In this guide to Localsearch reviews, you’ll find:
- Best practices for submitting a review on localsearch.com.au.
- How businesses can get reviews removed from their Localsearch profile.
- Top tips for getting more reviews.
- What to do if you receive a negative review that can’t be removed.
There is no doubt about the important role reviews play in a business’s success online, Localsearch reviews included. However, many businesses and members of the public have no idea about their rights and responsibilities when submitting, receiving and trying to remove reviews.
Reviews in Australia are actually regulated by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). So, if any party involved in a review, be it the review platform, business receiving the review or reviewer is found of foul play, things can get very serious very quickly.
In this guide to Localsearch reviews, you’ll find the answers to all your queries, including the frequently misunderstood ways you can have a review removed from your business profile. Where we can, we will always aim to help you as much as the law permits us to.
Image by Mireia Pascual Molla from Pixabay
Localsearch Review Submission Best Practices
Sometimes, on a rare occasion, a positive review cannot be published. Normally this is due to the reviewer not completing the form correctly or not following a guideline.
The most common reasons positive reviews cannot be published are:
- The reviewer is clearly a friend or family member of the business staff members or owner.
- There is swearing or offensive language.
- The reviewer has submitted their full name, later emailing us to advise us they don’t want their surname online.
- Instead of a suburb or region, the reviewer has entered their actual physical address, street number and name included.
- The reviewer’s email address has been entered into fields other than the one intended for the email, which is against privacy regulations in Australia.
Please note: You cannot submit reviews on behalf of your customers. They must submit their own review using their own valid email address and name. This is due to both ensuring the legitimacy of your reviews and for search engine optimisation best practices.
Additional Localsearch review regulations for medical businesses…
On top of the ACCC regulations, doctors, dentists, physiotherapists and other medical product or service providers must also abide by medical advertising guidelines regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). This is to limit misleading information online that could be life threatening.
Reviews for a medical-related business must not mention:
- The qualifications or experience of the practitioner.
- Specific details of medical issues, treatments or outcomes.
- Making recommendations to visit the business based on specific medical treatments or results.
This also includes statements like:
- This medical professional is a miracle worker.
- I have no more pain.
- I am healed.
- I feel 100% better.
- I highly recommend Doctor X.
However, if the review is clearly stated as the opinion of a non-professional and results vary from person to person, it may be enough to allow some of the above to be published.
What to discuss in a medical business review:
- The ease of making appointments, getting to the location, parking, etc.
- Efficiency of check-in processes and waiting times.
- The general customer service of the business.
- Feeling listened to and supported in a general manner.
How to Remove a Review on Localsearch
Localsearch is one of the few review platforms in Australia with a manual moderation process. This means, you can have a review reassessed or ask for advice if you do not believe a review is compliant.
3 steps to remove a Localsearch review:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org (all requests must be in writing via email).
- In your email, include your business name and the specific review in question.
- To support your claim, please provide as much information as possible, including any screenshots or photos to support your claim.
Once received, your claim will be assessed in 1–3 business days. One of two things will then happen:
- There is enough evidence or claim to remove, to which then your claim will be moved onto management for final approval to remove.
- There is not enough evidence or claim and you will be advised it is illegal to remove the review.
A review that cannot be removed is not done so for a reason. Please understand the decision is final and made in your best interest to prevent any parties being non-compliant with current Australian review regulations.
5 Reasons You Can Remove a Review in Australia
1. The review is defamatory.
“Defamation is where a person or small business seeks damages for loss of reputation due to someone publishing or otherwise distributing defamatory material that causes others to think less of them.” — Slater & Gordon, 2020
By law, you can only make a claim of defamation if you are:
- Living (claims cannot be made on behalf of the deceased).
- A not-for-profit organisation.
- A small business with less than 10 employees.
However, it is not considered defamation if the reviewer is expressing:
- Their honest opinion, which does not need evidence.
- The truth, which does need supporting evidence.
2. There is evidence proving the reviewer was not a customer.
From time to time, a personal matter will escalate, and a friend or family member you’re disputing with will leave your business a negative review. When this happens, if you have evidence to support your friendship or relation to the reviewer, we are able to remove the review.
However, this can be tricky if the person is using an alias. In these cases, it’s best to go straight to the person and advise them you will be seeking legal advice and you recommend they remove their review.
If you were able to have them claim they will not remove their review in an email, and this email matches the one used to submit the review, this may be enough evidence to remove the review. Otherwise, if this is still not sufficient, you may wish to instigate a legal cease and desist to the reviewer.
As you will find below, not recognising a reviewer’s name is not enough reason for the review to be removed. We also cannot supply personal details of the reviewer, including the email address or IP address.
