How to take down a Google My Business page - Red Points (2022)

In today’s social media age, there are two main ways people learn about new businesses and brands: via social media (i.e., when a business is mentioned/reviewed by those in their network) and via Google search.

Nowadays, a local business’s presence on Google search is highly dictated by its Google Business profile.

Your Google Business (previously Google My Business) profile can often be the first impression prospective customers may have about your brand, and this is why your Google Business can be a target for brand abuse attempts by scammers, cybercriminals, and even competitors.

In this post, we will discuss potential brand abuse issues that may affect your Google Business profile and what you can do about them.

Let us begin from the basics.

Google Business profile: Why is it important?

When consumers perform Google searches for local queries like “restaurants near me,” “gas station in NYC,” and so on, Google will display results from Google Maps on top of the organic search results.

Meaning, if you are a local business, you should put enough focus on your marketing efforts to ensure your Google Business listing is ranked highly on Google Maps results for your area.

We do it by performing a marketing initiative called local SEO or Google Maps SEO, which essentially focuses on four elements:

  1. Claiming and verifying a Google Business profile for your brand
  2. Optimize your Google Business profile by providing clear, comprehensive information, adding well-taken photos, and so on.
  3. Getting enough (positive) reviews on your Google Business listing, as well as on other relevant review sites/platforms
  4. Building local citations by listing your business on as many relevant online directories as possible

As you can see, your Google Business profile plays a huge role.

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It’s also worth mentioning that assuming you’ve successfully ranked pretty high on Google Maps results and gained some traction, when searchers click on these Google Maps results, they’ll then be directed to the business’s Google Business.

This is why cybercriminals and scammers often target your Google Business profile to hurt your brand reputation, as we will discuss in the next section.

Brand abuse attacks on Google Business profile

Cybercriminals and scammers can attack your Google Business Profile and Google Maps presence in three major ways:

  1. Claiming your Google Business profile before you can
  2. Creating fake Google Business profiles and spreading derogatory content about your brand
  3. Fake reviews (review bombing) on your Google Maps listing in an attempt to hurt your brand’s reputation and also disrupt your attempt to rank higher on Google

Fortunately, for each of these challenges, there are brand protection strategies and actions we can take in order to protect your Google Business profile and your overall brand reputation.

Scenario 1: Other people claimed your business profile first

What to do if someone else claimed your Google Business listing first?

If, in rare scenarios, the claimed Business Profile is already verified, then you’ll need to reach out to the current profile owner and request ownership (which can be time-consuming and costly.)

Fortunately, Google is pretty strict with the verification process of each Google Business profile, so when it’s possible someone else has claimed your listing, it’s unlikely it’s already verified.

If the profile is not yet verified, then you can simply request ownership of the Business profile to Google, which is fairly easy to do:

  • First, find the Business Profile you’d like to request ownership of. There are two basic options to do so:
    • Search for your business’s name on Google Search or Google Maps.
    • Go to business.google.com/add, then enter your business’s name and address. Choose the business profile from the search results
  • Once you’ve found the Business Profile you’d like to claim, click ‘Claim this business,’ then click ‘Continue’
  • If the profile is not yet verified, then the process should be over, however
    • If the profile has been verified, you’ll get a message saying that the listing has already been verified, and you’ll need to request access from the current owner
    • Click ‘Request access’ and fill out the form, then click ‘Submit.’
    • Doing this will send an email to the current profile owner that asks them to contact you. You’ll get a confirmation email.
    • Once you’ve requested ownership, the listing owner will have 7 days to respond. By signing into your Google Business account or clicking the link in your confirmation email, you can check the status of this request. You’ll have three possible scenarios:
      • The request is approved. You’ll be notified by email, and the Google Business profile is now yours.
      • The request is denied, you can contact Google and appeal the denied request by providing proof of ownership. You can privately contact Google here.
      • If you don’t get a response after 7 days, Google may provide the option for you to claim the listing yourself. You can simply sign in to your Google Business profile and look for the ‘Claim’ or ‘Verify’ button on the dashboard.

Scenario 2: Scammers requesting access to your Google Business profile: What can you do?

