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The Horrible Google Reviews Survival Guide

As a dental provider, you have undoubtedly put a lot of time and attention into making sure your Google SEO is on point.

Don’t have a Google strategy in place? Contact Millionairium and get your dental practice noticed online.

After all, you’re vying for top Google billing against other dentists, cosmetic dentists, periodontists and orthodontics, all for the purposes of attracting high-quality patients.
What happens, then, when you look at your Google profile only to see one or more negative reviews?

The question you should be asking yourself is: Do Google reviews really matter?
You bet they do. Check out what Google user Samuel Wood tweeted just the other day:


Unfortunately, Wood’s views aren’t solely his own. 86% of Google users surveyed were influenced by negative reviews. In other words, negative Google reviews can hurt your business, sometimes in a very big way.

So what do you do when you get one or more bad Google reviews? Well, it all depends on the circumstances.

Incorrect or Defamatory Information

If the writer of the review meant to do your business harm or ridiculed you or an employee, you have two options, according to Google’s Legal Removal Requests page.

As the recipient of a defamatory review, you can:

  1. Reply to the review through a “Google My Business” account;
  2. Obtain a judgment from a court declaring that the statements made in the review were false. You will then present the court order to Google to get the URLs de-indexed from the search results.

Actually, the advice is the same if the person is being defamatory or not: always reply to the negative review and offer to make it right. That’s the low-cost option and the one more likely to get results. More on that in a moment.

But if you don’t get anywhere contacting the slanderous reviewer, court may be the more effective option. Google does state that it will remove reviews that represent personal attacks on other people, but you’ll probably still have to present a court order to get Google to take action.

If you know the identity of the author of the review, you can name the person as the defendant in a lawsuit or seek to resolve the issue with a settlement outside of the courts (usually, just asking the person to take the review down is enough).

If you do decide to sue, you can subpoena Google for the reviewer’s information that was entered in order to create the Google account that was used to leave the review.

If the reviewer opened an account just to leave that nasty review, there’s a good chance that the information entered was incorrect. Still, Google might be able to provide you with an IP address, which is often enough to identify the reviewer in question.

Other Negative Google Reviews

If the negative review isn’t defamatory, you can try to flag the review as being inappropriate. Here you’re hoping that Google will find a policy violation and remove the review from the search results. If no policy violation was made, however, the review will stick, and you’ll have to find other means of getting it taken care of.

Contact the Reviewer Directly

You may be tempted to contact the reviewer privately in an effort to get him or her to reverse position or remove the review entirely. But it’s far better to make your attempt to rectify the situation public for all to see – including potential new customers.

Making your response public allows people to read your side of the story. And it shows new customers that you care.

Tell the reviewer your company messed up, that you’ve learned from the experience, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to reverse their opinion about your business.

To please the customer, you might offer a free giveaway, generous discount or complete refund.

If your company gets a few bad reviews because of company misconduct or poor customer service, address those issues by rallying your team together and making the necessary adjustments. Negative reviews, when factual, can actually help to improve your business. In that way, they can be viewed as constructive instead of detrimental to your business, as long as you do your best to repair the damage before it gets any worse.

When responding to reviews, always be courteous, admit fault and lay out your side of the story clearly and concisely, without blaming the reviewer in any way. Whatever you do, never, ever threaten the reviewer. That’s almost worse than getting a negative review in the eyes of new customers.

Bury the Negative Review

The best case scenario is to put into action a reputation management campaign where you urge your satisfied customers to leave reviews of their own. If you get enough positive reviews, you can bury the negative review under a sea of new ones that show your business in a much better light. When that happens, few people will take the negative reviews seriously.

What About Other Platforms?

This advice doesn’t just pertain to Google reviews. If you get a bad review on Yelp or Yahoo or some other review site, you are encouraged to follow the same courses of action:

  1. Contact the platform directly to see if they can remove the review.
  2. Contact the reviewer by replying to the review. Offer to make the situation better. Trying to make things right can sometimes make all the difference in the world.
  3. Court is always an option if the above actions fail.
  4. Bury the negative review under as many positive reviews as you can generate.

No business is immune from the ever-destructive negative review, but getting one doesn’t have to be the end of the world. By taking action the moment a negative review hits Google or some other review site, you can mitigate the damage and move on while learning a thing or two about the experience.

Get your dental practice found on Google. Contact Millionairium today and tell us about your business goals.

The Horrible Google Reviews Survival Guide was last modified: July 18th, 2019 by Millionairium
  • Thank you for reading. I\’m glad you agree. Your clients are lucky to have you. Sadly, too many business owners get a negative review and it throws them into a tailspin. All it takes is a positive attitude to see the good in the review, despite how \”bad\” it may be. Keep up the good work with your clients!

  • Great article, Jason. We preach many if not all your points to our client base.

    \”In that way, they can be viewed as constructive instead of detrimental to your business, as long as you do your best to repair the damage before it gets any worse.\” – This is especially true, and we always encourage our clients to see the positive side of the situation.

    Most of the time, negative reviews can indeed be treated as a great learning curve for businesses to patch up holes in their processes and customer care.

    Big Vision Marketing 3 years ago