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How To Delete Google Reviews (And When You Should)

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How To Delete Google Reviews (And When You Should)

Consider the last time you searched for an Italian food restaurant in a new city.

You’re unfamiliar with the area and don’t have any personal recommendations to rely on.

You likely open your phone, conduct a Google search for [italian food near me] and find several restaurants.

Do you choose the first restaurant that pops up?

The answer to this is probably no.

Instead, you will most likely look up customer reviews and select the restaurant where patrons have had a positive experience.

And, you’re in good company.

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For local businesses, 98% of consumers read online reviews.

Additionally, 81% of consumers turn to Google as their business review platform of choice to solidify their purchasing decisions.

While customers can control the content they post in their reviews, businesses, unfortunately, cannot.

Good reviews are not a guarantee, and even if your business provides superior customer service, one unhappy customer may lead to a negative review.

However, businesses must monitor their Google reviews consistently and ensure spammy reviews get deleted as soon as possible.

In this post, we’ll cover when or if you should delete Google reviews, what to do if you can’t delete poor reviews, and the steps your business must take to flag a review for removal.

When Should You Delete A Google Review?

Not every negative review your business receives is eligible for removal.

If a customer genuinely had a poor experience with your business and voices this opinion in the form of a review, you can’t ask Google to remove this review.

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Instead, Google will only remove a review if it violates Google’s policies.

Luckily for businesses, Google takes its review removal process seriously, and there are quite a few types of content it deems inappropriate.

Here are a few types of reviews that qualify for deletion.

Civil Discourse

Google states,

“We don’t allow users to post content to harass other people or businesses, or encourage others to participate in harassment.”

It also does not tolerate hate speech or offensive content in a review.

Offensive content may include “content that is clearly and deliberately provocative.”

Google will also delete reviews containing personal information – such as credit card details, medical records, and more.

Deceptive Content

It is considered deceptive if the content is not based on a real experience or does not accurately represent your location or product.

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Google shares that content with impersonation, misinformation, misrepresentation, or fake engagement can also be considered deceptive.

Mature Content

Google will remove any explicit content that uses profanity, is sexually explicit, uses adult themes, or includes violence or gore that constitutes mature derogatory content.

Regulated, Dangerous, And Illegal

Content with calls to action to products or services that may face local legal restrictions or content that promotes dangerous activities are eligible for removal by Google.

This also includes inappropriate content that is not safe for a child to view.

Information Quality

As stated previously, Google’s content policy states that review content should be “based on your experience or questions about experiences at a specific location.”

It does not allow content that is political in nature, a general rant, information related to COVID-19, and more.

Advertising a product, service, or a particular business in a review is also not allowed.

In short, if your business receives bad reviews, this isn’t necessarily grounds for removal.

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Instead, your online reviews must include one of the factors above to submit a request for removal.

If your review content includes any of the above, it is warranted and recommended to ask Google to remove the review.

What Is A Google Review?

It may seem straightforward. However, with the countless online review directories available, it’s best to clarify what is considered a Google review.

A Google review helps your business highlight what customers think of your brand and what prospective customers can expect.

These reviews appear on your Google Business Profile in Search and Maps.

Google reviews use a star rating system, where customers can leave between one to five-star reviews.

A five-star review means a customer was highly pleased with their experience with your brand.

Conversely, a one-star rating means a customer had a negative experience with your business.

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To view reviews on a Google Business Profile, click on the business’ star rating or the blue hyperlink with the number of reviews the business has received.

Screenshot from search for [italian food near me], Google, July 2021

You’ll then see a breakdown of the number of ratings per star, and top keywords used in reviews, followed by all the reviews left for that location.

You can sort reviews by most relevant, newest, highest rating, and lowest rating.

Google review exampleScreenshot from Google, July 2021

Can You Delete A Google Review On Your Own?

Google doesn’t enable businesses to delete reviews on their Google Business Profile.

This helps prevent businesses from deleting poor reviews due to bad experiences.

To have a review removed, the person who wrote the review can delete the review, or a business can ask Google to remove an inappropriate review.

Businesses can report a review for removal through Google Maps or Google Search.

Here are the steps to take for both.

How To Flag A Review On Google Maps

  • Open Google Maps on your computer.
  • Find your Google Business Profile.
  • Find the review you’d like to flag.
  • Click more, flag as inappropriate.

How To Flag A Review In Google Search

  • On your computer, go to Google.
  • Find your Google Business Profile.
  • Click Google Reviews.
  • Find the review you’d like to flag.
  • Click more, report review. Then select the type of violation you want to report.

