For many large and small enterprises, negative evaluations are inevitable. But occasionally, you can receive a review that leaves you perplexed. It might be a fake, or it might just be absurd.
Those crazy reviews can affect your business’s reputation. But don’t worry; we bring you the ultimate guide on how to report fake Google reviews with examples.
What Are Fake Google Reviews?
One of the most popular places to find customer reviews for a range of goods and services is Google. However, not every online review you find on Google is truthful. Some companies and people use dishonest methods to increase their internet ratings and submit phony reviews.
62% of consumers believe they have read a bogus customer review in the recent year, according to BrightLocal. For businesses that depend on external review sites like Google Maps to draw in new clients, this can be a serious issue. Anyone can create any kind of review on Google, and it goes live for the public immediately.
How to Identify Fake Google Reviews
There are several reasons why people post false accusations about a business. Some of the most frequent sources of fraudulent Google reviews are listed below:
- Former workers seeking revenge for being fired or having personal issues with the business owner or other employees.
- Fake positive reviews are posted by friends, family, or corporate personnel to support a business because of their relationship with the owner.
- Business owners that buy reviews from product or service providers. That includes favorable and negative reviews. They usually do it to enhance a product’s appeal or undermine its competitors.
- Clients that leave negative feedback receive discount coupons, refunds, or another perk involving the return of their money.
- Business owners post fake negative reviews on competitors’ products to draw customers.
You can now tell who posts these reviews and the possible reasons why they do it. Let’s look into their characteristics so you know when to report one.
Repetitive Keywords and Text
Fake reviewers continue stressing particular keywords and nuances to build a negative picture of the client experience because it is challenging to fabricate a review. Such reviews highlight specific details without offering a comprehensive panorama.
Overuse of Exclamation Points or Emojis
Malicious reviewers also overuse exclamation points and emojis to get to people’s emotions. Genuine feedback frequently concentrates more on facts and offers other consumers thoughtful, practical input on their experiences using the products/services. If a customer is dissatisfied with your business, they will offer sensible and useful criticism rather than coming out overly emotional.
Poor Grammar, Broken English
The English proficiency of people who post fake reviews is frequently non-existent. If you notice that the review has poor grammar, misspelled words, and broken phrases repeatedly in a company’s Google reviews, they are likely paid reviewers posing as real customers.
Suspicious Name and Profile Picture.
The name and avatar of the reviewer are one obvious clue. Usually, fake reviews are posted using an account with a questionable username, avatar, or email address.
Check it and determine if a reviewer has ever shared reviews before, how frequently they did so, and for what goods or companies they did it if they seem unreliable. Fake accounts are usually created to be used only once, and phony reviewers are capable of submitting numerous reviews quickly and constantly.
1-Star Ratings with No Comments
Fake reviewers occasionally leave a negative rating without any explanations of their experiences. Reviewers that are sincere spend the time and effort to provide helpful criticism.
While recognizing these traits can help you identify if a review is fake, people are constantly coming up with more complex methods to supplant those that have already been exposed by algorithms, artificial intelligence, or human reviewers.
Lots of Mentions of Competing Products or Services
Reviews are bogus if a sizable portion mentions leaving the current business in favor of another one nearby. A brand-new opponent in the area has probably purchased fake, one-star reviews to damage the reputations of its competitors.
Filter by Time
Use the Most Recent filter to eliminate any potential fraudulent reviews from the reviews area. Unless it is a major company shortly after a significant event, if you observe thousands of positive or negative reviews within 24 to 48 hours, they could be reviews meant to improve or damage the overall rating.
Filter by Star Rating
Reviews with three and four stars frequently include accurate data without adopting a lopsidedly positive or negative tone. Since fake reviewers are frequently paid to promote or destroy a company, they won’t choose to give three- and four-star ratings.
How Does the Google Review Policy Work?
The definition of prohibited or restricted content is provided in Google’s reviews policy. Google’s conditions are sectioned in reviews that contain any of the following content, and you can report them from your Google Business Profile if they violate Google’s guidelines. Let’s go over different categories of prohibited or restricted content.
Duplicate, Fake, or Spammy Content.
Google reviews shouldn’t be used to influence a company’s rating; rather, they should accurately reflect a customer’s real experience instead. Duplicated reviews (posted in several places or from multiple accounts) or that represent another person, business, or organization without their permission are also considered violations.
