Look no further you vigilant online reputation masters! If your Google or Yelp page is plagued by a review that contains false or inappropriate information, you do have options. We will show you step-by-step how to get a review removed from your Google or Yelp page. Both of these sites have very clear content guidelines that can be excellent resources when determining which reviews should be removed and how to get those pesky things to go away.
We suggest copying the guidelines from Google and Yelp in the body of the response. We've had great results with this strategy since it captures the attention of Yelp and Google, compelling them to remove those reviews that clearly violate their guidelines.
Let’s start with Google.
Google has outlined the specific types of content that they won’t stand for. If you want to get negative reviews removed, consider doing the following:
1. Flag the review using the icon next to it.
2. Copy the offensive language in the review as it pertains to the Google Review policies, and then paste it into your response to the review.
As we’ve encouraged you many times before, be genuine in your reply. Even if you're on the verge of anger with the reviewer, try to remain approachable and honest. This will ensure a higher likelihood of them removing the negative review. Another reason to take a calm approach is that others may judge how you operate your business by your feisty response.
Here’s an example (feel free to steal/borrow from, honestly!):
Say you have a 1-star rating on Google because this person was leaving a review on behalf of their friend (meaning they didn’t actually experience your service).
“Hello ________, I’ve checked our database, and we have no record of you as a client, nor do we have documentation of you inquring of our services. Perhaps you have us confused with another company? Google’s Review and Photo Policy states, "Off-topic reviews: Don’t post reviews based on someone else’s experience, or that are not about the specific place you’re reviewing." You may read these guidlines for yourself on Google's Policy Page. Because of this, I kindly ask that you review your records and remove this review. I am also happy to meet with you in person, or call you to discuss. My number is xxx-xxx-xxx.
Owner name, contact information, name of business (use the exact name that you use on your business listings)
Here are all of Google’s Review Policies at your fingertips.
Advertising: Don’t use reviews for advertising, such as adding links to other websites or phone numbers. Reviews should be a genuine reflection of your experience with a place - don't post reviews just to manipulate a place's ratings.
Spam: Please don’t spam. Write a genuine report of your experience with the place. Don't include promotional / commercial content, don't post the same content multiple times and don't write reviews for the same place from multiple accounts.
Phone numbers or URLs: To help prevent advertising and spammy reviews, we don’t allow phone numbers or links to other websites in reviews. If you want to add an updated number or URL for the business you’re reviewing, use the Report a problem link to report that information instead.
Off-topic reviews: Don’t post reviews based on someone else’s experience, or that are not about the specific place you’re reviewing. Reviews aren’t meant to be a forum for general political or social commentary or personal rants. Wrong location or the place is closed? Use the Report a problem link to report that information instead of writing a review.
Keep it clean: Don’t use obscene, profane, or offensive language. We’ll also remove reviews that represent personal attacks on others.
Conflict of interest: Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. If you own or work at a place, please don’t review your own business or employer. Don’t offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor. If you're a business owner, don't set up review stations or kiosks at your place of business just to ask for reviews written at your place of business.
Illegal content: Don’t post reviews that contain or link to unlawful content, like links that facilitate the sale of prescription drugs without a prescription.
Copyrighted content: Don't post reviews that infringe others' rights - including copyright. For more information or to file a DMCA request, review our copyright procedures.
Sexually Explicit Material: We don't allow reviews that contain sexually explicit material. Also, we absolutely don’t allow reviews that sexually exploit children or present them in a sexual manner. For this type of content, we'll remove the review, shutdown the account, and send a report to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and law enforcement.
Impersonation: Don’t post reviews on behalf of others or misrepresent your identity or connection with the place you’re reviewing.
Personal and confidential information: Don’t post reviews that contain another person’s personal and confidential information, including credit card information, government identification number, driver’s license information, etc.
Hate Speech: We don't allow reviews that advocate against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Now let’s tackle Yelp.
You can report reviews that don't follow Yelp’s Content Guidelines, which we’ve included for you below. You can also report reviews that don’t focus on the product or service offered by the Page, as well as those that don't come from a personal experience with your service or business. Yelp will review your report and may remove reviews that don't follow their guidelines.
As we recommended with Google, reply to the review in the same fashion and include the exact offense.
1. Report the review.
- Locate the review in the Reviews section of your business account.
- Find the flag icon and click Report this review.
- Yelp’s moderators will evaluate the review against their Content Guidelines, which you can find below.
2. Reply to the reviewer just as we explained above in the Google scenario. We again recommend that you copy and paste from the below guidelines and specify which offense is in question.
Inappropriate content: Colorful language and imagery is fine, but there's no need for threats, harassment, lewdness, hate speech, and other displays of bigotry.
Conflicts of interest: Your contributions should be unbiased and objective. For example, you shouldn’t write reviews of your own business or employer, your friends’ or relatives’ business, your peers or competitors in your industry, or businesses in your networking group. Business owners should not ask customers to write reviews.
Promotional content: Unless you're using your Business Owner's Account to add content to your business's profile page, we generally frown upon promotional content. Let's keep the site useful for consumers and not overrun with commercial noise from every user.
Relevance: Please make sure your contributions are relevant and appropriate to the forum. For example, reviews aren't the place for rants about a business's employment practices, political ideologies, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don't address the core of the consumer experience.
Privacy: Don’t publicize other people’s private information. Please don’t post close-up photos or videos of other patrons without their permission, and please don’t post other people’s full names unless you’re referring to service providers who are commonly identified by or commonly share their own full names.
Intellectual property: Don’t swipe content from other sites or users. You’re a smart cookie, so write your own reviews and take your own photos and videos, please!
Demanding payment: Beyond simply asking for a refund to remedy a bad experience, you should not use removing or posting your review as a way to extract payment from a business, regardless of whether you’ve been a customer.
Personal experience: We want to hear about your first hand consumer experience, not what you heard from your co-worker or significant other. Try to tell your own story without resorting to broad generalizations and conclusory allegations.
Accuracy: Make sure your review is factually correct. Feel free to air your opinions, but don't exaggerate or misrepresent your experience. We don't take sides when it comes to factual disputes, so we expect you to stand behind your review.
Review updates: Review updates should reflect a new experience or interaction with the business. Don't tell the same old story you've already told. If you'd like to add new insight to an old experience, just edit your review instead of creating a new update.
Removing online reviews is not always a certainty. However, the more honest and fair you can be the more success you will have. Don’t hesitate to use the Google and Yelp guidelines! Just keep in mind that the review must contain one of their violations and not be just a negative review based on actual experience (How to Respond to a Negative Review). If you have great success with these methods, we would love to hear your story! Tell us all about it! Tweet us @webpunch12