As you might have noticed, the above process of requesting Google Business ownership has a loophole: everyone can make the request, and the current profile owner will receive an email.

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The thing is, the profile owner who received the email must approve or reject the request since if they don’t respond, Google may allow the requester to claim the profile instead.

This can be an issue if you are currently the legitimate owner of a Google Business profile since malicious parties can (repeatedly) submit the ownership request, often with the assistance of automated bots.

Imagine the situation when you received multiple and even hundreds of these ownership requests and have to review and decline them one by one.

In these situations, there are two things you should do:

  1. Verify that the email is indeed from Google. Scammers may send a spoofed email claiming to be Google tricking you into submitting your login credentials and/or clicking a link. Double-check the email address before clicking on anything or downloading anything.
  2. If you persistently get these ownership requests (from different email addresses,) contact Google here. You may be directed to fill out a violation report. Make sure to describe the issue clearly and honestly so Google can help you with the situation.

Scenario 3: Dealing with fake Google Business profiles ompersonating your brand

While Google has been very active in combating fake Google Business profiles in recent years, cybercriminals are also getting more persistent, and there may be fake Google Business profiles impersonating your brand and posting derogatory content about your business.

What can you do about this?

The important thing to understand is that only Google can remove the fake profile/listing, and unfortunately, it’s up to Google’s discretion whether the fake profile will be removed or not.

What you can do, however, is to gather enough proof and report the fake profile to Google. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Go to Google Maps, then find the listing.
  2. Click on “Suggest an Edit” and choose “Close or remove.”
  3. Choose “Duplicate of another place,” then a pop-up will appear where you can select your legitimate Google Business listing (as the duplicate)
  4. Submit, then you’ll get a confirmation email from Google.

If your suggested edit is approved, you’ll receive another confirmation email from Google telling you that your edit has been accepted. Then, voila! Your job is done.

Yet, if the edit doesn’t get approved, you will not get any email, and you should manually check the status of your suggestion. Edit suggestion is first filtered by Google’s AI, and unfortunately, your edit suggestions may not go through. This is where the next option comes in: using the Business Redressal Form (https://support.google.com/business/contact/business_redressal_form)

Below is a step-by-step guide on how you can file your complaint through the Business Redressal Complaint Form:

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  1. Fill out your information:
    1. Full name: the full name registered on the email account you signed in with
    2. Contact email address: you can use a Gmail address or your work email. Make sure to submit a valid email address.
    3. Name of the entity or organization that is getting impacted: make sure to use your valid business name
  2. Provide information about the malicious content
    1. Identify the content on Google Maps that you claim might lead to fraudulent activity. You get several options depending on how the scammer abuses your brand:
      1. Title. Use this option if the scammer is using your business/brand/product name.
      2. Address. If the scammer is using your valid address, or if you notice the fake listing is using an address that doesn’t exist.
      3. Phone number. If the listing uses your phone number or fake numbers
      4. Website. If the listing uses your website in their listing or a fake website impersonating yours
    2. If there are multiple listings you’d like to report, you can use the “File upload” option and submit a spreadsheet with the links to each listing. Do not upload evidence like photos or folders here.
    3. Elaborate your case and explain in detail why you think the content is malicious:
      1. If possible, reference specific Google Business Profile Guidelines that apply to your case.
      2. Provide evidence. You can simply link a Google Drive Folder containing your evidence.
      3. You have 1000 characters, so use this chance to explain the issues as much as you can.

Scenario 4: Removing fake Google Maps reviews

As mentioned, reviews on Google Maps are extremely valuable today, not only because your prospective customers/clients will read them but also because they are important ranking factors for Google search and Google Maps: the more positive reviews you have on your Google Maps, the higher your business listing will be on the search rankings.

This creates a potential brand abuse situation: it’s very easy for everyone to leave reviews on your brand’s Google Maps (Google Business) listing. Meaning, that competitors and scammers can quite easily leave fake reviews in order to ruin your reputation and also your Google Maps ranking.

What can you do in such situations?

Here is a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Identify and validate fake reviews

You can’t remove fake Google reviews if you can’t recognize them and differentiate them from legitimate ones.

