The Right Way to Handle Bad Online Reviews

The Right Way to Handle Bad Online Reviews
Google Local – Bad Business Reviews

No matter how dedicated you are to customer service, there will be a time that you end up dealing with a customer that just cannot be satisfied.  Often, these customers will take to the internet to even up the score and you are left with a bad review that may rank first in Google search results.

If you let that review sit there, it is only going to harm your company’s reputation.  No company is perfect, but when a consumer sees that bad review, they are not going to be thinking about your side.  You need to be proactive in handling this situation so that your business is not adversely affected.

The first thing that you need to do before addressing the search results is do what you can to make the situation right with your customer.  Document everything you do and keep a record of all communication.  Remember, it is vital to be professional and ingratiating!  If you cannot solve the issue, at the very least, you will have the proof at your disposal that you tried.

Now, let’s move on to fixing that review.  While many of us would love to be able to write Google and ask them to remove that nasty review, the chances of this happening are very slim.  They have a no intervention policy in place, and it will be up to you to handle the issue on your own.

The first step you need to take is to bury that bad review with good reviews.  This will move it further down in the ranking and provide potential customers with a more balanced view of your site.  This is the easiest step that you can take, and will have the best results.

Please keep in mind that for local results, Google frequently harvests data from several review sites such as,, and many others.  It is vital to monitor the review sites that carry your listing to see what reviews have been posted.  You will need to address the bad reviews on each one to get the best results.

While Google does provide you with the ability to flag a review posted from an individual directly to Google, this should not be abused.  You can certainly flag a bad review that uses incendiary language, but it is not recommended to use this feature to make a bad review disappear.

For these on-site Google reviews, you have the option of handling bad reviews in a very positive way.  Google allows anyone to leave a review, so you can utilize this to your best advantage with a little creativity.

Now, let’s focus on a few more ways that you can ensure that bad reviews will not be posted for your company.

Go Above and Beyond – Treat every single customer you have as though they are your only customer.  Handle all communications with respect and make sure that you are doing everything in your power to keep them happy.  This benefits your company in more ways than one.

Ask Happy Customers for Feedback – If you have a customer that is beside themselves with glee over your service, you need to take advantage of that.  Ask them to write a brief testimonial and then place it in on a special testimonial page on your site.  You can link this page to your Google Maps page quite easily.  Look for the “Link to this Page” link that is found on the bottom right corner of your reviews page.  Add the link to your testimonial page and you’re done!

No one likes getting a bad review, but by following the steps listed above, you can minimize the damage it could cause.

About David

David Tucker: Search Engine Optimization, Link Building Strategies, Off-Page SEO, Brand and Reputation Management Campaigns, Structural Analysis, and Analytics Consultant. Fighting the good fight against the search engines since InfoSeek and Alta Vista were the top Internet search portals. David has a strong background in technical, design, and hosting related issues. This provides RightNow clients with a layer of SEO that most organizations can not offer. In addition to SEO work, David has developed the RightNow online client reporting system, public website, email and auto-responder system, and the development + branding of the RightNow social media channels. When not working you can find David enjoying the outdoors in Maui, Hawaii


  1. Great post. And you’re absolutely spot on when you advise the company to “bury” the negative review with positive reviews. Negative reviews plague authors on sites like Amazon — and it impacts book sales. First, you have to pull whatever useful information you can from the negative review. Can you learn anything from it that might improve your business or product? If so, consider the bad review a back-handed favor.

    More often, though, the negative reviewer is a nut who can’t be pleased — or someone you know who’s got an ax to grind or wants to pull you down a few notches. If that’s the case, call on the people who honestly love your product and ask them if they’ll step forward and recommend it. This helps cushion the negative reviews.

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