Can I turn off Google reviews for my business?By Lawrence Dy
Unfortunately, businesses can't turn off Google reviews completely. That being said, finding other ways to remove (or prevent) negative feedback on your client’s Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business) can do more harm in the long run. If you’re unsure about what to say when your client suggests turning off Google reviews for their business, this article can help you solidify your recommendations to ensure they continue executing their reputation management strategy.
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In this article, you'll learn why your clients can’t turn off Google reviews, the impact removing some reviews can have on your clients' reputation and SEO strategy, and what they should do instead when dealing with negative reviews.
Can you turn off or disable Google reviews?
Unfortunately no, businesses can’t turn off or disable Google reviews.
As Google's policy states, reviews are an essential part of the Google Business Profile platform for establishing trust with potential customers and providing valuable feedback to businesses about their products or services.
Reasons businesses would want to turn off Google reviews
Google reviews are an essential part of any business’s marketing strategy, but there are a few reasons clients might consider turning them off:
- Too many negative reviews. This can be damaging to their reputation and turn away potential customers.
- Fake reviews. Sometimes customers leave fake reviews that contain false information or inaccurate details which can be misleading to other customers.
- Not enough time to moderate. It can be difficult to keep up with moderating the comments on Google reviews, which can take up valuable time and resources. This is where tools like Vendasta's listing management and Google Business Profile management solutions can help.
- Review bombing. Sometimes irate customers or competitors can swarm a Google Business Profile with numerous fake reviews in a short period.
While it might seem like a good idea to turn off Google reviews to avoid negative feedback from customers, it’s important to remember that reviews help establish trust with potential customers. It’s far better to focus on responding effectively and promptly to customer queries than shutting off the whole system altogether.
Can you remove certain Google reviews?
Google reviews can be an invaluable tool for businesses to gauge customer satisfaction, but sometimes, it’s necessary to remove certain reviews. In some cases, competitors or dissatisfied users may create disingenuous reviews to diminish a Google listing’s rankings, leaving companies with the difficult task of figuring out how to dispute malicious Google reviews.
Google's policy on removing reviews
Google’s policy is that reviews should not be removed unless there are clear violations of their policies. This includes posts that contain inappropriate language or content, or posts that violate applicable laws. Businesses should contact Google directly if they have any concerns about a particular review, and the company will investigate further if necessary. In some cases, it may be necessary to disable reviews to protect the integrity of the business and its customers.
However, this should only occur as a last resort after all other options have been exhausted. While it may be tempting to try to remove these reviews, doing so can be difficult — and in some cases, even illegal.
Removing fake or spam reviews
Fake reviews are a serious problem for businesses, as they can have a negative impact on their reputation and sales. However, Google has strict policies in place when it comes to fake reviews, and any attempts to delete or alter them could result in severe penalties or even account suspension.
The good news is that it's possible to remove certain Google reviews in special cases—although, it's not as straightforward as you might think. Google doesn't offer a simple delete option, as this could lead to inaccurate information being shared. Instead, they have a flagging system for reporting reviews that go against their guidelines. This process is designed to protect both customers and businesses alike, keeping things fair and transparent.
While it may not be the speediest solution available, using the flagging system can help you ensure your client's Google Business Profile reflects only the most truthful and accurate information for (and from) potential customers.
Why you shouldn't flag or remove negative Google reviews
If your client has accumulated genuine negative reviews from real customers, their business should embrace the feedback they get from customers and use it to their advantage, rather than removing or flagging them. Ignoring customer feedback is not a good strategy for any business, as it can quickly lead to a decrease in sales and even loss of customer trust.
Credibility and social proof
Reviews give the social proof customers are looking for when making a purchasing decision. Nine out of ten people check reviews before buying something (TrustPilot), while 59% of people specifically seek out Google reviews (Bizrate Insights). Google reviews are an invaluable asset for businesses, as customers rely on them to make informed decisions about where to spend their money. It's important to continue engaging with customers through reviews and ensure that they're accurate and up-to-date.
Attempting to remove some negative reviews from real customers would mean clients could also miss out on valuable feedback from customers about how they can better improve their business and customer service. Reviews provide a direct line of communication between businesses and their customers, allowing them to respond quickly to any queries or concerns and improve the customer experience in the process.
Local search rankings
Google reviews are also one of the most significant factors in local search rankings. When someone searches for a business on Google, the search engine considers a variety of factors to determine the most relevant results, including the number and quality of reviews. Therefore, having positive reviews on a Google Business Profile can improve search engine visibility, which can result in more traffic and sales for your clients.
Google reviews are a form of user-generated content that gives potential customers an unbiased look at a business, helping them make informed decisions about whether to use your clients' services or buy their products. Reviews also provide businesses with feedback on their strengths and areas for improvement, which can help them provide better services to their customers.
Besides, by disabling reviews, you’ll most likely miss out on valuable insight into how customers view your business. If you are considering turning off Google reviews, it is crucial that you weigh both the pros and cons before making any decisions.
Alternatives to removing Google reviews
Online reviews can make or break a business, so having the ability to manage them is crucial. Unfortunately, many businesses are unaware of the reputation management options available to them and instead assume that the only response is to turn reviews off completely.
Have a reputation management strategy in place
Instead, businesses should focus on responding promptly and professionally to every single review on Google, no matter how negative they are. A well-crafted response that shows you understand the customer’s concerns will go a long way in building trust with potential customers. Engaging with your customers is essential if you want them to keep coming back and recommending you to others.
It is important for businesses to manage their online reputation, and reviews are an integral part of that. While it can be difficult to receive negative reviews, it's critical to address them in a professional manner. Plus, businesses can also use reviews as an opportunity to learn more about their customers’ needs and desires, which can help them make informed decisions when developing new products or services. In short, turning off Google reviews should never be an option. Use them to build customer relationships, gain insights into the market, and highlight your business's strengths.
Flag fake reviews with Google's reporting tools
The best way to tackle the issue of fake reviews is to use Google's reporting tools. If you come across a review that you believe is not genuine, you can report it to Google by flagging it as inappropriate. The company will then review the review and take appropriate action if necessary. Additionally, take the time to respond calmly and professionally to all reviews (even negative ones) so that other customers know that your business takes feedback seriously.
Frequently asked questions
Is it legal to hide reviews?
The answer to whether it’s legal to hide reviews on Google is complicated. On the one hand, it can be argued that businesses have the right to control their online reputation and should be allowed to hide negative reviews in order to protect their brand. On the other hand, censoring customer feedback could lead to a lack of transparency and potentially hurt a business's credibility.
Can fake Google reviews be removed?
While fake reviews are an unfortunate reality for many businesses, there are steps that can be taken to address them. By utilizing Google's reporting tools and responding professionally to all reviews (both positive and negative), you can help protect your online reputation and ensure that accurate customer feedback is visible on your page.