How to Flag Questionable Online Reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp

By Brian Leguizamon

Google Review Summary

Online authority is the backbone of a company’s reputation. A business with an impeccable track record among its customers and community is a strong contender for the position of industry leader and trendsetter.

When a business does right by their customers, their reputation improves. But even the best businesses can end up being the victim of questionable online reviews.

A study by the Harvard Business School found that 20% of Yelp reviews are fake, a number that would concern any small business owner.

Having questionable reviews removed, ones that do not accurately reflect the business is essential to maintaining an appealing reputation.

What exactly qualifies as a ‘questionable review’?

When we say ‘questionable’, we mean fake or otherwise invalid. Business owners need to understand that a negative assessment doesn’t instantly qualify the review as fake.

A legitimate negative review can be a tough pill to swallow. It’s easy to become defensive or dismissive, even when the customer had a valid poor experience. How business owners handle valid negative reviews provides a glimpse into the business culture. The public back and forth will influence future customers.

Even if you don’t end up getting the upset reviewer to remove their negative review, showing that you’re aware of their problem and trying to make things right will be enough to protect your reputation.

Assuming that doesn’t work, you can encourage more members of your community to leave reviews of their experiences.

The easiest way to hide negative reviews is to overshadow them with positive ones.

That said, a negative review and a fake one aren’t treated the same way by platforms like Yelp, Google and Facebook.

Review the ToS (Terms of Service)

Let’s assume that you’ve already tried to reason with the reviewer. If that went poorly, your next option is to determine whether or not the review violates the ToS of the site. When it comes to negative reviews, even the most scathing one won’t get taken down unless it violates the Terms of Service (ToS) of the site.

Each individual site has their own ToS agreement, but what’s important to understand is that as long as the review operates within the limitations of that agreement, it’s not going anywhere. Unless a review actually violates the ToS of one of these platforms, the chances of it actually being taken down are pretty low.


Google reviews don’t just influence the online authority of businesses in an abstract ‘word-of-mouth’ way. Sites like Moz have determined that online reviews account for 13% of how Google (and other search engines) decide to rank search results. In other words, those questionable reviews can actually convince Google to keep you further and further away from the coveted first page of Google.

Considering the impact that Google reviews can have on the average small business owner’s online reputation and overall business, it only makes sense that we’d address this first.

The very first step is for business owners to review Google’s review policies. If a review is found to be in violation of them, it can Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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