How to flag and fix an inappropriate Google review

Google reviews build trust in your business and help you acquire new customers. In fact, 84 percent of people think online reviews are just as trustworthy as personal recommendations.

That’s why it’s essential to have a business profile on Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business or GMB). Positive reviews on Google will even boost your local search rankings.

Your Google Business Profile might get a negative review here and there, which is why it’s critical to respond to reviews appropriately. Most consumers expect to see a few bad reviews, so they won’t hurt your reputation as long as you also have plenty of positive reviews.

If you spot fake reviews or inappropriate reviews for your business listing, you’ll want to fix those immediately.

Here’s how to flag Google reviews for removal.

Free Guide & Checklist: How To Respond To Reviews


What types of reviews should I flag?

You should only flag reviews that violate Google’s review policies. That includes reviews that contain any of the following violations:

  • Harassment or offensive content: Google has no tolerance for hate speech or harassment in any reviews. Offensive content is also not allowed, including unsubstantiated allegations of ethical or legal wrongdoing.
  • Confidential information: A review that contains personal information, such as a credit card number, should be flagged for removal.
  • Deceptive content: Fake reviews from someone impersonating a customer should be flagged. Only negative reviews that reflect someone’s genuine customer experience are permitted. Any content containing misleading information or representing a conflict of interest should be flagged for removal.
  • Mature content: Inappropriate content that is sexually explicit, obscene, profane, gory or violent should be flagged immediately.
  • Illegal or dangerous content: Content that encourages violence or dangerous activity, supports a terrorist group or promotes illegal products and services should be flagged.
  • Copyright violations: Business owners can report reviews that contain copyright infringement for removal.
  • Off-topic content: Rants unrelated to the product or service being reviewed, criticisms of a local business’s COVID safety measures and gibberish content that means nothing in any language are all considered policy violations.
  • Repetitive content: Reviews posted from duplicate accounts should be flagged.
  • Promotional content: Advertisements, including links to social media pages or other websites, are not allowed in Google reviews.

How do I know if a Google review is fake?

Fake reviews can come from competitors who hire fake reviewers to leave negative comments. Fake reviews are harmful to businesses because they can negatively affect a company’s reputation and search engine rankings. When customers perform a Google search for your business, they should be able to form an accurate opinion of the service you provide.

Look for repeated mentions of another brand or service, such as content promoting a competitor while reflecting negatively on your business. For example, a fake reviewer might write, “Company XYZ offers better service at a lower price.”

Another way to check if a review is fake is to look at the reviewer’s profile. If the reviewer has written numerous bad reviews of other goods and services within a short time period, they’re likely being paid to leave fake reviews. It’s crucial to remove fake reviews so they don’t affect your online reputation.

How do I flag a review?

  1. Log in to your Google account
  2. Open Google Maps
  3. Search for your business name or address
  4. Select your business
  5. Scroll to the “Review Summary” section on the left-hand panel
  6. Click on your customer reviews underneath the average rating
  7. Find the review you’d like to flag and click the three dots
  8. Click the flag icon
  9. Follow the prompts to fill out and submit the form

What happens if I flag a Google review?

If you flag a review for removal, no matter the type of violation, Google will review your request and delete the review if necessary.

What is the penalty for flagging a legitimate review?

There’s no penalty for erroneously flagging a negative Google review, but Google won’t remove reviews that don’t clearly violate its policies.

It’s unethical to flag a negative review from a customer, and it’s not likely to result in removal. Instead, respond to the reviewer respectfully, offer them some form of compensation for their negative experience and invite them to discuss the issue with you further.

How many flags does it take to remove a Google review?

Even one flag is enough to remove a Google review if Google determines there is a violation. Just provide sufficient evidence that the review should be deleted from your business page.

What happens to the person who wrote the review if I flag it?

Google may decide to suspend or ban the reviewer from leaving future reviews if there is a clear violation.

Manage your online reputation with Broadly

It isn’t easy to keep track of customer reviews across review sites but Broadly makes it a breeze to monitor and respond to reviews in one place. You can even automatically request reviews from customers.

And Broadly isn’t just a reputation management tool. It’s a complete suite of solutions designed to help small businesses grow. If you want to reach more potential customers, boost your star rating and get your team working like a well-oiled machine, start a free trial to find out how Broadly can help.

Watch your online reputation transform with Broadly