Disputing a Google review is vital if you receive any fake or malicious reviews. It is possible to flag the bad review with Google to get the reviews deleted. You should also respond to the fake review online, even if you are disputing the Google review. But how do you know when to dispute a Google review and when you must leave it? Read on to find out.
Thankfully, most reviews are positive and fill you with confidence—if you are doing a good job. When you receive a negative review or an angry customer has voiced their opinion, it’s normal to feel angry and upset. If you suspect that the review is fake, you will probably wonder how to dispute the Google review.
When to Dispute a Google Review
Google has a clear review policy when you can and can’t dispute reviews. You can only flag a Google review for removal if it breaches Google’s standards. Anything that goes against its Prohibited and Restricted Content policy is disputable. And, the list of things on this policy that you can dispute is extensive.
Here is a list of items that allow you to dispute a Google review:
- Fake or spam reviews—All reviews must contain genuine content about the customer’s experience. This also includes content that is off-topic or irrelevant. So, reviews can’t contain comments on other products.
- Restricted content—Certain products are prohibited because of legal restrictions, such as alcohol, tobacco, guns, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, gambling, adult, and financial services. Reviews can’t contain links or contact information for sellers of these products.
- Illegal content—The list is quite extensive and includes content that goes against other people’s legal rights, sexually abusive or explicit images, products related to endangered animals, and the promotion or celebration of terrorist acts.
- Offensive content—This type of content could be obscene language or gestures, violent images, threatening or bullying, and discrimination based on race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, and disability.
- Conflicts of interest—You can’t review your own business, and neither can employees. Competitors can’t leave reviews about your business, and people can’t impersonate a genuine customer.
Google has worked hard to introduce automated fake and spam review detection. However, on occasion, some legitimate reviews may be removed. If you feel that this may have occurred, you can dispute it. You can do this by contacting Google support from your Google My Business account.
Related reading: How to respond to every type of review.
When You Can’t Dispute a Google Review
But suppose someone leaves a review that you disagree with. Or a person leaves a negative review, and you want to delete the negative feedback. In that case, you can’t dispute the review. Google’s review guidelines clearly state that the company won’t get involved in disagreements between businesses and customers.
How to Successfully Dispute a Google Review
If you are sure a Google review goes against one or more of the policies, you need to flag it to dispute it successfully.
There are three simple ways that you can flag an inappropriate Google review.
1. Dispute the Google review from your account
From your computer or mobile app, enter your Google My Business (GMB) account. If you have multiple locations, select the place where the review appears and then select the review you want to flag. You will find three vertical dots. Click on the dots and then select “Flag as inappropriate.”
2. Dispute the Google review from Google Maps
Open Google Maps and search for your business profile. Once you are in your profile, you will be able to find the review and the three vertical dots to select and then “Flag as inappropriate.”
3. Dispute the Google review from a Google search
You can also look for your business profile from the Google search engine and then click on “Reviews.” Search for the review that you wish to flag. Point your cursor over the star rating and then click on “Flag as inappropriate.”
In each case, you will need to select a reason why you are disputing the Google review. In a few short sentences, explain why the comments are inappropriate. A member of the Google support team may contact you for more information.
Suppose you don’t have success disputing a review by flagging it as inappropriate. In that case, you can also contact Google Small Business Support from your account. Click on “Support” and scroll down to “Need more help.” If you type in “Dispute a review” and choose how you would prefer to be contacted, your dispute will go straight to a Google employee.
It can take up to a week for Google to remove the offending review. As you can imagine, this review can still do a lot of damage to your online reputation. Regardless of whether the review has inappropriate content or you believe it is fake, you should still reply to your disputed Google reviews.
What to Do When You Can’t Dispute a Google Review
When you can’t dispute a Google review, the best way to resolve the issue is to win your customer over with outstanding customer service. Unhappy customers expect a response and quickly, but this doesn’t mean you should rush to respond. First, take a moment to calm down and read the review very carefully. Decide if they have made valid points and what you can do to fix the issue.
To successfully resolve a Google review that you can’t dispute, you should ensure your response contains the following elements:
- The customer’s name for a personal touch
- A thank you for their feedback—after all, they are giving you a chance to improve
- A heartfelt apology that takes responsibility
- A solution so that the customer is happy
- Contact details so that you can take the conversation offline
- Your name and position
After a reasonable amount of time, you should contact the customer to make sure they are happy with the solution you provided. This is also an excellent opportunity to ask your customer if they would consider updating their review.
Finally, it would be best if you fixed the mistakes that cause customers to leave negative reviews. If you don’t, more people will continue to spot the same problems, and readers can see that you are not a person of your word.
Disputing Google Reviews Successfully— In Conclusion
It’s vital to monitor new Google reviews regularly. As soon as you see a review that you want to dispute, you must flag it. Reviews are critical to the success of your business. So, disputing fake Google reviews and responding to them is a priority.
Disputing Google reviews because you are not happy with what the customer has said is just a waste of time. It is more productive to invest your time in making necessary changes to your product or service. Then always be in the habit of responding to negative reviews to turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one.
Along with this, you must continue with your review strategy to gain more positive reviews. Making sure you have a steady stream of positive reviews will help to maintain an optimal star rating.
Starloop is review management software that can help you get more reviews without any hard work. Getting a steady stream of new reviews helps to bury any negative reviews that you can’t dispute.
Contact a member of the Starloop team today to see how you can triple the number of reviews you receive in no time at all.