How To Flag A Review In Your Account

  • On your computer, sign in to manage your Google Business Profile.
  • Choose the review you’d like to report.
  • For a single business: Open the Google Business Profile you’d like to manage. On the left, in the menu, click Reviews.
  • For multiple businesses: On the left menu, click Manage reviews. Then use the drop-down menu to choose a location group.
  • On the review you’d like to flag, click more, flag as inappropriate.
    How To Delete Google Reviews from your accountScreenshot from Google Business Profile, May 2022

Google also takes its own review precautions.

It will automatically detect a spam or fake review and remove those reviews on its own.

Google notes,

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“These measures help improve people’s experiences on Google and ensure the reviews they see are authentic, relevant, and useful.”

Once you have flagged a post for removal on your Google Business Profile, Google notes it can take several days to remove the review.

For hotel brands, it’s also worth mentioning you can’t flag third-party hotel reviews, even if policy violations are made in the context of the review.

What Should I Do While I Wait For Google To Remove A Review?

Whether your business receives positive or negative feedback, your customer service team must respond to all reviews.

Responding to reviews shows others you care about your customers’ experiences and want to provide the best experience possible.

Develop a thoughtful response for every review you receive, especially negative customer reviews where you have the opportunity to reshape a customer’s perception of your business, and respond as soon as possible.

This applies even with spam reviews while you wait for Google to remove them.

Conclusion

Your Google Business Profile is the digital storefront of your business location.

It also serves as an opportunity to share insight from your customers directly through reviews.

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However, you want legitimate reviews to appear on your profile.

Therefore you can (and should) flag any reviews that violate Google’s review policies to maintain an overall strong review profile.

Take action on reviews that meet the above criteria to remove these reviews from appearing on Google Maps and Search when a prospective customer searches for your brand.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Irina Shatilova/Shutterstock

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SEO

8 Pillar Page Examples to Get Inspired By

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8 Pillar Page Examples to Get Inspired By

Pillar pages are high-level introductions to a topic. They then link to other pages, which are usually more detailed guides about parts of the main topic.

Altogether, they form a content hub.

Example of a content hub

But not all pillar pages look the same. 

In this guide, we’ll look at eight examples of pillar pages to get your creative juices flowing.

Excerpt of beginner's guide to SEO by Ahrefs

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 1,200
Backlinks: 6,900
Referring domains: 899

Overview of Ahrefs' beginner's guide to SEO in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This is our very own pillar page, covering the broad topic of search engine optimization (SEO)

Why I like it

Besides the fact that I’m biased, I like the custom design we created for this page, which makes it different from the articles on our blog. 

Even though the design is custom, our pillar page is still a pretty classic “hub and spoke” style pillar page. We’ve broken the topic down neatly into six different chapters and internally linked to guides we’ve created about them. There are also custom animations when you hover over each chapter:

Examples of chapters in the SEO guide

We’ve also added a glossary section that comes with a custom illustration of the SERPs. We have explanations of what each element means, with internal links to more detailed content:

Custom illustration of the SERP

Finally, it links to another “pillar page”: our SEO glossary

Takeaway

Consider creating a custom design for your pillar page so that it stands out. 

Excerpt of Doctor Diet's ketogenic diet guide

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 92,200
Backlinks: 21,600
Referring domains: 1,700

Overview of Diet Doctor's ketogenic diet guide in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Diet Doctor is a health company focusing on low-carb diets. Its pillar page is a comprehensive guide on the keto diet. 

Why I like it

On the surface, it doesn’t exactly look like a pillar page; it looks like every other post on the Diet Doctor site. But that’s perfectly fine. It’s simply a different approach—you don’t have to call out the fact that it’s a pillar page. 

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Diet Doctor’s guide is split into 10 different sections with links to its own resources. The links bring you to different types of content (not just blog posts but videos too).

Video course about keto diet for beginners

Unlike the classic pillar page, Diet Doctor’s guide goes into enough detail for anyone who is casually researching the keto diet. But it also links to further resources for anyone who’s interested in doing additional research.

Takeaway

Pillar pages need not always just be text and links. Make it multimedia: You can add videos and images and even link to your own multimedia resources (e.g., a video course).

Excerpt of Wine Folly's beginner's guide to wine

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 5,600
Backlinks: 2,800
Referring domains: 247

Overview of Wine Folly's beginner's guide to wine in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Wine Folly is a content site devoted to wine knowledge and appreciation. Its pillar page, as expected, is about wine. 

Why I like it

Wine Folly’s pillar page is a classic example of a “hub and spoke” style pillar page—split into multiple sections, with some supporting text, and then internal links to other resources that support each subsection. 

Supporting text and links to other resources

This page doesn’t just serve as a pillar page for ranking purposes, though. Given that it ranks well and receives quite a significant amount of search traffic, the page also has a call to action (CTA) to Wine Folly’s book:

Short description of book; below that, CTA encouraging site visitor to purchase it

Takeaway

While most websites design pillar pages for ranking, you can also use them for other purposes: capture email addresses, sell a book, pitch your product, etc. 

