Google Won’t Remove Negative Reviews That are Constantly Updated
Joy Hawkins

There are lots of frustrating scenarios that I read regularly where small businesses are plagued by negative reviews on Google.  This one that I helped on the Google Business Profile forum caught my attention because I was really surprised that Google wouldn’t remove it.

This business owner has had a customer update his negative review several times over the last 2 years.  The users likely do this because newer reviews show up closer to the top of the list and are way more visible.  The business owner said this particular review has been updated at least 8 times over the past 2 years by just simply updating a single letter.

In my opinion, this type of behavior seems abusive and should be against Google’s terms of service. They tell users not to post simply to “manipulate a place’s ratings”.  I don’t see how this could possibly be classified as anything else.  Dealing with negative reviews is stressful enough without having to worry about one customer for several years.  Google, if you’re reading this, this is really disappointing, and you can do better.

In comparison with Google, Yelp does an excellent job of handling these type of niche situations. According to Luther Lowe, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at Yelp, their policy prohibits customers from adding content to a review without any additional information. He stated that:

Short answer is that reviews have to be based on new experiences, so you can’t constantly update to harp on the same thing. You can get away with maybe 1-2 that are “l kept trying to call to resolve or something like that and they were uncooperative,” but this wouldn’t fly over and over without substantially new information, and could end up with your account getting closed since we would likely warn you to stop after a couple times. The other factor I’d mention is that “most recent” isn’t the default sorting, so even if one does this it’s not necessarily going to get the visibility that Joy envisions.

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Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.