Google Reviews Fake or Not? How to Spot, Remove Suspicious Comments

Google Reviews Fake or Not? How to Spot, Remove Suspicious Comments
Customer reviews help establish your business' online presence. But they can also be harmful when fake reviews seek to tear down your business's reputation. Find out how you can spot and remove these suspicious comments on Google. Photo : henry perks/Unsplash

Customer reviews, paricularly on Google, are an indispensable tool when it comes to positioning your business, products or services to potential customers online. Businesses know this and a lot request for you to give their business andproducts a rating online to build their reputation and credibility.

When your potential customers want to learn more about your local business, they do so by looking it up online, and that's why it so important to present good ratings. A large number of strong reviews will give your brand an excellent leg up over your competitors who may not be rated as highly, per Evoluted.

And that is why in a lot of cases, not all customer reviews are written by customers. Some people write fake reviews to promote or even slander a brand, Hubspot explained.

How to Spot Fake Google Reviews

Reading fake reviews is not as uncommon as you might think. According to Hubspot, 82 percent of consumers have read a fake customer review in the last year.

The problem with Google, in particular, is that anyone can write a fake review that goes public instantly upon submission. And because Google is a third-party site and search engine, businesses who are harmed by these fake reviews can't take them down as easily. There's Google's reviewal process to appeal to first.

Here are ways you can spot a fake review on Google:

7. The details mentioned in the review

Fake reviews will often include details that have nothing to do with the complaint. Hubspot cited how fake hotel reviews often include more information about the family than the negative hotel experience. They will fabricate details that focus more on the personal story than a concrete review of the establishment or business.

6. The complexity of the words and the overall structure

One research noted that when fake reviewers are too busy creating a believable story, they typically will use simpler wording because they are too focused on being deceptive.

5. Repeated exclamation points

One MIT study said that deceptive reviews often contain more exclamation points than genuine ones because the fake reviewer thinks this will emphasize the negative emotions behind their feedback.

But if their actual interaction was negative, truthful reviews will focus on the actual negative moments than just typing the exclamation point five times.

Google Reviews Fake or Not? How to Spot, Remove Suspicious Comments
(Photo : Myriam Jessier/Unsplash)
Anyone can write a fake Google review that goes public instantly upon submission. Fake reviewers will often include details that have nothing to do with the complaint and they typically will use simpler wording because they are too focused on being deceptive.

4. Reviewer's profile

Google Reviews require an e-mail address. And so if the reviewer has a shady name and no avatar, it is likely they just wanted to create a fake account.

3. Reviews without comments

Negative reviews without comments for justification for the negative rating don't offer much to the customers or your business, and so they're worth investigating and flagging if you suspect they are fake.

2. Reviewer's other reviews

If the reviewer has made no other reviews or if their reviews seem to be biased to one particular business in the industry, that is quite suspicious.

1. Frequency of reviewer's comments

Check the review's "contribution points" and see how often the reviewer leaves reviews. If they are paid to write fake reviews, they might submit reviews in bulk instead of a more normal, spaced-out frequency.

Read Also: SEO for Small Businesses: 5 Free Online Tools to Improve Your Site's Google Ranking

How to Report and Remove Suspicious Google Reviews

If you have spotted a fake review and sent it for investigation, the reviewer has to write a convincing message that persuades others that they actually interacted with your business, Hubspot explained. This is great because it means they need to provide specific details as to why their experience was negative.

After spotting the fake review, you log in to Google My Business or make one and then access your company's reviews. Navigate to the Reviews tab in the lefthand menu and you can now see a list of all the reviews for your business.

Select the review you would like to flag and click the three stacked dots on the right corner of the review. Select the "flag as inappropriate" option.

Complete the follow-up survey telling Google why you think the review is inappropriate. You can't justify your response right off the bat, but if Google needs more information, they will follow up with an e-mail.

After filing the request, you should also respond to the review. Responding to reviews, fake or otherwise is still best practice so other customers can see you take the thoughts of your customers seriously.

Evoluted said if you do not recognize the customer and their complaint cannot be linked to your service, you can respond in a clear manner indicating that there's something not quite right with the review but your business cares regardless.

If they've left a rating with no comment, acknowledge those as well but also mention since they made no comment, you cannot offer any assistance or resolution to help address the negative experience.

Related Article: Amazon Reviews Fake or Not? Tools and 5 Tips to Spot Bogus Reviews

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