Not all reviews are made equal. The amount of time and thought customers put into them run the gamut between “elaborate novella-meets-college-thesis” and “barely qualifies as a cohesive thought.”
Regardless of quality, however, those little yellow stars have a significant impact on the traffic you’re receiving. It only takes one glance at a low rating to convince a potential customer on the fence to try their luck with a competitor.
It’s crucial, then, that you do your best to cultivate a selection of reviews that are as complementary as possible. But how trustworthy can those be? After all, anyone can leave feedback on Google, with or without purchasing anything from you.
We all know how the Internet works. Some people will attempt to ruin someone else for several reasons like:
- Not catering to their unreasonable demands
- Some prejudice that has nothing to do with business
- Because they think it’s funny.
Unfortunately, while it is capable of doing so, Google’s support team is pretty tight-fisted about when it’ll remove a review from your listing. As long as the score doesn’t outright fall under Google’s “prohibited and restricted” content guidelines, there’s probably nothing you can do about it.
“Prohibited and restricted” content includes:
- Spam or fake content
- Off-topic rants or commentary
- Anything promoting legally restricted services like alcohol or gambling
- Illegal contentrelated to rape, child pornography, trafficking, and so on
- Terrorist content
- Sexually explicit material
- Offensive contentusing obscene or profane language or gestures.
- Dangerous or derogatory content
- Conflicts of interestposted by you, family, or a competitor
It can be challenging to prove that a review violates any of the guidelines— especially if there’s nothing written with the rating. Your best tool for managing your image is transparency.
Good or bad, be upfront and use your business’s official account to respond to reviews and present your side of the story, whether that means merely thanking a customer for feedback or explaining the context for some unflattering comments. If you’d like a bit more guidance, try this handy guide on responding to reviews!