This is a great question we are answering in response to a recent client’s question.
First, if you do receive a bad review on Google Plus, and especially if it is fake, then one thing you need to do is to make sure that you bury it in a sea of new positive reviews while also flagging and reporting it to Google. The reviews must be REAL, from actual customers/clients. Never fake a review.
Second, while Google rarely takes down a ‘fake’ review, they do encourage you to continue to flag the review as inappropriate until their team reviews the review and responds to you via email to let you know if it violates their TOS (which in only rate cases it does). When you are looking at the review on your Google Plus page, if you hover over the right side of it, you will see a flag icon. Click it and you will be taken to a webpage where you can submit your request to Google to review the review. This is what Google’s site says:
“Google takes abuse of its services very seriously. In the fields below, please provide us with information about the comment that you believe is in violation of our Terms of Service. We’ll investigate and take action as necessary. We’ll follow up with you only if we require more information or if we have additional information to share.”
However, few of us have this much time to wait as our reputation gets tarnished, so it is also important to then respond directly to the reviewer. Post a professional response to the review that helps discredit the reviewer and shows that it is false. You do not want to throw coals onto the fire and attack back. The end goal is to help other online visitors see the truth of the situation: that a non credible source is proactively disparaging your business without cause. (Note: in general, it is also best to take the entire conversation offline, if that is an option, and to encourage the person to call you directly, if the review is real).
So, what will happen after you Respond to a review that is left on your Google Plus page? Will the review that you respond to surface to the top of the reviews listed on your Google Plus page or will it stay in its original place? Google states that the bad review will in fact stay in its original spot in the queue of reviews, even if you Respond to it.
Here is a capture of a conversation with Google answering this question:
We hope that helps. Remember:
1. Bury the review in a sea of new positive, real reviews
2. Report the bad review to Google repeatedly
3. Write a well thought out response that will help discredit the negative review without spurring more negativity online
Good Luck! If you have any questions about online reputation management, get in touch. Or, you can get some tips on adding positive reviews here: 5 Best Practices For Obtaining Real Online Reviews That Will Help Your SEO
NOTE: the information on this blog is for Informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as official advice and it does not apply to every situation. We advise that each issue be handled on a case by case basis and that you discuss your specific issue with you marketing agency on record before taking any steps. Google’s policies may change at any time and information in this blog may become obsolete.