When & How to Delete Google Reviews

Jul 22, 2022

Did you know that 63.6% of consumers will look up reviews on Google before they use a business? That makes excellent reviews a valuable commodity for your business. However, not every review you get is going to be five stars! Even if you devote time and energy to providing excellent customer service and a quality product, it only takes one unhappy customer to leave a one-star review to tarnish your overall rating! One piece of advice we can give as an internet strategy consultant is not to get too hung up on a handful of bad reviews, especially if you have plenty of great reviews to balance them out. Sometimes it is not the review itself but your response to it that matters to consumers.

Let's take a look at how to handle bad Google reviews and when it is a good idea to delete them.

When to Request a Review Removal

One of the reasons why consumers trust Google reviews is that they are managed independently of the business. This stops business owners from deleting or hiding negative reviews to paint themselves more positively. However, the downside is that sometimes people will leave a review maliciously for a variety of reasons. Some situations where a false negative review may be left include:

  • Someone asks multiple friends or social media followers to leave bad reviews after they had a bad experience
  • Competitors attempting to sabotage your business
  • Malicious reports because individuals disagree with your brand values, political views, or products.
  • Occasionally, individuals who are known as 'trolls' just do it for amusement.

If reviews are left for any of these malicious reasons, it is possible to request that Google removes that review. You can also have the review removed if it contains hate speech, threats of violence or harassment, adult content, offensive language, or if it deceptively misrepresents your business. However, you cannot ask for a review to be removed if it is a genuine comment on a poor experience that someone has had dealing with your business - even if you believe the review is unfair.

How to Remove Google Reviews

As noted, Google does not allow business owners to delete reviews themselves. This is to stop businesses from skewing the reviews in their favor for a better rating. If you want to remove a review that you believe goes against Google's terms of service, you will need to request Google to check the review and remove it manually. Inappropriate reviews can be reported either in Google Maps or Google Search. As an internet strategy consultant, we have had the most success removing malicious reviews by having multiple staff members report an inappropriate review. More reports help to flag the review to Google's automated systems.

Follow these steps to report an inappropriate review on Google Maps:

  1. Open Google Maps & Find Your Business
  2. Find the Inappropriate Review
  3. Click 'More' & Flag the Review as Inappropriate

If you are on Google Search, the steps are slightly different:

  1. Go to Google & Find Your Business
  2. Click on Google Reviews
  3. Find the Inappropriate Review
  4. Click 'More' & Report the Review
  5. Choose the Type of Violation You Are Reporting

It can take 7 to 10 days for Google to respond to your request, so as an internet strategy consultant, we would recommend formulating a response to the review.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

It is good practice to write a response to every review you receive on Google. A study by Harvard Business Review discovered that if a business responds to their reviews, positive or negative, their overall ratings tend to increase! When the review is positive, that is easy; simply saying thanks and expressing your hope to see the customer again soon can be an adequate response. However, formulating the appropriate response is a little more complicated when the comments are negative.

You should still respond even if you believe the review is malicious and have reported it. A practical but straightforward response might be:

"We'd like to look into your complaint but cannot match your name to our customer database; please email us at [your email] with your receipt number or name used, and we will work with you to resolve this."

If the review is genuine, you will need to think carefully about your response. Other potential customers will judge you on how you react, so you mustn't be defensive or dismissive, even if you find the remarks unfair. Approximately 43% of consumers say they are more likely to give a business a chance if they handle a negative review well! Here are a few tips we have gathered in our time as an internet strategy consultant.

  1. Address the reviewer by name if it is clear from their profile
  2. Thank them for providing feedback on their experience
  3. Apologize for not meeting expectations, even if it wasn't necessarily your fault
  4. Don't make excuses
  5. Offer a resolution to make things right
  6. Ask for them to contact you privately to resolve the matter
  7. Request a second chance
  8. Sign the response with your name and position, so they know who replied

Here is an example of a response that hits those points:

"Hi, Jane. Thanks for taking the time to offer valuable feedback. I'm sorry we were not able to meet your expectations on your last visit; I know that must be frustrating. We pride ourselves on great customer service; unfortunately, it looks like we have missed the mark on this occasion. I'd love the chance to make it up to you if you are willing to give us a second chance. Call me at 555-123-4567, and I can arrange a $25 gift voucher for your next visit. - Joe, Duty Manager."

Don't underestimate the power of online reviews; they can help push undecided consumers to make a purchase they have been considering. If you need help to manage this or any aspect of online marketing, an internet strategy consultant can be a valuable tool in your arsenal.


To Your Best Online!


Ingrid Maddox, Internet Marketing & Strategy Consultant. bluedress INTERNET MARKETING®, an Internet Marketing Company headquartered in Knoxville, TN. Internet Marketing Developed, Implemented, and Managed to Full Circle! Organic Internet Search Engine Guru. Turn-Key Internet Optimization Programs Placing You Everywhere and Anywhere You Need to Be Online.