Excerpt of A-Z directory of yoga poses

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 11,100
Backlinks: 3,400
Referring domains: 457

Overview of Yoga Journal's A-Z directory of yoga poses in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Yoga Journal is an online and offline magazine. Its pillar page is an A-Z directory of yoga poses.

Why I like it

Yoga Journal’s pillar page is straightforward and simple. List down all possible yoga poses (in both their English and Sanskrit names) in a table form and link to them. 

List of yoga poses in table form

Since it’s listed in alphabetical order, it’s useful for anyone who knows the name of a particular pose and is interested in learning more. 

What I also like is that Yoga Journal has added an extra column on the type of pose each yoga pose belongs to. If we click on any of the pose types, we’re directed to a category page where you can find similar kinds of poses: 

Examples of standing yoga poses (in grid format)

Takeaway

The A-Z format can be a good format for your pillar page if the broad topic you’re targeting fits the style (e.g., dance moves, freestyle football tricks, etc.).

Excerpt of Atlassian's guide to agile development

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 115,200
Backlinks: 3,200
Referring domains: 860

Overview of Atlassian's guide to agile development in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Atlassian is a software company. You’ve probably heard of its products: Jira, Confluence, Trello, etc. Its pillar page is on agile development.

Why I like it

Atlassian’s pillar page is split into different topics related to agile development. It then has internal links to each topic—both as a sticky table of contents and card-style widgets after the introduction: 

Sticky table of contents
Card-style widgets

I also like the “Up next” feature at the bottom of the pillar page, which makes it seem like an online book rather than a page. 

Example of "Up next" feature

Takeaway

Consider adding a table of contents to your pillar page. 

Excerpt of Muscle and Strength's workout routines database

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 114,400
Backlinks: 2,900
Referring domains: 592

Overview of Muscle and Strength's workout routines database in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Muscle and Strength’s pillar page is a massive database linking to various categories of workouts. 

Why I like it

Calling it a pillar page seems to be an understatement. Muscle and Strength’s free workouts page appears to be more like a website. 

When you open the page, you’ll see that it’s neatly split into multiple categories, such as “workouts for men,” “workouts for women,” “biceps,” “abs,” etc. 

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Workout categories (in grid format)

Clicking through to any of them leads us to a category page containing all sorts of workouts:

Types of workouts for men (in grid format)

Compared to the other pillar pages on this list, where they’re linking to other subpages, Muscle and Strength’s pillar page links to other category pages, which then link to their subpages, i.e., its massive archive of free workouts.

Takeaway

Content databases, such as the one above, are a huge undertaking for a pillar page but can be worth it if the broad topic you’re targeting fits a format like this. Ideally, the topic should be about something where the content for it is ever-growing (e.g., workout plans, recipes, email templates, etc.).

Excerpt of Tofugu's guide to learning Japanese

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 39,100
Backlinks: 1,100
Referring domains: 308

Overview of Tofugu's guide to learning Japanese in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Tofugu is a site about learning Japanese. And its pillar page is about, well, learning Japanese.

Why I like it

This is an incredible (and yes, ridiculously good) guide to learning Japanese from scratch. It covers every stage you’ll go through as a complete beginner—from knowing no Japanese to having intermediate proficiency in the language. 

Unlike other pillar pages where information is usually scarce and simply links out to further resources, this page holds nothing back. Under each section, there is great detail about what that section is, why it’s important, how it works, and even an estimated time of how long that stage takes to complete. 

Another interesting aspect is how Tofugu has structured its internal links as active CTAs. Rather than “Learn more” or “Read more,” it’s all about encouraging users to do a task and completing that stage. 

CTA encouraging user to head to the next task of learning to read hiragana

Takeaway

Two takeaways here:

  • Pillar pages can be ridiculously comprehensive. It depends on the topic you’re targeting and how competitive it is.
  • CTAs can be more exciting than merely just “Read more.”
Excerpt of Zapier's guide to working remotely

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 890
Backlinks: 4,100
Referring domains: 1,100

Overview of Zapier's guide to working remotely in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Zapier allows users to connect multiple software products together via “zaps.” It’s a 100% remote company, and its pillar page is about remote work. 

Why I like it

Zapier’s pillar page is basically like Wine Folly’s pillar page. Break a topic into subsections, add a couple of links of text, and then add internal links to further resources. 

In the examples above, we’ve seen all sorts of execution for pillar pages. There are those with custom designs and others that are crazily comprehensive.

But sometimes, all a pillar page needs is a simple design with links. 

Takeaway

If you already have a bunch of existing content on your website, you can create a simple pillar page like this to organize your content for your readers. 

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Keep learning

Inspired by these examples and want to create your own pillar page? Learn how to successfully do so with these two guides:

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter.  



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