Google reviews are an essential part of managing your restaurant’s online reputation and local SEO. Other than working to attract new customers by getting your happy guests to leave your business positive reviews, restaurant owners commonly have to deal with a huge problem: fake Google reviews.
Approximately 20% of online reviews are fake, and they can do some serious harm to your business. If you find that someone left a fake Google review of your restaurant, the most important thing to do is to take action quickly and maintain a cool head—the last thing you want to do is type out an angry reply.
Read on to learn how fake Google review removal works and the three steps you can take to get them taken down.
How to remove fake Google business reviews: 3 Steps
The first thing you’ll need to do is sign in to your GMB account and head over to the reviews section. This is where you’ll be able to manage and respond to any reviews left about your restaurant, as well as flag and report any fake Google reviews.
1. Respond to the fake Google review
When responding to fake Google reviews, it’s important to remember that anyone can see the response—stick to your business values and approach it how you would any other upset customer, even if you’re 100% sure that the review is fake. How you respond will affect other customers’ perceptions of your restaurant.
The longer a negative or fake review stays posted without a response, the greater the chance it has to impact your online reputation. Whether the review is good, bad, or fake, you’ll want to respond timely and correctly; you’re not just dealing with the person who left a review, but you’re also giving other customers an inside look into your customer service quality.
Here’s an example of how to respond to fake Google reviews in an appropriate way:
Hi [customer’s name],
At [your restaurant’s name], we take issues like this seriously and regret that you may have had a bad experience at our restaurant. However, we don’t have any record of you visiting us or of this incident occurring. Please feel free to reach out to us at [business phone number and/or email address] at your convenience to see how we can resolve the problem. Thank you.
You want to respond to the fake review professionally and let your actual customers know that whatever problem the review referenced didn’t really happen without outright calling the review fake.
You can find more tips on responding to negative and fake Google reviews here
2. Flag the fake Google review
After you’ve replied to the fake Google review, you don’t need to wait to see if you get a response from the customer—you can immediately flag it for review. Google knows that fake reviews happen and gives you the option to bring it to their attention. Once flagged, if Google determines that the review is fake or violates their policies, they’ll remove it.
Here’s how to get a fake Google review removed by flagging it:
- Find the fake review in the review section of your GMB profile.
- Click on the three dots in the right-hand corner of the review in question to bring up a drop-down menu.
- Click on “Flag as inappropriate” and it will redirect you to a page where you can report the review.
- Fill out the form and submit it to Google. They will go over the review and if it’s determined to be fake, remove it from your GMB listing.
You’ll typically get a response about the review quickly, but there is another step you can take while you wait.
3. Report the fake Google review
Instead of sitting idly by while you wait to see if the fake review gets removed, you can report it directly to the GMB support team. To contact them, you’ll need to:
- Go to the review section on your GMB page.
- Click on the support option and choose if you’d like them to contact you by email or phone.
- Fill out the form and attach a screenshot of the fake review.
You can expect to hear back from the support team regarding the fake Google review in 24–48 hours.
If you want to take a social media approach and your restaurant has a business account on Twitter, you can also tweet to @GoogleMyBiz to explain the problem and get a quick response.
Dealing with fake Google reviews
Fake Google reviews can damage your restaurant’s online reputation if left unchecked. If you find a fake review, follow the three steps listed above to get it removed quickly. Now that you know how to get a fake Google review removed, you should shift your focus to getting more positive reviews.
Localyser is a streamlined solution designed to help restaurants manage their online reputation. Book your demo today and see how we can help you monitor and respond to your reviews across the web and generate more positive reviews to boost your average star rating and local SEO.