claim. The more organized and informative your email, the better.

Capture a few screenshots of the review in question. Along with the screenshots, add your contact information to submit the email to GBP Support.

If you are lucky, you’ll get a reply within 48 hours. However, if you don't get a response from them, don't lose hope.

There is another way to reach them. You can Tweet them. It’ll take minutes.

How to tweet to Google

If you're still trying to determine how to dispute a Google review, you can try to post a tweet. You have to post this tweet from the official Twitter account of the business for which you want to remove the review.

Tweet to (@GoogleMyBiz) and let the GBP team know about your issue. Explain the situation clearly in your tweet. Tell them how the suspicious review is violating their policy. Also, attach the screenshots.

After tweeting, you might get a reply from the GBP team. Then you can follow their instructions to move forward with this issue.

You can also try filing a legal removal request to dispute a Google review.

How to file a legal removal request

Another step you can take for how to dispute a Google review: If you can prove a customer or competitor is trying to sabotage your client’s reputation, you can reach Google directly.

Just fill out a form and submit your complaint to Google’s Legal Help Center. Go there and click Create a Request.

All these strategies we have described are to remove fake, biased, or manipulative Google reviews. But what if you got a legitimate review, and it’s a bad one?

Bad reviews can be frustrating for small or new businesses.

What should you do if your client asks you to remove a bad review from their Google Business Profile? We have solutions for that too.

Is it possible to delete a negative Google review?

It would be much easier for you if you could simply delete a bad review. Sadly, no simple strategies can help you here.

Only a reviewer can delete or modify a Google review. However, this gives you an opportunity to resolve the issue directly and improve customer satisfaction for your client.

How to ask customers to delete or change a review

Never force a client’s customers to amend their reviews. Respond to the negative reviews and collect their contact information. Try to reach them by phone to discuss the problem.

If you talk to them and resolve their issue over the phone, most likely, it will bring positive results. Clarify the situation. Tell them why this may have happened and how apologetic your client is. Never make excuses or get defensive. Instead, own the mistakes (even if you have made none).

If you are able to calm the customer, politely ask them to take down the review or update it. Also, never forget to thank the customer for sharing their honest feedback. Show them your client values their opinion.

You won’t manage to win hearts every time. But you should always try. If your attempts to remove a negative review fail, you can try promoting the good ones.

You can always bury a few bad reviews by getting more positive reviews from your client’s customers. If you achieve a lot of new positive Google reviews, online searchers may not ever find the old negative comments.

Always ask satisfied customers to leave a Google review. Don't forget to help them find your client’s Google business page. This will encourage clients to leave feedback even more.

How white-label reputation management can help get more reviews

Keeping track of reviews, responding to them, and disputing them for multiple clients can be overwhelming. Your challenge might be more widespread than simply determining how to dispute a Google review. Many agencies and resellers invest in reputation management software and a white-label review management service to enhance the services they can offer their clients.

Benefits of white-label reputation management

  • Ensure your clients can get more reviews for social proof and local SEO
  • Helps you monitor consumer reviews and respond quickly
  • Makes it easier to respond to positive and negative reviews
  • Helps companies offer an enhanced service to reach, convert, and retain a high number of clients
  • Offers effective reporting on reviews and initiatives to gain customer insights

Offering effective review management services

Disputing a Google review and, in some cases, having them deleted, is only one part of an effective review management strategy. Leverage the latest review management technology and white-label services to enhance your clients’ online reputations in less time and at a lower cost than doing it manually in house.

About the Author

Solange Messier is the Content Strategy Manager at Vendasta. Solange has spent the majority of her career in content marketing helping companies improve how they connect with their prospects and customers. Her diverse background includes magazine publishing, book publishing, marketing agencies, payment processing, and tech. When she's not working, Solange can be found spending time with her family, running, and volunteering.

Turn your digital agency into a scalable power house with Vendasta

Share This