How to Deal with Fake Bad Google Reviews

Reputation Management for Lawyers

One Star Fake Google Reviews for Law Firms – It Happens!

Getting Google Reviews is a KEY part of your online lawyer SEO strategy these days.   Sometimes you will get a bad 1 or two star review and thats just how it goes, you cant please everyone and some people will just use the review system to take out their frustrations with a possible bad outcome of their case.   YET you must monitor your reviews for possible FAKE reviews.     You should know anytime you get a new review, then its a good idea to read it and possibly respond to it.


Yep. No doubt about it and usually this will be about people who decide to hire other people to leave fake GOOD 5 star reviews.  Yet those same people might also decide that getting a 5 star review for them is good, but how about trying to sabotage a competitor with some FAKE one star reviews?  It can happen and Ive seen it a few times now where a law firm all of a sudden will get a one star review that looks SUSPECT.

Receiving a fake review on your Google My Business profile is not a rare occurrence. In fact, it is quite common and something many businesses have experienced. Both Yelp and Amazon have sued fake review posters and in New York the State Attorney General took action against 19 NY based companies involved in fake reviews back in 2013. Legal action hasn’t stopped or prevented fake reviews from continuing to be published, nor has paying huge fines, but that doesn’t mean as a legal business owner there is no way to fight back.

How Can You Spot Fake Reviews?

Well usually its obvious if its a review from someone you dont recognize and not the name of any past clients.  Also if they dont leave an actual review and just leave a 1 star review with no content, thats a possible sign it might be fake.    Google has a set of guidelines for reviews and if someone breaks them, then its possible to get review removed.

Trying to have a fake or spammy Google review removed can sometimes feel as frustrating as receiving the review, however; it is still important to make attempts to have the review removed, even though there is no guarantee that Google will take it down.


#1- Respond to the Review from your Google My Business account

While you may not be able to have the review removed, you do have the ability to respond. Yes, if the review is indeed fake you will not be able to actually resolve the problem for this person, however; you can make it clear to other customers and prospective customers that you are aware of the review, you take what reviewers say seriously, and that as a business you are dedicated to remedying situations “like this.”

Just as there are guidelines for leaving a review, Google has some tips for responding. Your response should not be defensive, keep it brief, and do your best to respond as you would for a negative review.

#2 – Flag the Review

You can notify the team at Google regarding a violation of their review policy by flagging the specific review.

1. Hover over the review in question and a flag icon will appear.

2. Click the Flag icon and you will be taken to the Report a policy violation page.

3.  Enter your company E-mail address and select the Violation Type

Then you’re done. You will only hear from a team member if they require additional details from you or if they have information to share with you.

When flagging a review:

A) If you can, have several people flag the review in question. There is power in numbers and it’s possible it may help increase awareness and ideally action.

B) Once a review is flagged try to wait a couple of days for a response or ideally for it to be removed, however; if the review is loaded with hate-speech, profanity, and/or has highly sensitive content, I would say escalate it immediately. Flag and report, then immediately contact a Google support team member.

#3- Report the Review to Google Small Business Support

If the fake review has not been removed using the flagging method, get in touch with a support associate. You can do this through:

1. The Google My Business Dashboard

  • Log into your GMB page.

  • Go to the Reviews section.

  • Click on the home menu and select Support.

  • Choose a method of Contact – Phone or Email.

  • Fill in the necessary contact parameters, Add a screenshot of the review in question, and wait patiently (you should hear back within 24-48 Hours).

#4 – Tweet the Small Business Support Team via Twitter

The small business team is knowledgeable and also takes around 24 – 48 hours to get in touch with you (no guarantee though).

  • Sign in to Twitter.

  • Send a Tweet from your company account to the Google Small Biz team.

  • Once you hear back from someone, explain the situation and go from there.


Make Your Case

Okay, so you have finally got in touch with a Google associate from the small business support team, now what? Well, you have to make a case and do your best to show

  • why the review is false,

  • how it violates their policies,

  • why it should be removed,

  • any images, links, or other details that backup your claim.

After you report it to a support associate and make your case, they will advise you of whether or not they will escalate the review(s) to a “specialist,” this specialist makes the determines the outcome. Once a decision has been made you will receive a phone call or email confirmation from the small business support associate who was helping you.


Do you need help with getting more Google reviews?  Do you need help in getting a fake review removed? We can assist your law firm with setting up a Lawyer Review Strategy for not only Google reviews, but also Avvo, Facebook, Yelp and other review sites.    Call us at 630-393-0460 for more information.