What is a Google review?

Google reviews is a star-based review system where the public can make comments made to your Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly referred to as Google My Business (GMB). These reviews are based on a 5-star system with five being good and one being bad or not so good. These reviews are star based and commentary text and images are optional,  to leave a Google review users must have an account with Google.

Google reviews are increasingly critical to small and medium businesses in Australia, particularly at a local level. Good reviews can not only encourage consumers to proceed with contacting your business, but they can also increase your google rankings, particularly in the much sought after map (three) pack. An article in the Search Engine Journal states that

“Google and other search engines certainly appear to reward businesses with higher volumes of positive reviews by placing them in the coveted Map Pack at the top of organic local search results.” 

Even at an anecdotal level, we have noticed with our clients that positive reviews have an incredibly positive impact on businesses that have excellent and multiple 5-star reviews.

What do you do with bad reviews?

On the other hand, bad reviews can be a nightmare for your business. This is not an understatement. Negative reviews can be for various reasons, some legitimate and some not so honest.

Negative reviews may give you a heads up that potentially you, as the owner or your staff, need to lift your game or that you have issues with your processes. Or they may be harmful for a variety of issues, and Google may agree with you and remove them. Some examples of this may be:

  • disgruntled staff and or their family members
  • competitors sabotaging your reviews

Google classifies inappropriate reviews into the following categories:

  • off-topic
  • spam
  • conflict of interest
  • profanity
  • bullying or harassment
  • discrimination or hate speech
  • personal information
  • not helpful

So if you receive a negative or low star rating review, three possible options are:

  1. Respond to the review, remembering that your target audience is all potential readers and not necessarily the individual who wrote the review. See our blog SEO teams view on reviews
  2. Take legal action against the individual. See our blog from June 2021 Google Reviews legal action taken
  3. Flag the review as inappropriate and hope that Google removes the said review

Flagging the reviews as inappropriate is a quick and straightforward process and should be one of the initial actions you take.

Ensure you have a Google account (if you have a Gmail account, you have a Google account) before getting started.

  1.  Log in to your Google account
  2. Open Google Maps (https://www.google.com/maps)
  3. Do a search top left for your business name and click on the link that should appear in the drop-down
  4. Next to the star rating, click on the word “# reviews” e.g. 7 reviews
  5. Find the offending review, click on the three dots. Tip: You have filter options at the top of the review section that may help if you select sort > lowest rating
  6. Click “flag as inappropriate.” And then choose from the inappropriate categories list as mentioned above.

If you need help dealing with negative reviews, please contact GOOP Digital, and we can assist. As a business owner, sometimes it is hard not to take negative reviews personally. However, it needs a calm head, and emotion must be removed from the equation. Now we can proceed with the appropriate actions for the best possible outcome.

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