How to remove negative reviews from Google search results
Small business owners know how essential reviews are to their success. Online reviews are the modern-day word-of-mouth, and positive reviews can attract new customers, while negative reviews can cause potential customers to avoid your company.
To show up in Google searches and Google Maps listings, you’ll want to receive frequent customer reviews on your Google Business Profile.
Here are some fast facts about the effects that online reviews can have on your business:
Free Guide: How To Optimize Your Google Business Profile
- 87 percent of consumers say a business should have a three- to five-star rating before they use them
- 73 percent of consumers think that reviews older than three months are irrelevant
- Customers spend 31 percent more with a company that has excellent reviews
- On average, one bad review can cost you 30 customers
- 88 percent of consumers who conduct local business searches on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours
- 46 percent of all Google searches are looking for local information
These statistics show the importance of getting Google reviews. Potential customers use the Internet to find local businesses, compare prices and services and make purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, if your business gets negative online reviews, it can affect your business.
The business of customer complaint sites
In the past, there were only a couple of ways customers could complain if they didn’t like a product or a service. Customers could complain to a friend or request to speak to the manager to try to find a solution.
Social media and the Internet empower customers to voice their opinions. Illegitimate customer complaint websites have the sole purpose of collecting bad or false reviews, then charging removal fees.
These sites supposedly warn other consumers of scams, but some users spread damaging or untrue information. It could be a former employee trying to sabotage a company. Unfortunately, your business can suffer from these bad reviews on complaint websites.
In an ideal world, every false thing said about your company could be removed easily and immediately. In reality, it’s tough to get anything taken down online — especially when a website monetizes customer complaints. Bad and fake reviews can spread from customer review sites to Yelp or social media.
So how do you keep negative reviews from showing up in Google search results? Improving the customer experience is always a good move, but you also need to focus on online damage control and reputation management.
Can negative Google reviews be removed?
If you have an overwhelming number of negative online reviews or a few compelling negative reviews, you can try to get them removed. While you cannot remove reviews yourself, you can flag them as inappropriate, and Google will determine if it breaks one of its review policies. Google policies prohibit:
- Content that is off-topic, repetitive or advertising/soliciting
- Content that violates civil discourse policies like harassment, hate speech or offensive comments
- Deceptive content involving impersonation, misrepresentation or misinformation
- Mature content like adult content, sexually explicit or obscene content, violence and gore
- Regulated content that is restricted, dangerous or illegal
If it violates a policy, Google will remove it. Otherwise, it will remain visible online. Don’t let bad or fake reviews ruin your mood or reputation! It’s always recommended to respond to Google reviews to minimize damage and show you care about your customers. Check out these steps to stop negative reviews from showing at the top of Google searches.
6 steps to getting rid of negative Google reviews
Since you can’t remove bad reviews, the next best thing you can do is bury the bad with good reviews. Here are some steps to help clean up your negative search results and make them positive again.
1. Have a plan to attack against those negative keywords
When it comes to search results, keyword authority is critical. If your business name is associated with negative content, you will want to outnumber it with positive search result content.
Find all the negative keywords that come up when you search for your company, then work to create positive content using those exact keywords. In time, positive search results can outrank negative ones and help bury them in searches.
2. Claim and manage public profiles for yourself and your business
To help drown out negative comments, create social media profiles for yourself and your business. Make a Facebook Business Page, confirm your Google Business Profile account and set up as many online listings for your business as possible.
Social accounts such as Twitter and Instagram can also help manage your business’s brand. These social media accounts often beat out other types of content in search results, so the more online profiles you claim, the better online authority you’ll have.
Another way to show your business in a positive light is to join online communities and forums in your industry. The more positive online content you produce associated with your personal and company names, the faster you bury old, bad information.
3. Comment publicly in industry blogs, forums and social media
If you join a forum such as Quora, make a point to comment on topics often. Giving helpful advice online is a great way to establish your expertise. Try leaving supportive, positive comments on neighboring companies’ social media posts. If you engage with your customers and industry peers online, the public will see your business as friendly and approachable.
Posting intelligent, well-written content about your industry can position your business as professional and established. Remember, the Internet lasts forever. When commenting and posting on social media, practice a little self-censorship.
4. Do something newsworthy and promote it with a press release
A press release is a great way to get mentioned in the media. Exercise your creativity and brainstorm new ways to create buzz around your business. Be careful not to push out news releases every single time something happens – not all news is newsworthy. Sure, a new piece of equipment is exciting to you, but it’s not deserving of an entire press release.
The goal of many marketing campaigns is to generate buzz. Craft a clever social media campaign, run a contest or host a local event to make the news. Send a well-written press release to local media contacts best-suited to publish the information.
5. Link your promotions to priority pages
It’s best to know how Google’s algorithm defines search rankings to manage what shows up in your Google search results. One factor Google uses to determine a site’s credibility is the number of links to that site. This is called backlinking. The more places you have linked back to your site, the better.
While organically receiving many links back to your site would be great, it is not always possible. Add links yourself! Link your social profiles and community pages to your high-priority website pages. By linking these entities together, you’re increasing your authority over the keywords associated with your business.
6. Get more positive reviews
If you can’t get rid of your negative reviews, it’s time to get more positive ones. If all of your negative reviews appear long ago in the past, potential customers will know that you’ve improved your business to produce higher-quality work. After every completed job, ask all your happy customers to leave reviews on Google or wherever you have the most negative reviews.
You’ll drown out the negativity and take charge of your online reputation. Learn from feedback and reviews and adapt when there’s repetitive commentary. If you don’t want to ask for reviews, you can always use review management software like Broadly to automate review requests.
Manage your online reputation with Broadly
Online reputation management can be challenging for small business owners. Many local businesses don’t have the time or resources to monitor online reviews and search rankings.
Broadly’s review management software makes getting and promoting reviews more manageable than ever. Promoting your positive reviews makes them work double-time towards improving your online presence.
A reputation management strategy is imperative to winning new business and retaining current customers in today’s online world. Keep your search results positive with Broadly’s help!
See what Broadly can do for your business in just 30 days