Just because reviews are negative doesn’t necessarily mean they are fake. They might come from legitimate customers with legitimate reasons.

Here are some traits you should look for:

  1. Unclear/non-existent reasons: be careful with this since it’s natural for us to be subjective with our own brands. Carefully assess each review whether the reasons behind their negative reviews are legitimate.
  2. Little to no details: a common red flag is when a review doesn’t provide much information. Most consumers with bad experiences tend to leave the information in detail, so a negative review with no additional details can be suspicious.
  3. Doesn’t come from legitimate customers: cross-reference the reviewer’s account to determine whether they are indeed your legitimate customers.

Step 2: Contact the reviewer

Before anything else, try reaching out to the negative reviewer.

In fact, make a habit of always responding to negative reviews. Not only can it help you in resolving the problem sooner, but customers are more likely to leave reviews on businesses that frequently responded to the previous reviews. (Again, remember you’ll need these reviews.)

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If you get a response, apologize for the experience, let them know you are unaware of the account they experienced, ask for more details, and try to find a resolution.

If you don’t get a response back from the negative reviewer, move on to the next step.

Step 3: Flag the review

Log in to your Google Business account, open the Review section, and find the fake review you’d like to report. Click on the three dots (menu) on the right side of the review, and flag it as inappropriate.

By now, you should be redirected to a new page where you can give more information. You should hear a response from Google within 72 hours.

Step 4: Contact Google and report the fake review

If you didn’t hear back from Google after 72 hours have passed, you can try reaching out to Google Business Support directly.

Conclusion

Investing in a brand protection software like Red Points can ensure potential infringements surrounding your Google Business and Google Maps listing, and ensure your brand reputation is protected around the clock.

How to take down a Google My Business page - Red Points (1)

FAQs

Can you remove a Google business listing? ›

Important: If you no longer want to manage a Business Profile, you can remove the profile. To delete a business group, you must be an owner of the account. Before you delete a business group, you need to transfer ownership for all locations or delete the Business Profiles for each location from the account.

Will deleting Google business account delete reviews? ›

Deleting your Google account will also not prevent bad reviews: Once it's been created, a business profile continues to appear in search results. By deleting your account you're only losing control over it. Your only chance, then, is to change or delete the unfavorable review.

How do I delete a duplicate Google business page? ›

How to Remove a Duplicate Google My Business Listing
  1. In your “Account Summary,” click “Duplicate Locations”.
  2. Click the location(s) you want to remove.
  3. Click “Delete This Listing.” If you're removing multiple locations, click on the three-dotted menu icon and choose the “Remove” option.
21 Jan 2022

How long does it take for Google to remove business? ›

How long does it take Google to change my listing information? Some changes to your Google My Business listing are automatic, while others, especially those that involve removing information, can take up to 60 days.

What to do if someone else claimed your Google My Business listing? ›

Request ownership of a Business Profile
  1. To find the Business Profile you want to request ownership of, use either of these methods: Go to business.google.com/add. ...
  2. Click Continue. You'll get a message that says someone else verified the profile. ...
  3. Click Request access and fill out the form.
  4. Click Submit.

Can any random person make changes to my Google My Business listing? ›

Question: Can random people really make changes to my Google My Business Listing? Answer: Yes. Even though it doesn't seem fair to most business owners, anyone can suggest a change or an edit to your business listing, including your competition.

Can you ask for Google reviews to be removed? ›

To ask Google to remove or delete an inappropriate review from your Business Profile, report the review. Google can remove reviews that violate Google's policies. Important: Before you ask to remove or delete a review, read our reviews policy.

How do I remove negative Google reviews? ›

How to Delete a Google Review
  1. Open Google Maps and locate your business.
  2. Find the review on the Google reviews page.
  3. Click the three vertical dots to the right of the review.
  4. Select the option Report Review.
  5. Choose an option for the question: What's wrong with this review?
  6. Report the Google review.
21 Sept 2021

How do I remove a fake review from Google my business? ›

How to ask for review removal
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Maps app .
  2. To open your Business Profile, at the top right, tap your profile picture or initial. Your Business Profile.
  3. Tap Reviews.
  4. Find the review you'd like to report. To flag a review: Tap More. Report review.

