I’ve been mindful of my Google reviews, always making sure customers are happy, never charging when I can’t fix a problem, always remaining friendly and professional. This has given me a perfect Google score of 5 stars for 6 years until just before Christmas when a competitor, fairly new to the area started hammering us with fake 1 star reviews.
My heart sank as I watch years of work, building a solid customer base and a good Google score plummet to 3.9 in a single day. I did everything you’re supposed to do, we flagged the reviews and contacted Google, however Google doesn’t consider fake reviews reason to delete them. That’s right, Google won’t delete fake reviews on your Google business page. This makes it easy for a rival business to tank your reviews, costing you business.
The reason? It doesn’t violate Google’s policy, you can have a fake account with an alias to protect your privacy, so essentially they are allowing this flaw in their policy and that makes businesses vulnerable to malicious attacks.
Google has faced several law suits from this practice yet they continue to do nothing. This problem is so bad you can’t even trust the review system at all, something as a consumer we rely on to sort out the good services from the bad.
What can you do?
Get 5 star reviews from customers to combat the fake ones, for every fake one you’ll need two 5 stars, this is time consuming and frustrating, the other option is removing your Google business listing however they don’t make that easy either. You have to declare your business closed.
I’ve spoken to other business owners about this flaw in Google’s rating system, and the best solution I received was from a young woman who’s strategy is to simply mark all fake reviews with this generic tagline: ” This is a span review posted by someone to lower the average Google rating for this business. This review is being investigated by Google. ” Obviously any legitimate negative reviews would be met with sympathy and a willingness to correct the problem in short order. Any business owner who did anything less wouldn’t be in business for very long.