As our response scribes have discussed in the past on our review reply blog, online reviews are critical for the success of your business. Specifically, it’s most valuable to have recent, positive reviews that feature a comment describing the reviewer’s experience. That’s because ratings and reviews influence how much consumers trust your business — and in turn, whether they’re willing to purchase your product or service. In fact, data shows us that 49% of consumers trust online reviews as much as their own friends or family members when it comes to businesses they’ll consider.
Considering how much influence reviews exert on your brand’s reputation — and on your bottom line — it’s no wonder that negative reviews can be bad for business. However, if a negative review meets certain criteria, it may be possible to have it removed from the platform where it was posted. Our review removal service streamlines this process for your brand, saving your team valuable time while working to identify — and eliminate — illegitimate and inaccurate reviews on your behalf.
Read on to learn more about how our online review removal service works and whether your business could benefit. We’ll also discuss the criteria for removing reviews on various platforms, along with some circumstances where reviews can’t be removed.
How Does it Help Your Business to Have Reviews Removed?
Whether you’re an auto dealership, a home services business, a real estate company, a healthcare provider, or part of any other industry, there are numerous advantages that come from using a review removal service. Here are a few of the reasons why your business should track and remove reviews that meet certain criteria, which we’ll explore throughout the rest of this post:
- Increasing your overall star rating can help increase consumer trust in your brand. Learn more about the best star rating for your business (and how to achieve it).
- Removing spam, along with misleading or invalid reviews, creates a more efficient and accurate review comparison experience for prospective customers.
- Tracking and monitoring your reviews for those that should be removed can also reveal additional trends that your business can leverage to drive growth, especially with the detailed data reports that Shout About Us provides every month.
Does Shout About Us Remove All Negative Reviews?
No — and neither will any other reputable review management service. That’s because manipulating or censoring your reviews violates the guidelines on all of the major review platforms — including Facebook, Google, and Yelp, along with various others — which could actually lead to penalties for your business, including the suspension or removal of your account from that platform.
Legitimate negative reviews — for instance, complaints from verified customers about slow customer service, or poor reviews from your residents concerning unsatisfactory building maintenance — cannot be removed simply because they express negative sentiments about your company. Likewise, negative ratings that do not feature comments generally cannot be removed, because there is no way to show that they are inappropriate, abusive, or otherwise violate the platform’s ToS.
Not only could attempts to manipulate your reviews get you in trouble with platforms like Yelp — it could also attract unwanted attention from government agencies like the Federal Trade Commission, which have been known to sue businesses that pay for fake reviews. For a deeper dive into that topic, we suggest checking out our post on why you should never purchase reviews.
What Types of Reviews Does Shout About Us Remove?
To ensure that our clients avoid the sorts of issues described above, Shout About Us exclusively requests removal of reviews that appear to violate the host platform’s ToS, content guidelines, community standards, and/or other stated policies. The following section provides a few examples of scenarios where an online review can be flagged for removal, along with links to more resources where you can learn about each of the major platforms’ standards and procedures around review removal.
When Can an Online Review Be Removed?
It’s important to reiterate that reviews cannot be removed solely because they are negative; they must actually violate the Terms of Service, community standards, or other rules on the platforms where they are posted in order to be taken down. That leads to the practical question, what are the rules on each platform? And what do they say about the scenarios where a review can (or can’t) be removed?
We’ve provided links to each of the major platforms’ extensive guidelines below, along with a few key takeaways we thought were worth highlighting.
Removing Facebook Reviews
Facebook’s Transparency Center states, “We want to make sure the content people see on Facebook is authentic.” As a result, Facebook enforces policies against spam, along with “inauthentic behavior” and “misinformation,” as part of its official guidelines. Additionally, Facebook prohibits “fraud and deception,” including all “content that purposefully deceives, willfully misrepresents or otherwise defrauds or exploits others for money or property.” Reviews and other content can also be removed for inciting violence, containing hate speech, or violating other Facebook Community Standards.
Removing Yelp Reviews
Yelp encourages users to report content that violates its content guidelines. These guidelines — which extend not only to written reviews, but also content like photos, videos, direct messages, user profiles, and other content that exists on the site — broadly prohibit “inappropriate content,” which includes “threats, harassment, lewdness, hate speech, or other displays of bigotry.” Additionally, Yelp also notes that “reviews aren’t the place for rants about political ideologies, a business’s employment practices, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don’t address the core of the consumer experience.”
Removing Google Reviews
Google Business Profiles (GBP), formerly Google My Business (GMB), directs users to read its review removal guidelines carefully before making a request. According to GBP’s guidelines, there are numerous types of “prohibited and restricted content” that could qualify a review for removal. To provide just a few examples, GBP will remove reviews that are found to contain “harassment,” “hate speech,” “personal information,” “impersonation,” “misrepresentation,” “misinformation,” “obscenity and profanity,” “off-topic content,” and “repetitive content” — to name only a few. Learn more about how to remove reviews from your Business Profile on Google, or visit the following link to GBP’s Help Center to request review removal.
Depending on your industry or niche, you might also want to familiarize yourself with the rules and guidelines on some of the industry-specific review platforms that are directly relevant to your business. For example, if you’re in the automotive industry, it’s a good idea to learn the rules around review removal on platforms like Edmunds, Cars.com, Car Gurus, and DealerRater that specifically cater to shoppers who are looking to buy or sell vehicles.
Last but not least, it’s important to keep in mind that these rules apply not only to the reviews you receive, but the responses you provide. Learn more about best review response practices to follow for your business in 2022 — and why responding to your reviews matters.
How Soon Can a Negative Review Be Taken Down?
Reviews may be removed anywhere from 48 hours to two months after being approved for removal, depending on the platform’s backlog and other factors. However, the average removal time typically ranges from two to four weeks.
Schedule a Demo of Our Review Removal Service or Review Response Service for Franchises, Agencies, and Brands
More and more businesses are integrating online review management into their digital marketing strategies. Shouldn’t yours be one of them?
Discover what a review removal campaign can do for your brand. Schedule a demo with our team today, or contact us online to learn more about our full suite of review management solutions, including review monitoring, automated review generation, and our custom review reply service.
Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter with more than seven years of writing experience. She joined the Shout About Us team as a content strategist in 2020.