Small and medium businesses significantly rely on Google My Business reviews to promote their brand and attract new customers. Your customers want to express how excellent your products and services are for them.
But if you received a five-star review, only to find it missing a few weeks later, don’t fret. Disappearing reviews may be a drag for your business, after all, no one likes to see hard-earned reviews disappear.
To help you better understand why your Google Reviews disappear, we have outlined some of the most common reasons why this happens.
Google Spam Algorithm Removes Violating Business Reviews
The most common cause why many business owners find their Google My Business reviews missing is because of Google’s spam detection algorithm. It scours Google listings and detects spammy content, including reviews.
If you’re not sure if a review for your business violated Google’s Review Content Guidelines, consider these questions below so you can narrow down the problem. Additionally, you can also ask your SEO agency what happened. Most SEO agencies actively monitor your Google reviews and will know whether Google has released any spam detection updates.
1. Did the review include a phone number?
It doesn’t make sense to include a business number in a customer review unless it’s for self-promotion, a spam practice. That’s why Google considers contact details a major trigger for spam detection and removes the reviews in question almost immediately.
2. Did the customer attach your URL?
Just like your contact number, a page URL is another big trigger for Google Spam Algorithm.
Understandably, some users want to promote sites that deliver excellent products and services. But we highly suggest reminding your clients not to attach your URL and instead write a special review that you can include on your site.
3. Does the review have duplicates in other channels?
If Google finds the exact client review on other online channels like Yelp or Facebook, Google may remove the duplicate content or both altogether.
We understand that your customers want to let as many people know about your brand as possible. But other brands may weaponise this method for their own benefit.
To ensure each review will stay and contribute to your branding, encourage your clients to write a unique review for every website.
4. Did the customer write your review from your local store?
Some physical stores have a dedicated review station where customers can write their opinions on your products/services. But if you’re managing your Google My Business profile from the same device or network, the review may be uploaded using the same IP address.
Google’s spam filter may sound an alarm if it detects a review uploaded with the same IP address that manages the Google My Business Account.
5. Did your staff or manager write the missing review?
You typically need to indicate your Google My Business account owners and managers. So if the review came from an account included in that list, Google would see it as a conflict of interest. We highly recommend leaving your business reviews to your consumers.
6. Did you get a massive influx of reviews overnight?
It’s pretty normal for large-scale brands to have some new reviews every week. But if you’re a small to medium-scale business that gets hundreds or thousands of reviews in a significantly short period, that may trigger Google’s spam alarms.
You can also ask a small portion of your clients to submit a review and maintain a pretty realistic number. Say you want to reach out to 100 clients for a review, and half of them write one overnight. That could alert Google’s spam algorithm and crawl your reviews for possible spam content like those discussed above.
7. Do your reviews share a similar pattern or tone?
Sometimes, Google’s spam algorithm detects different reviews too good to be true and sound the same.
If your reviews have perfect capitalisation, grammar, and mention your brand in the same way or tone, Google may remove some of it for possible spam.
Keeping your reviews honest and natural means making sure not to over-coach your clients on what to write in the review. You should also avoid sending them review templates and let them submit a review in their own words.
8. Check if the reviewer deleted their reviews
Your customers can delete their Google My Business reviews at their disposal. As a brand, you need to work harder in making sure your clients will stand by their words and keep their reviews about your page.
That way, you can leverage their reviews to attract more clients in the long run and encourage new customers to leave a review to keep expanding your reach.
Did a Google My Business Update Bug Cause the Deletion?
It’s a rare case, but Google once confirmed an algorithm bug deleted legitimate reviews after an algorithm update dedicated to Google Maps reviews. While this rarely happens in a year, Google cannot help you recover deleted reviews.
In those cases, all brands, regardless of scale, can be affected by the glitch. But due to its rarity, the other causes discussed above are probable culprits of the missing reviews.
Can I Recover Deleted Google My Business Reviews?
Once Google’s spam algorithm took action and deleted the GMB review, there’s no way to get it back. The only way out of the stump is to focus more on earning honest five-star reviews in the future.
One way to do so is to ask yourself the questions we pointed out above.
Consider Backing Up Your Google Reviews
While you cannot recover deleted reviews, having an updated backup can help you skim through the before and after to find out which ones are deleted and think of possible causes.
We recommend making a weekly or monthly routine of copying new business reviews to a separate document file. As soon as you notice drops in your business reviews, you can now compare the actual review page to your backup to determine which ones went missing.
Having a few Google My Business reviews missing may not hurt your brand significantly. But it’s best to determine the root of the problem and make sure it doesn’t repeat as much in the long run.
That’s because your reviews help you bring in new clients and encourage repeat buyers to try your other products/services. Besides, performing a review audit can go a long way in making data-driven decisions for your website.
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