Google Reviews Are Not Showing and What You Can Do About It

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A lot of business owners have been noticing that they see fewer reviews by the day on their Google Business Profiles. And for a no clear reason, no less!

For many years, Google filtered reviews to some extent or another.  It was about 10 years ago that Google filtered reviews even more aggressively than Yelp did (after doing virtually no filtering before).  In March of 2020, Google temporarily halted all new reviews.  Google filters reviews far too often most of the time, with short bursts of filtering too many.

Unless this is a new bug, it is probably the start of Google’s more aggressive filtering phase.  Here is what we’ve observed so far, based on what some business owners have described:

  • Google removes multiple reviews at once – Sometimes most of them (as opposed to nibbling at 1 or 2 here and there).
  • Reviews fade over several days rather than all at once- You may lose 3 reviews one day, another 3 the next, then 5 the following.
  • Both the latest and the old reviews are getting voted off the island –  Google reviews never entirely go away and are never entirely secure.
  • Google doesn’t limit the (seemingly) increased filtering to one industry.
  • Google discards some detailed testimonials from Local Guides – There are not just the eBay-style one-liner from the customer who’s never written a Google review.

What can you do about it?

Below are some of the recommendations from our Google experts on how to deal with Google’s filter.

1. Don’t waste energy on contacting Google

Unless you mistakenly deleted or created a Google Business Profile page – which might cause the reviews being misplaced and might be transferred. Unless the reviews are on the wrong page(s), there’s nothing Google can do – the reviews are gone as a result of a bug or a replacement policy. It’s fine to contact Google merely to ping them but don’t expect any action. As usual, you’re on your own.

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2. Don’t rush and ask everyone to give you Google Reviews again

Whether it’s all at once or one by one, your Google Reviews may come back without you having to do anything. In the past, Google simply return many reviews when an error occurred. Because of this, we are not suggesting you take BIG steps such as panically asking everyone whose rating was leaked to review it again, or asking many people who haven’t rated it to quickly repeat their rating.

Those reviews might also get filtered but even worse, Google also may have more problems with your reaction than anything you did or didn’t do. This may or may not have gotten your other reviews get filtered in the first place.

This of it this way: If a swimmer seems to be drowning in a pond, don’t help anyone by jumping in if you can’t swim or have no way back.

3. Keep a close eye on your competitors’ Google Reviews

Check how many Google Reviews your competitors have. If theirs are similarly strikingly lower, then Google probably has less of a problem with what you or your customers are doing. In that case, another good news is that you haven’t lost ground to your competitors as they’re losing ratings, too.

4. Diversify where you get reviews

Try getting reviews from other sites too and not just on Google Maps. Not only is it wise to protect yourself in case Google filters your reviews or bans your GBP page but Google may also consider where else you have reviews to determine if your Google reviews are real. If it’s clear that you can get reviews from multiple sources, your Google reviews are unlikely to be motivated, coerced or fake.

5. Avoid requesting reviews all at once

Spread out your requests as widely as possible to avoid a sudden spike in the number of reviews. Google Reviews filters work more aggressively when it notices a sudden spike in ratings.

6. Ask customers to leave reviews at home

It is better to ask the customer to give the reviews at home instead of on an iPad or computer in your office. It’s okay to ask clients in person at the office. Just don’t let everyone give you review on the spot.

7. Encourage customers to leave detailed reviews

Reviews are like social proofs. The more detailed the reviews, the more convincing they are. So ask your customers to be as detailed as possible when leaving reviews. This is worth it despite risking them not leaving any reviews altogether.

However, you should not urge them to use particular phrases or terms in their reviews. That can look fake to Google and (worse) to would-be clients. Besides, if you think about it, genuine reviews from people who go into detail will usually use good search terms anyway. Quality over quantity.

Google Review

8. Don’t encourage people to upload photos with reviews, for now

If Google found a problem with photos content, customer reviews can be deleted along with the photos. You have to eliminate photos as a potential problem to isolate what’s going on with the reviews.

Review Upload

9. Try asking one customer to edit their review

Ask one customer whose review recently has been filtered to edit (or rewrite) and repost the review. Perhaps going easy with certain “keywords” or super-emphatic praise might be useful. Sometimes it might resolve whatever issue Google may have had with it and the review survives. If that works, wait some days and ask some other couple of clients to do the same. That won’t always work to get a review un-filtered,  however from time to time all it takes is a second whack.

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