How to Tackle Bad (and Fake) Reviews for Your Business – See Below

Every small business owner – especially in service businesses like hair salons and beauty salons – fears getting negative online reviews.

Even worse are the fake ones, nasty malicious pieces of work put up by (usually anonymous) trolls whose only mission in live is to make life miserable for others.

So it’s heartening to see business owners fighting back.

Like Dr Matthew Kabbabe, a Melbourne dentist who took Google to court to unmask an anonymous reviewer who posted a fake takedown of his business. The Federal Court came down on his side, ordering Google to hand over information that would help Dr Kabbabe track down the troll and slap him (or her) with a defamation action.

The court ruling adds weight to the growing movement by legislators all over the world to bring the tech giants down the earth. They are publishers, and have to be responsible for what is published on their platforms by their users.

(And in Australia at least, a business with 10 or fewer employees can sue for defamation over reputation-damaging online reviews.)

Google has clearly been stung by the court’s rapid response.

I checked Dr Kabbabe’s Google listing this morning – just 3 days after the court ruling – and the fake review is nowhere to be found. Strike one for the little guy against the 10,000 pound Gorilla.

Three Ways to Tackle Bad Reviews

1) If you get a bad review from a genuine customer, you MUST log into your Google account and reply. At worst, other clients and prospective customers will see that you’ve at least attempted to respond to the problem. Ignoring it won’t achieve anything. It won’t go away by itself. 

2) If you know the review is fake (eg from somebody who hasn’t even been into your business, and is posting as ‘anonymous’) you should flag the review as inappropriate. Once the review is flagged as inappropriate, Google’s review team will be notified and they will personally check on the review.  This option can take several days and never comes with a guarantee. Click here to see how to flag a review as inappropriate. 

OR Contact Google support! Getting in touch with Google support can be tricky but it’s an effective option to remove irrelevant reviews.  To contact Google, use the AdWords customer support phone number which is 1-866-2-GOOGLE or 1-800-246-6453 (in the USA). Instead of entering your 10-digit customer ID, press the * button when prompted, followed by “3” for the “issues showing up on Google” option.   Again, this may take longer and require actually talking to a Google rep on the phone, but we’ve found calling Google support to be very effective when removing business reviews. Note: It helps to have an active Google Adwords Campaign. Have one of those $100 adwords coupons lying around? Now is the perfect time to use it.  Being a “paying” customer helps when it comes to getting real support. 

3) BURY your bad reviews in an avalanche of positive ones. Got a ton of great reviews on Facebook? Lots of businesses have, but Google reviews matter more, because they’re the ones Google shows first when people are searching. 

In this video, I’ve detailed how to convert those great Facebook reviews into equally great Google reviews: 

Follow that system, and here’s what can happen, as per this email from a client in NZ this morning: 

“Reputation Management” has become an industry in itself. There are companies who’ll do all this for you. But there’s a lot you can do for yourself before you have to shell out money.

Speaking of money, here’s something for free – fill in the form below and we’ll do a FREE audit and report for you on your Google Business Listing and website. 

Good marketing!