Unpleasant or Offensive Language
Google will delete reviews that use profane, obscene or offensive language, even if these are legitimate. That implies that it doesn’t matter if the unfavorable review is fake or legitimate. If the wording is offensive, it’s a violation.
To determine what goes too far, Google employees utilize their judgment. They frequently overlook minor insults provided if the rest of the evaluation is pertinent and the wording isn’t overly offensive.
Conflicts of Interest
The best reviews for Google are those that are objective. That means that users cannot assess their company or a rival to influence ratings.
Google forbids evaluations posted by business owners, current or former workers, or rival businesses.
Furthermore, it makes no difference if the reviewer conceals or falsely claims authorship, which means they are not allowed to leave a bad review using an alias or anonymity. It is up to Google to determine who and what constitutes a conflict of interest.
Reviews have to be based on what clients have encountered there. Google reviews can be deleted for “general political, social commentary, or personal rants,” which are prohibited.
It may be against Google’s review policy if you receive a negative review that is off-topic and not representative of a real customer experience.
Whether the reviewer is commenting on behalf of someone else is at the heart of Google’s “impersonation” policy. It’s against the law to pretend to be a client to discuss someone else’s experience.
Even those open about examining second or third-hand reviews may violate Google’s guidelines. Of course, Google moderators can give exceptions based on the situation.
Reviews that describe or represent illicit activities are not permitted by the Google review policy. Reviews of goods or services subject to restrictions (such as those related to alcohol, gambling, tobacco, firearms, financial services, adult services, controlled medications, and health and medical devices) must adhere to applicable local laws and regulations.
Terrorism, Sexually Explicit, or Derogatory Content.
Google wants to give people a secure platform for conversation. It does not allow comments that were posted by terrorist groups, contain sexually explicit material, offensive language, or incite hatred or prejudice against any particular people or groups.
Also prohibited are Google reviews that include threats, express harassment, bullying, intimidation, or that inspire hatred.
How to Report Fake Reviews On Google
Anyone can contact Google and report suspected false reviews. While some of the steps are obvious, some potential directions are not that clear. The likelihood of having a fake review attack stopped greatly increases if you adhere to all of them.
Google is not 100% consistent in this procedure, so beware. The business is in charge of doing additional checks and maintaining the process working.
- Sign into your Google My Business account.
- Flag the review by selecting “Flag as inappropriate” from the menu options next to it. It will alert Google about any shady reviews. When you click the three dots next to each review in Google Maps, that option will show up.
- It will show up in Google searches as a tiny flag icon next to the star rating.
- You will be directed to a page where you can report a policy violation from this point on. It will ask you to enter your email address and choose the type of infraction you are reporting.
- After receiving your complaint, Google will review it and get in touch with you if more details are needed or if they have feedback to provide.
Why Is It Necessary to Report These Reviews?
Client testimonials are an effective strategy for acquiring leads. They show prospective customers how well your product or service works in comparison to your marketing messaging. This feedback can be relied upon by leads who consider working with your business and are interested in your brand.
If you leave fake or malicious reviews unattended, your business reputation can be affected.
What If My Report Gets Denied by Google?
You have a few choices if Google denies your request to have a review removed, but you still believe it is against their policy.
Select “Support” from your Google Business Profile to post in their Help Community or get in touch with Google. Put a copy of the review online and describe the situation in a new Help Community post.
A Google Product Expert may take further action if they agree with you after reading your post. Only if there is new information to give or if there was a misunderstanding regarding your earlier removal request will contacting Google likely be successful.
What If They Still Don’t Remove the Flagged Review?
If every effort to have a suspected false review taken down is unsuccessful, make sure you respond to it clearly and helpfully so that other users can make an accurate and unbiased judgment about your business.
Another great way of focusing the attention elsewhere is improving your current reviews. You can achieve this by linking visitors to your website to the Google reviews platform, either as part of the consumer experience on your website or as part of your email marketing plan. More good reviews will boost your overall rating and push unfavorable ones below on the list.
Some online retailers and enterprises have their sales and expansion stunted by fake reviews. These reviews have the power to either increase the sales of a subpar product by inflating its favorable rating or decrease the sales of rival products when they are unfavorable.
Knowing how to spot them will assist you in locating and reporting these reviews as well as safeguarding your company from other forms of online crime. That makes it more likely that your clients will experience safe and dependable online buying.