What happens if you delete your Google My Business page? ›

You won't be able to manage the business directly through Google Search or Maps, but the business may continue to show up on Google. Important: The removal of a Business Profile is permanent and affects all the profile's owners and managers. To manage the profile again, it must be reverified.

How do I get rid of duplicate? ›

Delete duplicate files
  1. On your Android device, open Files by Google .
  2. At the bottom, tap Clean .
  3. On the “Duplicate files” card, tap Select files.
  4. Select the files you want to delete.
  5. At the bottom, tap Delete .
  6. On the confirmation dialog, tap Delete .

Why is my business marked as duplicate? ›

It looks like you've attempted to add a business which is already verified on Google. The current owner can add you as a manager or transfer ownership to you. You may also be able to do this yourself if you have access to the account which manages the business on Google.

How many reports does it take to take down a Google review? ›

It only takes 1 flag to remove a Google review as long as you give Google enough evidence that the review violates Google's policies. Google removes reviews based on whether they violate policy, not based on the number of times a review gets flagged as inappropriate.

How does a business get flagged on Google? ›

Common reasons your GMB listing can get suspended include the following: Mistakes or variations of your business name appear online. Multiple businesses claim to operate from your address. Recent changes to your address, categories, name, website, or phone number have appeared on your listing.

How do I contact Google to remove a listing? ›

Steps to Delete a Google My Business Listing

Sign in to Google My Business. On the account, you want to delete, click the three-dot menu icon, and click Delete. Click OK to continue. You may need to sign in to your GMB account again.

Can you report Google business listing? ›

To report a listing, locate and select the business listing in Google Maps. Click or tap the “Suggest an Edit” button. Select “Remove this place” to tell Google the listing should be removed from Google Maps. If you're not signed into a Google account, you'll be prompted to log in before you continue.

Can you see who is looking at your business on Google? ›

Owners and managers can check how often their profile's been viewed through their Business Profile on Google Maps. You can use profile view insights to track how popular your business is with current and potential customers.

Do businesses get notified of Google review edits? ›

Does the owner or business get a notification if you write, edit, or delete your Google review? Yes, they do.

Can you leave an anonymous review on Google for a business? ›

You can't submit an anonymous review. Google asks every customer/user to sign in with their Google accounts before they have the option to leave a review. Businesses cant' delete the bad reviews by themselves. But in case of a fake review, the business can report.

Can you pay to remove Google reviews? ›

Unfortunately, this is not possible. Major review platforms, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google, pride themselves on providing honest reviews, so they do not offer any services where you can pay to have them removed.

Can you ban someone from leaving a Google review? ›

Hello Marketing Unicode, You can't block a user but you can report to google by Flag as inappropriate the review, if you think the review doesn't comply with Google's review policies. You can't contact someone who left an inappropriate review, but you can request that Google remove it.

How long before Google removes a review? ›

The review process can take a few business days, so be patient. If Google finds that the review violates their policies, the review will be deleted within three days. If you don't have any luck on the first attempt, you can escalate the issue and contact Google My Business directly.

How do I report a fake positive Google review? ›

If you suspect that a competitor is using fake reviews to bolster its review profile, you can make a report by flagging the review in the search results. Simply navigate to the fake review, click the three dots at the side, and then click on 'Report Review'. Google might then consider removing it.

Does removing a page from business manager delete it? ›

If you permanently delete it, all assets (ad accounts, Pages, and product catalogs) will be removed from your business. You'll continue to have admin rights to all assets associated with this business through your Facebook account. You'll lose access to assets granted to you by other businesses.

Is there a program to remove duplicates? ›

AllDup is a freeware tool for searching and removing file duplicates on your Windows computer. The fast search algorithm find duplicates of any file type, e.g., text, pictures, music or movies.

Where is the Remove Duplicates button? ›

Go to the Data tab > Data Tools group, and click the Remove Duplicates button. The Remove Duplicates dialog box will open, you select the columns to check for duplicates, and click OK.

