How to Spot and Remove Fake Reviews on Google? - delete button on keyboard

Spot and Remove Fake Reviews on Google

Small business owners have long been plagued by fake reviews. Google reviews can be the difference between a prospective customer choosing your business or going to a competitor. And for small businesses negative and false reviews are more detrimental than for more established companies.

But what do you do when you suspect someone has left a false and defamatory review? There are a few ways to spot them and remove them before they do too much damage.

What are Fake Reviews, and why should you care?

What are fake Google reviews?

Fake Google reviews are reviews that are not genuine, often written by people who have never visited the business they’re reviewing. They can damage restaurants’ reputation, as they can lower the business’s rating and make them appear less trustworthy.

Why should you care?

As a small business owner, it’s important to be aware of fake reviews and take steps to remove them. Bogus reviews can have a serious impact on your business, including lowering your rating and making you appear less trustworthy.
Taking action against fake reviews can help you avoid future problems and protect your business’s reputation.

How to spot fake Google reviews

Fake reviews are easy to spot if you know what to look for, and they can have a serious impact on your business. Here’s how to spot and remove fraudulent Google reviews.

  • Look for the details in the review. If the reviewer goes into specific detail about their experience, it’s more likely to be a real review.
  • Check for repeated exclamation points. A real review is less likely to use them, as they can come across as fraudulent or over-the-top.
  • Examine the reviewer’s name and avatar. If the name is generic or the avatar is a stock photo, it’s more likely to be a fake review.
  • Flag reviews without comments. A real review will usually have some comments about the business, even if it’s just a sentence or two.
  • See if the reviewer has reviewed other companies. If they’ve only reviewed your business, it’s more likely to be fabricated.
  • Look at how frequently the reviewer leaves reviews. If they’re leaving multiple reviews a day, it’s more likely that they’re fake.

Should you Address Fake Reviews?

Yes, you should. If you think someone left your restaurant a fake review, try to verify if the person leaving the complaint was an actual customer.
Look up their name and see if you have a record of their buyer’s journey. This will help evaluate their experience better.

If you still suspect the review is fabricated, and you flag it you should remember, that it takes Google around 5 to 20 days to remove false reviews, during that time, you could have dozens of people viewing your profile and seeing the review without knowing that the review is fake. Therefore you should compose a response.
Fake reviews are critical for business, so it’s important to remove them. By following these tips, you can make sure that your restaurant’s rating is accurate and honest.

Here is an article with tips we put together on how to reply to negative reviews.

Is it possible to remove a google review someone left you?

In short, yes. If a user leaves comments that are false or defamatory, you will want to remove that Google review.
Disputing a Google review is not a simple process and it can frustrate business owners. You don’t have the power to remove the review on your own, but have to appeal to Google to get it removed.

Google removes reviews that are:

  • spam
  • fake
  • personal or political rants
  • illegal
  • offensive
  • racist
  • profane
  • intimidating
  • dishonest

If your restaurant review is of that nature, you need to bring the fake Google review to Google’s attention.

Flagging Fraudulent Google Reviews

When you see a review you think is fictitious, follow this process for flagging the fake review:

  1. Open Google Business Profile Account (formerly Google My Business)
  2. Choose the location the reviewer is talking about
  3. Go to the menu and choose “reviews”
  4. Find the negative review
  5. Go to the three dots and “flag as inappropriate”

It can take a long time for Google to analyse the situation and decide whether or not to remove the review. And for most fake reviews, flagging the review should be sufficient. If not, we recommend you to reach out to Google support.

Contacting Google’s Support

To contact Google’s support, follow these steps:

  1. Go to support.google.com/business
  2. Scroll down and select “contact us”
  3. Select “customer reviews and photos” and then “manage customer reviews”
  4. Choose to receive help via phone, web chat or email

With this method, you can expect Google to get in touch within a day or two.
Helpful tip: if you contact Google via email or chat, it is helpful to have a screenshot of the review in question ready to go. This will help your case.

Contacting Google Via Twitter and the Support forum

To speed up the process, you can also reach out to the Google Business Profile Twitter account @GoogleMyBiz with your business Twitter account.

And while you’re waiting for Google to get in touch with you, find out how other small companies and restaurants went about removing fake reviews. You can find this information from the Google community support forum.

The impact of fake Google Reviews on Restaurants

False Google reviews can have a serious impact on small businesses and restaurants. They can cause potential customers to lose faith in your company, and lead to decreased traffic and revenue.
Sometimes, fake reviews can even cause a small restaurant to go out of business. Taking action against fake reviews can help you avoid future problems and protect your business’s reputation.

How to prevent fake Google reviews in the future

The best way to prevent fake Google reviews is to have a system in place for monitoring and responding to them. You can do this by:

  • Asking customers for feedback via email or survey after they visit your restaurant
  • Regularly checking your business’s online profiles
  • Responding quickly and politely to any negative reviews
  • Monitoring your competition’s profiles
  • You can’t always prevent fake reviews, but by being proactive, you can reduce the chances of them happening.

Final Thoughts

Google is inundated with fake reviews, and it’s hard to tell which are real and which are not. However, by paying attention to the details in a review and looking for certain red flags, you can often spot them fairly easily.
If you find a fake review, you can flag it for assessment or contact the reviewer directly to ask them to remove it. Finally, taking steps to avoid bogus reviews in the future can help protect your business’s reputation.

Let We Are Innovative Help Your Restaurant’s Reputation

We Are Innovative (WAI) Reputation Management Team is committed to helping their clients manage and protect their reputation by monitoring and managing their mentions.
Handling negative comments and reviews, devising a response plan and building on the positives. For organisations to gain trust, more potential customers and become more credible than their competitors.

Contact WAI today to find out how we can help with your restaurant’s reputation.


Frequently Asked Questions:

How long does it take Google to remove fake reviews?

It takes Google a long time to remove false reviews, it can take anywhere from five to 20 days.
This is why it’s important to address the reviewer, as during that time dozens if not more potential customers can see your restaurant’s Google Profile and lose faith in your business.

How do I dispute a fake Google review?

This is how you can flag review sin Google Business Profile

  1. Open Google Business Profile Account (formerly Google My Business)
  2. Choose the location the reviewer is talking about
  3. Go to the menu and choose “reviews”
  4. Find the negative review
  5. Go to the three dots and “flag as inappropriate”

How many reports does it take to delete a Google review?

Even if just one person flags a Google review and brings it to the company’s attention, it is deleted.
It’s all about the evidence you provide and the argument you make for the reviews breaking Google’s rules and guidelines.

How To Respond To Negative Reviews

  1. Personalise the response by addressing the reviewer
  2. Say thank you
  3. Apologise and sympathise even if it wasn’t your fault
  4. Ensure you acknowledge and take responsibility for what the reviewer is saying
  5. Make things right and say how you’re improving so the situation doesn’t happen again
  6. Try and take the issue offline to further discuss the issue

How do you respond to one-star reviews with no comment?

Here’s how to respond to negative online reviews in four easy steps.

  1. Thank, acknowledge, ask, apologise and empathise
  2. Explain the situation and create a positive spin
  3. Invite them offline so you could find a solution
  4. Keep it simple, short and sweet

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