October 22, 2021

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SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs

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Google My Business updates flag review feature

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Local SEO, Joy Hawkins, posted that Google has updated the form businesses use to “flag a review” within Google My Business as being inappropriate. The new form seems to offer additional options and a slightly updated workflow.

What is looks like. The new form now overlays on the screen and asks the business owner, “Why are you reporting this review?” Then it offers these options:

  • Off topic: Review doesn’t pertain to an experience at or with this business
  • Spam: Review is from a bot, a fake account, or contains ads and promotions
  • Conflict of interest: Review is from someone affiliated with the business or a competitor’s business
  • Profanity: Review contains swear words, has sexually explicit language, or details graphic violence or other illegal activity
  • Bullying or harassment: Review personally attacks a specific individual
  • Discrimination or hate speech: Review has harmful language about an individual or group based on identity
  • Personal information: Contains personal information such as address or phone number

A new confirmation. Google also shows the business owner a new confirmation screen after they submit the review flag. Here is what it looks like:

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What is new. Here is what Joy Hawkins noted as being new, she wrote:

  1. The descriptions below each option weren’t there before.  This is new and extremely helpful as it makes it much easier for a business owner to see which option they should choose. It also gives greater insights into what types of reviews are actually against Google’s guidelines.
  2. Previously there was only one option called “hateful, violent, or inappropriate”.  This has been split up into 3 specific ones: Profanity, bullying or harassment, and discrimination and hate speech.
  3. The personal information option is new.
  4. They also have a new page that shows up after you select the violation type which clarifies that it takes 3 business days for Google to review the request.  This was something that a lot of people weren’t aware of previously so this messaging makes it much clearer.

Why we care. This should give business owners more tools to know when they can flag a review to be removed from their Google Local listing. It should help Google expedite review removals and process the reviews much faster. Although, from my recent experience, Google can remove reviews within hours when the review is not in accordance with Google’s guidelines.


About The Author

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Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.
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