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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Three Reasons To Claim Your Google My Business Listing

If you haven’t already jumped on the Google My Business bandwagon, now’s the time. Leaving a Google My Business profile unclaimed (psst: even if you’re virtual) is like leaving an entire host of free marketing opportunities on the table and willingly ignoring their existence…and you know better than that. 

Here’s the deal: 80 percent of internet searches go through Google. Think of the last time you actually searched through Bing or Yahoo. Yet, 56 percent of potential Google My Business accounts have not been claimed. This means the business will not be told when a review comes through, you’re allowing third-party photos to be attached to your business without your knowledge, and you’re missing out on a wealth of leads and potential sales.

Keep reading for the top 3 reasons to claim your Google My Business listing.

1. Claim Google My Business Listing for Local SEO

Claiming your Google My Business profile gives you the ability to boost your ranking, free of charge, by instantly making yourself more of an authority in your space. See, Google’s algorithm primarily considers three features: relevance, proximity, and prominence. By claiming your profile, you are essentially sounding an alarm to the algorithm that your listing deserves a higher ranking because of information you’ve provided. Here’s why:

  • By adding your website to your profile, you are adding backlinks, which builds up your site’s reliability.
  • You’ve now provided Google with a location, which tells the algorithm when it should come up in more localized searches.
  • It makes your business more established and well-known in the eyes of Google.

2. Get Found By Potential Clients

As your SEO improves, your business appears earlier in the search ranking, and, as a result, your website traffic increases. Even simply filling out the information in the profile, however, and turning it into your own, enables your business to share necessary content with your potential customers. 

By claiming the profile, you are able to put your ideas, via posts and blogs, in front of them. You give your audience a chance to learn about your business, the hours it operates, any pertinent or new information, and how to find out more. The more information your customers consume, the more likely it is the interaction will end in a sale.

3. Use GMB for Reputation Management

Google reviews are all the rage right now, and it makes total sense. The last restaurant you’ve visited, the electrician you’ve hired, the last salon you’ve entered…I would be surprised if you’ve never checked out some reviews before making a decision. 90 percent of people read reviews. 90 percent. 

When you claim your Google My Business profile, you become notified when there’s a review. And, as every smart business owner knows, when there’s a review, there needs to be a response. Without claiming the profile, you don’t know when the review comes in, and you leave it unnoticed. As positive reviews build up, more positive reviews come in, and all this leads to more sales for you.

Beyond that, Google My Business recently added a messaging feature. More customer interaction means more engagement and loyalty which, again, means more sales.

How Do I Claim My Business on Google?

So now you’re convinced, but have no idea how to claim your Google My Business listing. Follow this process, and if you run into an issue, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

  1. Go to and create an account.
  2. Add your business name.
  3. Add your business category. If your business shows up after this step, it’s possible that your business has already been added via a third-party. This may require a bit more poking around. If you get stuck, reach out for assistance.
  4. Add your location or indicate that you’re virtual.
  5. Different questions will arise based on your answers. Just fill them out.
  6. Add pictures where you can. When adding your pictures, give them names. Most images are labeled with IMG_123 or something to that effect, which doesn’t help your SEO at all. Label your images with a specific name that lets Google know what you’re about, such as “Best-Dog-Groomer-Charlotte”.
  7. Once you’ve completed and reviewed your details, click “Claim this business.”
  8. It typically takes about 24 hours for your business to show up in the Google listings. You’ll receive an email confirmation that your business listing is active.

Don’t leave your business behind by leaving your profile unattended. Google My Business is a fast and easy way to improve your visibility, engage your audience, and provide a ton of content, and it’s all for free. 

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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