Violations that Allow Law Firms to Remove Reviews
While the process of removing a Google review is not necessarily complex, Google’s guidelines determine if you have a review that is eligible for removal. However, there are common violations that may allow law firms to remove reviews from their Google Business Profile. Consider the following:
The most common review violation reported by law firms is spam content. Google attempts to weed out and remove spam reviews automatically, but there are instances where spam slips past the filters. It is also possible that a legitimate review should be detected as spam and accidentally removed. Signs of spam reviews include overly generic information, non-human profile photos (i.e., avatars), and strange usernames.
Reviews With Inappropriate Content or Images
Google provides guidelines on the types of content users can include in a review. The types of content not permitted include hate speech, explicit content, profanity, and other types of offensive content. Depending on Google’s filters, inappropriate reviews may be removed automatically, or you may need to submit a removal request. The same goes for inappropriate images that do not meet Google’s policy.
Multiple Reviews From the Same Person
There are instances where a single person leaves multiple false or negative reviews for the same business. They may make various accounts or ask friends or family to use their accounts. It can be challenging to recognize when someone has left multiple reviews. Common signs include similar topics or points of contention and numerous negative reviews posted at the same time or within a short time span.
Fake Competitor Reviews
The legal industry is highly competitive. Struggling law firms may make the unethical decision to attempt to improve their image by discrediting another law firm and leaving fake negative reviews. Note that this is most likely to occur at the local search level when law firm competition is often the highest.
Reviews From Employees
Employees, whether current or former, are not allowed to leave business reviews on employers – whether those reviews be negative or positive. If an employee leaves a review for their current or former employer, it is a breach of Google’s Conflict of Interest Policy. Employees are also not allowed to post reviews on competitors’ business profiles.
Reviews for a Different Law Firm
There is the occasional mixup, where a law firm client will leave a review for the incorrect firm. This is most likely to happen in law firms with similar names in similar geographical locations. Incorrect reviews are often easily identifiable as they may be unrelated to the services you offer, or they may mention specific individuals who you do not employ.
Reviews on an Incorrect Location
If you operate a law firm that has offices in multiple locations – whether the firms are located in multiple cities or states – it is crucial that clients leave reviews for the correct location. If a client leaves a review for the office they did not receive services at, you can ask Google to remove the review. You might also consider asking the client to leave a review for the correct location.
If your law firm has recently been in the news for one reason or another, you may start to see reviews on your Google Business Profile that are related to opinions on your firm from people you have not provided services. You can request that Google remove any such reviews.
How to Get a Google Review Removed
Receiving fraudulent reviews can be frustrating – particularly if they have a negative impact on your business or client traffic. Google offers multiple ways for website managers to request review removal. Before you request a removal, review Google’s reviews policy to ensure that you have a valid request.
There are three ways you can request a review be removed:
- Flag a review in your Business Profile account.
- Flag a review in Google Search.
- Flag a review in Google Maps.
To flag a review in your Business Profile account, you must sign in and choose the review you want to report. You may have to select reviews for multiple businesses, depending on your law firm’s setup. Once you find the review you want to get removed, you can flag it as inappropriate and wait for Google to complete its review process.
If you decide to flag the review via Google Search, you need to find your Business Profile on Google’s homepage and locate the review. From there, you can select the specific type of violation.
You can also use Google Maps to report a review. When opening Google Maps, locate your Business Profile, find the review you want to report, and flag it as inappropriate.
It is important to note that it may take several days for Google to review your request and determine if it violates their standards and should be deleted. If Google removes the review, you do not need to take any further action. If, however, Google does not remove the review, you have the option to respond to the commenter in a professional manner. If you choose to ignore the negative review, you risk seeming unconcerned about your clients and their experiences.
Digital Marketing Next Steps
Managing your online reputation via your Business Profile is simple once you understand how to get a fraudulent Google review removed. Remember to encourage clients to leave reviews and regularly monitor your profile to ensure that any comments left are accurate and from individuals that you have actually worked with.
Annette Choti, Esq. graduated from law school 20 years ago, and is the Founder of Law Quill, a legal digital marketing agency focused on small and solo law firms. Annette wrote the bestselling book Click Magnet: The Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide For Law Firms, and hosts the podcast Legal Marketing Lounge. She is a sought-after keynote and CLE speaker throughout the United States and Canada. Annette used to do theatre and professional comedy, which is not so different from the legal field if we are all being honest. Annette can be found on LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org.