SEO Tips

How to Deal With Fake Negative Reviews of Your Business

Negative reviews are never fun to deal with, but fake reviews can be even worse. However, by handling reviews the right way, you can protect the reputation of your business.

Prioritizing reputation management should be an important part of your process whether or not you receive the occasional fake review.

Most businesses have to deal with a fake review at some point. Even GoBeyond got a fake review on the Better Business Bureau website. The person leaving the review was very disappointed that we had not sent her the supplements and diet shakes she ordered.

For those just tuning in, GoBeyond doesn’t sell supplements. Or shakes. Or products of any kind.

When we found the review and the woman who left it, we had a lovely conversation and sent her our website, showed her our faces, and demonstrated that we were not the culprits. She agreed to amend the review.

But had this bad (although fake) review been on Google, it would have been easier for her to recognize that we were not the offending company.

 So what happens if you do get a negative, fake review on Google? Are you stuck with it? Not necessarily. Here’s how to deal with fake negative reviews on Google.

Flag the Fake Review for Google to Remove

Google will not just remove a comment because you say you want it removed. That said, if a comment violates Google’s policy, and you flag that comment, Google will step in and remove the flagged comment. Here’s a short list of violations that can be grounds for removal:

  • Spam and fake content. Content should reflect genuine experiences and should not be placed in an attempt to manipulate ratings.
  • Off-topic. Content should be related to the specific location being reviewed.
  • Restricted content. No calls-to-action for materials restricted by law such as alcohol, tobacco, guns, etc.
  • Conflict of interest. Business owners, employees, and employees of competing businesses cannot review your company.

If you have a bad review that fits in the criteria above, here are the steps you can take to flag that comment:

  1. Find your business listing on Google Maps. If you have not claimed and optimized it, do it now! Not sure how? Book a time to meet with us to find out how.
  2. Find the review you’d like to dispute.
  3. Do not respond to the comment. Not yet. If the review is mean or rude, of course you want to politely and professionally respond to that. However, if it’s simply untruthful, don’t respond. It’s hard to make a case for Google to remove it if you’ve engaged with the comment.
  4. Click the three vertical buttons on the right side, then flag as inappropriate.

Remember, reviews posted on Google My Business are meant to represent the genuine experiences of customers. If Google believes a review doesn’t represent a real experience, it will be removed.

What Happens If the Review Isn’t Removed?

If the review doesn’t get taken down, there are a couple of other steps you can take.

  1. Contact Google by phone to ask about the status of the flagged review.
  2. If that’s not enough, you can fill out a legal removal request if the review can be considered libel. 

There’s never a guarantee that Google will remove a fake review. Being proactive, building a process, and responding to negative feedback is usually the best way of dealing with reviews whether they are good, bad, or ugly.

If you think it’s time to automate some of that process, we can help you at GoBeyond SEO. Find out how by booking a call with us here!

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Kristy is an Assistant & Coordinator of Awesome. She has worked extensively in academic administration and brings a varied wealth of knowledge. As a self-starter, she is ready to take on news projects and see them through to completion. Always curious, Kristy is an avid researcher and delights in the challenge of learning new skills.

When Kristy isn’t organizing or researching something, you can find her listening to a true crime podcast, re-watching How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory and coming up with some crazy shenanigan for her family’s next adventure.


  1. Kristy prefers the Harry Potter books over the movies. Her favorite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban and her favorite character is Luna Lovegood. Ravenclaw house. She just started her 8-year-old son on listening to the books.
  2. Kristy has a nail technician license, esthetician license, medical assisting certification, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree. She didn’t get her full cosmetology license because she can barely do her own hair, she shouldn’t be trusted with someone else’s.
  3. She doesn’t know how to gamble but is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. She moved to Colorado three months before her 21st birthday.
  4. Her high school graduating class consisted of only 20 people.
  5. Kristy loves gift giving. One of her great joys in life is finding the “perfect” gift.
Kristy Elias