3. You are the person who submitted the review.
Anyone who has submitted a review can request for their submission to be removed at any time. All you need to do is email email@example.com from the email address you used to submit the review, advising us of the business name and your wish for it to be removed.
We will advise when your request has been processed.
4. The review does not comply with a current guideline.
Like any regulation, the ACCC review guidelines can change from time to time. For this reason, it’s worthwhile checking our guidelines page every now and then to stay up to date with what’s compliant, and what’s not.
If you have had a review in the past you couldn’t have removed, but you believe now does not meet current guidelines, you can resubmit your request. This includes if you believe the review is too vague (does not explain their dealing with your business) or if you’re a medical product or service provider with a review you do not think complies.
5. You’re the new owner of the business and have rebranded.
Some business purchases also include all their current social media and online listings, reviews, advertising and branding. This can be a good thing — unless you’re also adopting the business’s negative reviews from their past.
If you have purchased and renamed a business, you are able to request a clean slate for reviews mentioning the business by name. However, if you have simply purchased the business without re-branding, you unfortunately take on the good and the bad, and those reviews cannot be removed if they are compliant.
Top 2 Reasons You Cannot Remove a Review in Australia
1. It’s a negative review or you don’t like what was said.
Unfortunately, consumers have the right to an opinion. Of course, if you do have evidence to prove their opinion is false or misleading, we are happy to consider your case for removal.
2. You don’t recognise the name of the reviewer.
Reviewers often use an alias name. Some people don’t want their name online or others fear the business becoming difficult. Either way, it is within the reviewer’s right to use an alias.
On our end, we assess each email address to ensure it’s a legitimate submission. If the email is also fake, the submission is not published.
If I can’t remove a review, can I edit it?
Editing a review you have not personally submitted yourself is considered a form of review tampering, and is against current review regulations in Australia. In short, no, you cannot edit a review unless you have evidence you submitted it yourself.
Review tampering also includes asking us to block reviews from specific emails.
4 Tips for Getting More Reviews on localsearch.com.au
1. Ask your customers post transaction.
The easiest way to get more reviews is simply by asking for them. You could do this by adding a ‘review us’ note to receipts or invoices, having your register or customer service staff ask as part of their process or send an email or SMS post-transaction with a direct link to where they can review you.
If your staff are a little hesitant to do this, we have a great way to get them in the spirit below.
2. Add a feedback button to your email signature.
You and your staff should be using an email signature on every single email you send. In this email signature, you can easily add a link to your Localsearch business profile, where they can review your business.
3. Run a promotion with your staff.
Some people are a little hesitant to outright ask for a performance review from their customers. However, if they’re following their procedures and giving their best effort, they should have nothing to worry about.
But still, it can be daunting at first. To get your team in the habit of asking for Localsearch reviews, give them an incentive. For every review that mentions their name, maybe you give them a mark on a chart. When they receive 10 marks, they receive a gift card, early mark or a bonus store discount.
4. Embed a Localsearch review widget on your website.
There are a few different Localsearch review widgets available to help you both show off the reviews you have, and get more of them. We show you how to embed a widget in our complete guide.
3 Things to Do if You Get a Localsearch Review that Can’t be Removed
1. Contact your customer directly, if known.
Majority of the time, a review is left by someone who is feeling misunderstood or misheard. You wouldn’t believe how effective it can be to reach out to the reviewer, if you know who they are, and resolve the matter. Once they’re happy, you can ask if they’d be happy to remove their review.
If you don’t know who the reviewer is, and you have an upgraded Localsearch profile, you can request for them to contact you in your response to them.
2. Reply to the review from your business owner portal.
You should be replying to every single review you receive on Localsearch, whether it’s good, okay or bad. Remember, your responses are public, so remain as professional and unbiased as possible.
Even if the reviewer is at fault for their bad experience, do not mention it in your response. This simply makes you look just as bad. We have some tips on replying to reviews in our best practices guide.
By responding to the review, you’re not only helping to resolve the matter, but you’re allowing potential customers to see what would happen if they too had a bad experience. It shows them just how professional you can be, and will often negate the negative review, if done correctly.
Only upgraded profile holders are able to log into their Localsearch profile. If you’d like to enquire about upgrading, please let us know.
3. Encourage more positive reviews to be left on your page.
Your overall review rating on Localsearch is calculated based on all of your review star ratings. So, the more positive reviews you have, the less one or two negative reviews will impact it.
In fact, if you have all 4 or 5-star reviews on your profile, it can look a little suspicious. No one is perfect, so those couple of negative reviews could actually be doing you a favour!
If you have any questions about reviews on localsearch.com.au, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.