If you’re a law firm owner, there is nothing more frustrating than watching your business trickle down and then going to Google to find a negative review has just dropped your rating.
However, it’s even more infuriating when that review simply doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t reflect the service you provide.
For example, have you ever received a Google review like this:
“I hate these law firm ads on TV”
It’s obvious, right? It’s someone who probably has never even worked with you!
However, it gets worse. What about reviews that simply don’t help anybody?
“They denied me entry because I wasn’t wearing a mask. It should be illegal to treat customers this way!”
Again, it has nothing to do with your service but the policies of your state on wearing masks during COVID-19. Large and small businesses receive complaints like this that threaten their livelihood though it has nothing to do with the way they operate or treat customers. As an attorney SEO company, we are starting to see the Covid posts more frequently.
Google has policies in place to prevent these kind of reviews from hurting your business, and you can remove them just by knowing this simple process.
Addressing these reviews is important because they can show up on your Google My Business listing or Local Service Ads.
What Can You Do with Negative Reviews in Google?
Before you lose it, just laugh at these reviews. They don’t mean anything about your business, and Google knows that. We live in a strange time where anyone with any kind of opinion can leave a poor review, even when you gave excellent service and product quality. For some people, leaving negative reviews is their entire goal in life, and it has nothing to do with you.
If you ask for reviews, you’re trying to improve your business rank in Google, and that’s commendable, but you’ll likely get 1 negative review for every 5 4-star or higher review.
In other cases, the negative reviews may be a sobering reality if they all mention the same employee or faulty product that you need to fix. There are ways to respond and neutralize these legitimate reviews.
But that’s not the type of review we’re talking about. You can simply remove reviews that don’t make any sense or violate Google’s “content and review policy.”
However, inappropriate, political, social commentary, or personal rants are not allowed in Google reviews. You only have to flag these reviews for them to be removed.
Start By Reading the Guidelines
Before flagging the review, you should make sure that it violates Google’s policy. Here’s where to see if this content can be reported:
There are a few different categories for content that you can flag, including
- Spam or fake content
- Off-topic related to politics, social commentary or personal rants
- Restricted content
- Illegal content
- Terrorist content
- Sexually explicit content
- Dangerous or derogatory content
- Impersonation reviews
- Conflict of interest (hey that username looks like the name of your competitor!)
- Offensive content
If you find that the content falls into any of these categories, you can simply find the review and click the “flag” icon above it to report it.
Best Way to Remove a Google Review
You don’t want to flag a review in Google Maps as it’s not as fast as flagging the review through your Google My Business profile.
To find the review, you’ll need to login to your Google My Business dashboard. Here’s a step-by-step guide to remove negative reviews the right way.
1. Login to Your Google My Business Account
You can simply navigate to business.google.com to load your business profile. Once logged in, locate the business profile you want to remove the review for.
2. Go to the Review Area
At the top of the page, go to the left-hand menu and select “Reviews.” You’ll scroll down through your business’ reviews and find the post you want to remove. Before removing, check that there are no responses to the negative review. If so, remove the response first.
3. Flag as Inappropriate
Once you’ve found the negative review, click on the 3 dots in the upper right corner of the review, then click the “Flag as inappropriate” link to get started.
4. Follow Google’s Prompts
Google will take you through a dialog box that asks what policy was violated. Click “Continue” and then write in your reason for flagging the review.
Google hasn’t updated these reasons to always reflect the problems with the review, so you can always select “Offensive or sexually explicit” to report content that falls into “political, social commentary or personal rant.”
If you find that the review violated another one of Google’s policies, use that for your reason instead. This is why you should look at the guidelines beforehand.
For those reviews that don’t match any, you can still just flag as “Offensive” and click “Report” to finish.
5. Wait for Google to Review
You only need to flag the review once. Google actively and individually reviews every flag, so you’ll receive an email from Google with the status of your removal request.
This is only true if you go through the Google My Business dashboard, which has priority over simply flagging through Google Maps.
What Happens If Google Won’t Remove a Negative Review?
Hopefully, the Google reviewer sees your pain and takes the review down, but if not, there are a few things that you can do.
Respond to the Review and Neutralize
It’s best for a manager to respond to these reviews and slightly point out why the review is illegitimate. This is so that other readers see your point of view and understand that the negative review is unwarranted.
For example, you can use language like “We’re sorry this happened and want to make sure you have a safe experience at our location. We’re required by law to ensure that all patrons wear a mask at our law firm.”
In other cases, the negative review may be about the service or product, in which case Google may not want to take the review down if it’s a legitimate complaint. In this case, you may want to develop a professional response like this:
“We’re sorry about your experience and would love an opportunity to make it right. Please contact us at (Phone Number Here) or email the manager at XXXX@yourlawfirm.com so we can help.”
This short, quick reply shows that you’re being proactive and hopefully if you’re doing everything right, more positive reviews will push down this negative review so that it doesn’t even matter.
Get Online Reputation Management
Finally, this is the best option if you need help removing reviews and neutralizing negative threats to your business. At Juris Digital, we can help you with getting positive reviews and creating the best responses to make these negative reviews no big deal.
Also, if you need help with local or Google Maps SEO, we’re here to help. Give us a call for a free site evaluation today.