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Can You Remove Bad Google Reviews?

How To Delete or Update Google Reviews

So you got a bad review. What now? Can you make it go away?

Quick Summary
  • Want to make your bad Google reviews disappear? Know your options
  • If a review violates Google's User Contributed Content Policy, flag the review for removal
  • If you can't remove Google reviews, respond to them directly to address the issue
  • Use the Review Management tool to easily track, analyze, and respond to your business's reviews

Step 1: Review Google's User Contributed Content Policy

If you've received a review you don't like, it may be tempting to make it go away. Unfortunately, you can't delete Google reviews yourself. However, Google can remove it if it has violated their terms.

According to Google's User Contributed Content Policy, content may be removed if

  • It includes harassment, hate speech, personal information, or is offensive in another way (e.g., deliberate provocation, unsubstantiated ethical or criminal allegations)
  • It is deceptive, using tactics such as fake engagement, impersonation, misrepresentation, or spreading misinformation
  • It uses explicit, obscene, or violent imagery
  • It includes regulated, dangerous, or illegal content (including child safety issues and other content that facilitates serious harm)
  • It is spam (including gibberish, promotional, or off-topic content)

If you believe your review was described above, you can flag it for deletion. However, if it doesn't violate Google's User Generated Content Policy, you'll need to address the issue another way.

Step 2: Address the review by flagging it for removal or responding directly

If you receive a review that violates Google's content policies, you can flag it by following these steps:

1. Open Google Maps and navigate to the review in question
2. Beside the review, open the three dot menu
3. Select "flag as inappropriate"
4. From the form, select your reason for reporting the review, and submit

If the review can't be deleted—for example, if the review contains legitimate negative feedback—consider responding directly. You can do this through your Google Business Profile account, or a tool like Semrush’s Review Management.

Here are some tips for responding to negative reviews

  • Respond in a timely manner
  • Be polite and show the reviewer you take their concerns seriously
  • Take ownership of explaining or rectifying the issue as needed
  • Move the discussion offline if necessary

Replying to negative reviews can help you manage your online reputation, by showing how much you care about customer experience.

Step 3: Implement a review management strategy

A review management strategy is a formalized process of monitoring, analyzing, and addressing reviews for your business. By implementing one, you can:

1. Respond to reviews more efficiently
2. Rectify potential problems more quickly
3. Support your digital marketing strategy
4. Apply your learnings to improve your business's overall performance

If you've never created a review management strategy, use this checklist

  • Identify all the review sites you want to monitor (e.g., Google, Facebook, Yelp)
  • Wherever possible, claim your business profile on review sites you're monitoring
  • Identify the person or team responsible for analyzing and responding to reviews on each platform
  • Block time in your daily or weekly schedule to read and respond to new reviews
  • Standardize how your team will respond and which reviews receive a reply. (For example, you might institute an approval process or create templates)
  • Encourage your customers to leave feedback to support your business and guide your growth

Step 4: Learn from your feedback and grow your business

Ultimately, both positive and negative reviews present an opportunity to help your business grow. Both of them grant crucial insight into your loyal customers' needs and preferences. Then, you can use that knowledge to better serve them.

As you manage your reviews, track the sentiment and the specific feedback you receive. Make a note of:

  • The overall tone of your reviews (is it mostly positive or negative?)
  • Which products or services your customers are most excited about
  • Specific areas of frustration or opportunities for improvement
  • New products or services your customers express an interest in
You can track and analyze your reviews manually (e.g., in a spreadsheet) or using a review management tool. For example the Review Management tool's "Reviews" report can:

1. Track your overall star rating by location
2. Consolidate your reviews across multiple platforms into one dashboard
3. Enable you to respond to reviews across platforms from one location (for Premium locations)
4. Analyze review sentiment (for Premium locations)
The Review Management Tool Reviews report. Use the Review Progress widget (on the left) to break down the distribution of reviews by star-rating. Use the Average Star Rating widget (on the lower right) to analyze your overall average rating across all reviews.
The Review Management Tool Reviews report. Use the Review Progress widget (on the left) to break down the distribution of reviews by star-rating. Use the Average Star Rating widget (on the lower right) to analyze your overall average rating across all reviews.
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How Semrush's Review Management Can Help

We created the tool to help your business thrive. Here, you can track, respond, and analyze reviews with ease, all from one convenient dashboard.

Track and Respond to Reviews with Ease

As any small business owner knows, customer service is the key to success. But these days, that doesn't just happen at the storefront. It also happens online, on your Google Business Profile, in Google Maps, on your Facebook page, and across the internet.

That's where Semrush comes in. The Review Management tool tracks your reviews in one convenient place, the Reviews tab. Here, you can track all the reviews your business receives for each location.

And if you upgrade to Premium locations, you can even respond to those reviews without leaving the tool. This way, you can reach out to your customers more quickly and easily than ever before.
Semrush´s Review Management tool allow your business to easily track reviews in one place.

Analyze Reviews by Sentiment for More Targeted Feedback

Responding to individual reviews is just the start. Semrush gives you the tools you need to analyze your reviews quickly and easily:

• Learn what your customers talk about the most (top words or phrases)
• Quickly target reviews by sentiment
• Track your average sentiment and star rating by keyword
• Easily find positive reviews to use in marketing

Use this to deep dive into your customers' preferences and needs. Then, incorporate what you learn into your business strategy—and make your customers even happier.
Get the pulse of what your customers are saying about your business with Semrush´s sentinement tab.

Never Miss a Bad Review with Email Alerts

Running a business is hard work, and you can't afford to miss a step. Especially if that step is a bad review sitting there unaddressed and gathering attention from potential customers. Luckily, Semrush is here to help.

If any location receives a negative review (two stars or lower), Semrush will send you a weekly email, bringing it to your attention. (No negative reviews? No email.)

When you get an email alert, you can quickly respond from within the tool and resolve the issue.
Don´t miss a bad review, and respond to it quickly with Semrush´s Review Management tool.
Still have any questions about review management? We've got answers!
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