How many times have you chosen a restaurant, a hotel, a dentist, a lawyer or landscaping service, based on an online review? Probably more times than you can remember.
More so than any other review source, ratings found through Google search engines or on Google Maps offer the potential to promote or harm the reputation of your business. This is due to the high volume of Web traffic that Google generates, and to the way in which these reviews have increasingly taken the place of traditional and online Yellow Pages.
Receiving Negative Reviews
If your business finds itself the victim of negative reviews that have the potential to significantly harm your online reputation, as well as your bottom line, don’t panic. Although how to remove negative reviews on Google can be extremely frustrating, it is by no means impossible.
This article will explore a few of the ways in which you can be proactive in removing negative review content from Google searches, and protecting your online reputation.
Negative Reviews & Content - Do You Have A Strategy?
Many businesses and individuals rely heavily on their online reputation and/or reviews and after consulting with many experts from around the world, here at Reputation.com we've developed services and tools to assist in monitoring, improving and repairing online reviews and reputations. As you'll see below we've laid out so tips for encouraging customers to leave positive reviews, however we also realize that in many situations that time and resources are highly valuable and may be better spent elsewhere. To this end Reputation.com has developed ReputationDefender® and Reputation for Business, two services that can a help you build, improve or repair your online presence.
Reputation for Business offers a number of different levels of service, from simple monitoring through to a fully managed PR service, with the top packages designed to not only save many hours/month that typically need to be spent on ones online presence but also to increase business by nipping bad reviews in the bud and improving the online presence of the business through positive reviews from your actual clients. Reputation for Business is a service that Reputation.com recommends every SMB have in place - the increase in business from a positive online presence is priceless. Whether it's getting real customers to leave reviews or simply monitor any review posted about your business, Reputation for Business is a service and not just an online tool that puts you back in charge of your businesses reputation.
ReputationDefender® is a very specific service, and unlike Reputation for Business is not something that is recommended (or needed) by most individuals and businesses. ReputationDefender® has been specifically designed for any individual or business that's reputation has been tarnished online through blogs, articles, and review sites by disgruntled clients, enraged friends, or former employees etc. Unfortunately under the law it is virtually impossible to have a court order the removal of online content, however it can be suppressed through techniques that we've perfected though $40+ million in research and development here at Reputation.com. Essentially anyone that Google's you or your business won't look past the first couple pages of search engine results, and if all they find are positive articles, reviews, bio's and other sites then the negative material is substantially mitigated and your reputation will reflect positively on you.
If you have question or would just like to know more - call us on 877-258-6338.
Go After Negative Reviews at the Source
In the case of reviews that are generated directly through Google-owned sites such as the Google Local Business Center, it is simple enough to get a negative review removed. Simply contact the site webmaster and request the removal of the offending review, including details of why the content is false or inappropriate.
Unfortunately, most of the online reviews associated with your business are not directly generated by Google, but are aggregated from third-party sites. Google compiles these reviews in a listing when you search for a particular business, or do a location-based search for businesses in your area. This makes it problematic to take down negative reviews of your business that may have been spread maliciously––often by competitors, or disgruntled ex-employees.
Rather than approach Google directly, the best solution is often to have the negative review removed from the site of origin. Contact the website’s webmaster, asking him or her to remove the content, or at least indicate to Google that it shouldn’t crawl or index the page. Websites may require a compelling reason to remove reviews, so back up your request with as much proof as possible.
Utilize Google’s Public URL Removal Tool
In order to expedite the removal of materials, especially private and confidential information that urgently needs to be deleted from search engines, Google offers a public URL removal tool. This will flag the offending URL for Google crawlers when re-crawling websites, and any outdated URLs will eventually drop out of search results.
Unfortunately, this approach is largely ineffective for how to remove negative reviews on Google search results compiled from reputable sites like Yelp.com or tripadvisor.com. Many businesses have found that, even after contacting third-party review websites and having negative reviews completely removed, the objectionable material continues to show up prominently in Google searches for several months, even up to a year.
Fortunately, there are now online reputation services that are able to work with you to actively defend your business, controlling what information appears on the Web through Google searches.
Fight Negative Reviews with Positive Reviews
One way that many businesses have found to fight negative reviews is to crowd them out with positive content. One or two negative reviews among twenty is to be expected. How do you promote these positive reviews in sufficient quantity to make a difference?
One technique is to offer discount coupons or other promotional materials to customers, pointing them directly to a link where they can leave reviews. You might also ask people who have recently had a positive experience with your company if they wouldn’t mind writing a review. Satisfied customers will often be glad to help, if you give them that little nudge.
Whatever method is used to generate positive Web feedback and publicity about your enterprise, remember: it is never a good idea to write positive reviews about your own company.
Even very subtle wordings and inflections in positive reviews can raise red flags if they are not 100 percent genuine. Standing out as attempts at self-promotion, they raise doubts about your company’s legitimacy in the eyes of potential customers.
If you are simply unable to generate positive Web reviews in the quantity necessary to crowd out spurious negative ones, you may be tempted to go the self-review route. This is a mistake. Filing false reviews is unethical and can lead to even bigger reputation problems for your business.
One sensible alternative is to contact a company like Reputation.com, which offers highly tailored services to companies such as your own. Its dedicated staff is serious about maintaining and defending online reputations. With a package such as ReputationDefender®, you can rest assured that your online reputation is being monitored and protected around the clock. We hope this article has helped you learn how to remove negative reviews on Google.