13 May Google Lost My Reviews — What Can I Do?
Customer reviews on Google can make or break your business reputation. This search engine behemoth is an integral part of the customer journey, and as Google continues to refine its algorithms, business reviews on Google+ become increasingly crucial. This makes it all the more infuriating when Google reviews vanish; the all-powerful entity we strive so hard to please has betrayed us.
First let’s discuss how and why you’ve suddenly noticed customer reviews missing from your Google+ page.
Flagged Customer Reviews
Reviews may have been flagged by an active user or by a Google algorithm itself. This would sometimes remove even legitimate reviews. Unlike some sites that quarantine suspicious reviews in the ‘Non-recommended’ zone, Google straight up removes the reviews it considers spam, no questions asked.
Customer Reviews from New Reviewers
If a customer has recently created a Google profile before reviewing your business, Google considers it a solicited review and may remove it.
Reviews that conflict with Google’s review content policies:
According to Google’s User Content and Conduct Policy, any review that exhibits any of the following is unlikely to stick around:
- Resembles an advertisement
- Contains phone numbers or URLs
- Discusses off-topic content or someone else’s experience
- Appears biased or paid for by related party
- Contains illegal content
- Contains copyrighted content; infringes others’ rights
- Contains sexually explicit material
- Suggests any form of impersonation
- Contains personal or confidential information
Needless to say, Google hates phonies, so any fake reviews or spam are also violations.
With proper review management you can stay on Google’s good side and avoid those no-no’s listed above.
- Do not offer incentive publicly for customers to review your business on Google+
- Do not post reviews written by you, a friend, or an employee. If Google catches you once, it will raise an eyebrow at all subsequent customer reviews of your business, so even the genuine ones will have a tough shot at approval
- Do not use mobile kiosks in your place of business to specifically request Google reviews from your customers. Many reviews from the same IP address raise a red flag for Google and are likely to be removed. SMS or email requests sent to customer’s personal devices are a safer option.
Another word of advice – Try not to put all your eggs in one basket. Keep getting as many Google reviews as possible, but also try to stack up some business reviews on other sites. Collecting customer feedback on more than one website works wonders for your online reputation.
Can you ever get your Google reviews back?
While some major review sites frequently filter out reviews with its very strict anti-spam algorithms, Google rarely removes reviews. Therefore the select reviews Google does remove can be very difficult to recover. However, you have the option to request Google to reexamine their decision on Google My Business Help Forum. The forums are monitored by Google employees, so you have a good chance of hearing back.
To sum up…
Take control of your online reputation with a level head. Be mentally prepared to see your precious business reviews vanish. Make copies of the reviews you receive on Google, so even if they disappear, you can repurpose them as testimonials on your web site. This task is made easier by the custom review site that BirdEye has created for your business. Not only does it aggregate all new reviews from Google and elsewhere – they remain there even if removed on Google itself.
Want to learn more about the impact of online reviews and how you can them to get more customers? Check out our new e-book, “Why Online Reviews Matter”