How Do Google & Yelp Handle Fake Reviews?

Online reviews are essential to your business. A good review grows trust in your brand, as it shows your business offers quality goods or services. It also spreads positive word of mouth about what you have to offer, which is very compelling to consumers.

Good reviews are so valuable that some businesses go as far as faking them for their benefit. Review sites are well aware of this practice, and they’ve even developed strategies for dealing with them. Here is how two major online entities approach the subject of inauthentic online reviews.

How Yelp Deals with Fake Reviews

Yelp uses a combination of automated detection and content moderators to detect potentially false reviews. The automated detection system parses reviews to look for red flags, such as obvious bias against a competing business. User statistics are also considered, as new users with no other reviews on their profile are highly suspect. When the automated detection system flags a review, a human moderator will follow up.

If the review is deemed inauthentic, Yelp may issue a consumer alert informing users of the problem. They will also remove problematic reviews if they feel the action is warranted. Businesses can also receive a ranking penalty, which will drive down the visibility of a page.  

How Google Deals with Fake Reviews

Like Yelp, Google uses an automated detection system to search reviews for problematic or questionable content. Google uses machine-learning for efficient detection of possible red flags, such as odd user patterns or reviews generated by so-called click farms. Google also refers flagged reviews to human moderators, who ultimately decide whether they’re legitimate.

While Google also removes fake reviews, they won’t verify whether they penalize a business’s rank as a result. They reserve the right to revoke ownership of an account if a business is found to be violating their terms of service. They may also suspend the account for a period of time until they deem it acceptable to continue.

Here at, we believe authenticity is the best approach for our clients. We can help you boost your brand identity by using proven, valid practices. If you’ve experience negative reviews in the past, we can help with reputation management. We also perform ranking repair to get you back on top again. Feel free to reach out to us today to discuss your online review strategy.