Which keywords is used to remove duplicate? ›

The DISTINCT keyword eliminates duplicate rows from a result.

How do I contact Google business customer service? ›

Other Customer Service options

- Customer Care number toll free at: 1-800-419-0157.

How do I stop duplicating efforts? ›

Communication is the first step in preventing duplication of work. Duplication of work happens due to the lack of communication among cross-functional teams. In our previous example, if there was a proper line of communication between marketing and product teams, they could have collaborated and researched together.

How do I merge duplicates in Google My Business listing? ›

To merge Google listings, start by making sure the duplicate listings match your listing's address exactly. If the addresses match, you can contact Google and request that they merge the two listings using this form.

What happens when you report someone's Google review? ›

The review will be sent to Google for further investigation if you report a Google review. If the review is found to violate Google's policies, it will be removed from your business listing. However, if the review is not in violation of any policies, it will remain on your listing.

What happens if I delete my Google my business account? ›

You won't be able to manage the business directly through Google Search or Maps, but the business may continue to show up on Google. Important: The removal of a Business Profile is permanent and affects all the profile's owners and managers. To manage the profile again, it must be reverified.

Why did my Google business review disappear? ›

Find why a review is missing

In most cases, missing reviews were removed for policy violations like spam or inappropriate content. We do not reinstate reviews that were removed for policy violations. These removal measures help make sure that reviews on Google properties are relevant, helpful, and trustworthy.

Does Google delete reviews from new accounts? ›

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.

Do you need a Google account to leave a review on Google My Business? ›

Google reviews provide useful information and help your business stand out. Reviews show up next to your Business Profile in Maps and Search. Tip: Your customers don't need a Gmail address to leave a review if they sign in to their Google Account.

What happens if you remove a page from a business account? ›

Deleting your Page means nobody will be able to see or find it. You have 14 days to restore the Page in case you change your mind. After that, you'll be asked to confirm if you'd like to delete it permanently. Keep in mind that if you delete the Page permanently, you lose its content and data forever.

Can a business find out who left a Google review? ›

Can an Anonymous Google Review be traced? Yes, if you leave an anonymous Google review your IP address can be traced. Google sees your IP address whenever you post a review, even if you hide your name when you do so.

What happens when you report a Google review? ›

The review will be sent to Google for further investigation if you report a Google review. If the review is found to violate Google's policies, it will be removed from your business listing. However, if the review is not in violation of any policies, it will remain on your listing.

Can a business leave a Google review? ›

To respond to a review, you must have a verified business. Remind customers to leave reviews: Let them know it's quick and easy to leave reviews. Business owners shouldn't offer incentives to customers to leave reviews. You can also get customers to leave reviews if you create and share a link.

How many reports does it take to delete a Google review? ›

It only takes 1 flag to remove a Google review as long as you give Google enough evidence that the review violates Google's policies. Google removes reviews based on whether they violate policy, not based on the number of times a review gets flagged as inappropriate.

Can you remove your own Google reviews? ›

Edit or delete your review
  • On your computer, open Google Maps.
  • At the top left, click Menu .
  • Click Your contributions. Reviews.
  • Next to the review you want to edit or delete, click More .
  • Select Edit review or Delete review and follow the on-screen steps.

How long does it take for Google to remove reviews? ›

The review process can take a few business days, so be patient. If Google finds that the review violates their policies, the review will be deleted within three days. If you don't have any luck on the first attempt, you can escalate the issue and contact Google My Business directly.

What happens if you get too many Google reviews at once? ›

Does Google Remove Reviews? Yes, Google does sometimes remove reviews, though it's not very often. Unlike Yelp, Google quickly realized that removing too many reviews might alienate their users and discourage them from posting new reviews.

Can businesses pay to remove Google reviews? ›

Unfortunately, this is not possible. Major review platforms, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google, pride themselves on providing honest reviews, so they do not offer any services where you can pay to have them removed.

What happens if you review your own business on Google? ›

The problem is that when you leave a review for your own business, Google will flag it as spam. And if they think just one of your reviews is fake, then your other reviews are at risk of being flagged as well!

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