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One of the most popular ways to grow your law firm’s online presence is to collect positive reviews on the legal services you have provided to clients. Good reviews convey to clients that your law firm is reputable and trustworthy. Unfortunately, not every review is going to be positive. While there are ways to handle legitimate negative reviews, what about the bad reviews that are not valid? If you are in charge of your law firm’s online reputation, it is essential to understand what you need to do to get a Google review removed. The process can seem complex. Fortunately, Law Quill stays up to date on Google’s policies and SEO best practices. Keep reading to learn more about Google reviews.
Why Are Google Reviews Important?
When it comes to building your law firm’s online reputation, Google reviews play a significant role. Obtaining positive reviews is one of the best ways to build credibility without spending money. They can also increase your online exposure and boost your local SEO performance. Note that you may be limited in the actions you can take to request reviews depending on your State Bar.
Reviews can also provide insight into the services you offer clients and what you can do to make improvements. Even a positive review can inform the decisions to make in the future. For example, you may choose to continue offering a new service if it was well-received by a client. If you receive legitimate negative reviews, you can look for ways to address those issues to ensure you provide high-quality service for all clients moving forward.
Understanding the Impact of “Good” and “Bad” Reviews
Positive and negative reviews on your Google Business Profile impact how potential clients perceive your law firm. While positive reviews convey knowledge and experience, even a single negative review could discourage a potential client from reaching out. Garnering positive reviews is its own distinct process that involves unique strategies. Bad reviews, however, are a different story.
Negative reviews on your Business Profile can have a significant impact on your law firm’s online presence and reputation. Unfortunately, there is no way to please every single client. If you receive a warranted negative review, take the time to respond politely and professionally while offering some sort of solution. Hopefully, the client will reach out to you and consider changing their review. Responding to valid negative reviews also shows that you care about your clients and practice and strive to provide the best service possible.
If, however, you receive a negative review that is unwarranted or fraudulent, Google allows you to submit a request to have said review removed. In order to have a review removed, it needs to meet specific parameters.
Violations that Allow Law Firms to Remove Reviews
Removing a Google review can be a complex process. Google has guidelines in place to make it simpler to determine if you have a review that is eligible for removal. The most common violations that allow law firms to remove reviews from their Google business profile include the following:
Spam is the most common violation that allows law firms to remove reviews. While most local search directories have filters that attempt to mitigate fake reviews, there are those that slip through the cracks. Signs of spam include generic reviews, strange or inappropriate usernames, and non-human avatars. Note that Google’s automated spam detection is not perfect, which means that legitimate reviews could be inadvertently removed.
Multiple Reviews From the Same Person
In some instances, one person may attempt to leave multiple reviews for your law firm by using different Google accounts. They may ask friends for account access, or they may simply create various fake accounts. If you notice something like this occurring, flag the reviews for removal as soon as possible. Google will take the necessary actions to remove the reviews, and it may deactivate the fraudulent accounts.
Google has strict guidelines on what they allow reviewers to post. Any use of inappropriate content, which may include profanity, hate speech, harassment, explicit content, or other types of offensive content, offers grounds for removal. In some instances, you may not have to submit a removal request. Google will recognize the issue and remove it automatically.
Fraudulent Competitor Reviews
It is no secret that the legal industry is highly competitive. Sometimes, struggling businesses take drastic measures in an attempt to improve their image or discredit someone else’s. In terms of law firms, this is most likely to occur at the local search level. A telltale sign that a competitor has left you a fraudulent review is if multiple law firms in your area receive negative reviews around the same time.
Review for a Different Law Firm
In some instances, a person may google the law firm they think they worked with and accidentally leave a review for your website. If that occurs, it is often easy for you to identify the mixup, as the review may be unrelated to the services you offer, or it may discuss individuals who are not employed by your law firm.
If you have multiple law firm offices, it is crucial that your client leave reviews for the correct location. If someone received services at one office but left a review for another, you have the right to ask Google to remove the incorrect review.
Reviews From Employees
No matter the context of the review and whether it is positive or negative, current or former employees are not allowed to leave reviews for their employers. Per Google, doing so violates Google’s “Conflict of Interest” policy. Note that your employees are also not allowed to post reviews on competitors.
If your law firm recently made headlines for a significant case outcome, you may begin to receive reviews from people who have opinions on the court’s decision. If someone leaves you a review but never sought your services, you can request that the review be removed on the basis of irrelevancy.
People have the option of submitting photos along with their reviews – think pictures of food from a restaurant or work completed by a construction company. While image reviews are not typical for law firms, they do happen. If a user posts a review with an image that does not meet Google’s guidelines and is considered inappropriate, the owner or manager of the business can request the review be removed.
How to Get a Google Review Removed
It can be incredibly frustrating to receive negative reviews – mainly when they are unwarranted or downright false. If you believe you have grounds to request a review removal, Google offers a relatively straightforward process for doing so. Prior to requesting the removal of a review from your Business Profile, make sure to review Google’s most recent reviews policy to ensure that your request is valid. In terms of asking for review removal, you have three options:
- Flag a review in Google Maps. Open Google Maps and find your Business Profile. Locate the review you want to report, click “More” and “Flag as inappropriate.”
- Flag a review in Google Search. On Google’s homepage, find your Business Profile. From there, click on “Google Reviews” and find the review you want to report. Click “More,” “Report review,” and select the type of violation you wish to report.
- Flag a review in your account. Sign in to manage your Business Profile. From there, choose the review you want to report. Depending on your law firm’s setup, you may select reviews for a single business or multiple businesses. Once you have located the review you wish to flag, click “More” and “Flag as inappropriate.”
Note that once you do submit your removal request, it can take several days for Google to assess the review and make a determination. If Google removes the review, you can simply move forward. If, however, Google determines that the review does not meet removal criteria, it is best to respond to the review as mentioned above. Failing to take any action can make it seem like you are not concerned about your clients or their experience.
How Law Quill Can Help Improve Your Reputation
Once you know how to get a Google review removed, you should be able to manage your reputation through your Business Profile more efficiently. However, reputation management does not stop there. If you are looking to improve your law firm’s reputation and improve brand awareness and online visibility, Law Quill is here to help. We can evaluate your law firm’s current status and help you construct a plan that helps you meet your digital marketing goals.
We are here to help and welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your law firm website’s content and how we can take these tasks off your plate! Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a quick phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.