How to Flag and Fix an Inappropriate Google Review

There is nothing better than receiving a positive online review from a satisfied customer. This proves that you are doing something right and that your customers are taking notice. On the other hand, there may be times when your business receives a negative review. Even if you have a strategy in place to reduce your risk, it is good to know how to manage the situation if and when it does take place.

While positive and negative Google reviews are all part of doing business, here’s something to remember: you should never tolerate inappropriate reviews about your business.

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Understand Google’s Policies

Review Google’s review and photo policies to gain an understanding of what the company considers inappropriate. While Google has the final say on whether a review on its pages is inappropriate, some common examples occur when a review is:

  • Written by a competitor who seeks to push traffic to their website.
  • Off-topic, such as those based on another person’s experience.
  • Using offensive language and/or personal attacks.
  • Clearly communicating a conflict of interest. Do you own or work at a company? If so, you’re not permitted to provide a review.

Flag as Inappropriate

If you come across a review that violates Google’s policies, we recommend that you take action. Here is how the process works:

  1. Click “Flag as inappropriate,” using the flag icon on the bottom right of the review.
  2. Google will assess your request.
  3. If necessary, Google will remove the review from your listing.

With so many reviews posted every day, it’s not easy for Google to respond immediately. For this reason, the company requests that you wait several days for a final determination.

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Know What to Flag

It’s one thing to flag a review that violates Google’s policy. It’s another thing entirely to flag a review that you don’t like or don’t agree with.

Google will not mitigate situations when a business owner and customer have a disagreement about an experience, as there’s no way for the search engine giant to determine who’s right and who’s wrong.

If you are unsure if a review is inappropriate, consider flagging the review so that Google can review it in the context of their policy. The worst that will happen is that your request is denied.

Positive or negative, we recommend that you reply to all reviews. This holds true for Google, Yelp, and all other review sites.

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Broadly Q&A: City Rent-A-Car

Broadly Q&A features our local business partners. This week, we are sharing our conversation with Joe and Paul Blandino, who own and manage City Rent-a-Car in San Francisco, California.

Pictured above (from left): Laura Nelson (Broadly), Paul and Joe Blandino (Owners of City Rent-a-Car), and Tiffany Lindsey (Broadly).

How long have you been in business?

We’ve been in business 20 years. We started City Rent-a-Car from scratch, originally on Folsom and 13th Street, before we moved here.

Where do your customers come from? Why do they choose City Rent-a-Car?

We have a lot of tourists and local customers – about half and half. With the larger rental companies, we’ve seen lines out the door, around the block. The experience at City Rent-a-Car is more personal. We’ve been doing it a long time, and people here know what they’re doing. Our staff sticks around – they’re having too much fun!

How’s the business doing?

In the past couple years, we’ve seen more competition in the area. We’re now competing with Uber and other types of rental services. We used to rent cars for people to go shopping, but people aren’t doing that anymore. Most people don’t rent cars at the airport as much – they come to town and use Uber to get around. That helps us on the weekends, as tourists will come to the city and rent a car for day trips to places like Napa and Monterey. A lot of people return their cars at the Holiday Inn nearby. They pick up in the morning and return at night, so they don’t have to worry about parking.

How are your customers finding City Rent-a-Car?

Our customers are looking on Yelp and Google, and also learning about us by word-of-mouth. I talked with a lady yesterday, and she said “You have more reviews than anyone else. They’re all 4.7 stars and recent.” We have the most reviews of any company around, including Enterprise. Broadly has definitely helped.

Do you do anything else for marketing?

We’ve tried other stuff, but it wasn’t worth it. We’ve tried magazines, newspapers, even Yellow Pages and AT&T. We go around to hotels and form relationships with concierges and pay them a commission for referring customers to us. We stick to what really earns the business.

To learn more about how Broadly can help your business attract new customers and grow, get in touch.

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Yelp: How to Report an Inappropriate Online Review

When it comes to online reviews, Yelp has a certain way of doing things. From filtering reviews to removing those considered inappropriate, business owners must understand how the system works. It’s important to understand that Yelp isn’t going to flag a review as inappropriate just because somebody said something negative about your business.

With that in mind, there are times when you may need to report a review as inappropriate.Here are three key questions to address:

1. Can you report a review if you don’t believe it was posted by a real customer?

While the short answer is yes, there is more to this situation than meets the eye. Yelp doesn’t permit people to post online reviews if they didn’t have a real experience with the business.

However, moderators only remove online reviews when the Yelper declines to describe a common consumer experience, such as buying a product or contacting the business with a question. Yelp makes it clear that you need more evidence than a basic belief that the reviewer was not a real customer. See the Personal Experience section within Yelp’s Review Guidelines for further detail.

2. What are your options if an online review contains false information?

Reviewers have the responsibility to share accurate and honest information regarding their experience with a business, both positive and negative. For this reason, Yelpers are not permitted to provide false information or draw conclusions based on a single experience. See the Accuracy section within Yelp’s Review Guidelines for additional information.

3. What happens if a review uses inappropriate language?

Generally speaking, Yelp provides plenty of leeway, as users are permitted to use “colorful language.” However, the company does not stand for hateful or threatening comments. Because there is so much gray area in regards to what is and is not inappropriate language, Yelp isn’t overly aggressive in policing the words people use, as long as it pertains to their experience.

As one of the largest online review sites, Yelp is visited – and relied upon – by millions of consumers every month. As a business owner, you have the right to report reviews that you consider inappropriate. Get started by visiting this page.

Whether they are positive or negative, we strongly recommend that you reply to your reviews. If the review is negative and does not fit Yelp’s criteria for removal, see our tips on how to respond.

Do you need help generating more positive reviews for your business? If so, get in touch with us here.