Why Are My Google Reviews Missing or Disappearing?
Small and medium businesses rely on Google Business Profile 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 Business Profile 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?
Including a business number in a customer review doesn’t make sense 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’s Spam Algorithm.
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 your customers want to let as many people know about your brand as possible. But other brands may weaponise this method for their benefit.
To ensure each review stays and contributes 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 Business Profile profile from the same device or network, the review may be uploaded using the same IP address.
Google’s spam filter may alarm if it detects a review uploaded with the same IP address that manages the Google Business Profile Account.
5. Did your staff or manager write the missing review?
You typically need to indicate your Google Business Profile 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 not over-coaching 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 Business Profile reviews at their disposal. As a brand, you need to work harder to make 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.
Missing vs Delayed Google Reviews
Say you’re reading your business reviews one day, and you found a new 5-star review about your excellent customer service!
Nothing beats the feeling of getting your efforts acknowledged by your customers! But what if it goes missing the next time you check your page?
There are tons of reasons why Google reviews go missing from the page. These reviews are often hidden and removed for violating Google’s User Contributed Content Policy.
But we’ll discuss that in a later part. Nevertheless, Google stated that it doesn’t reinstate reviews that were removed due to policy violations as a means to ensure all Google reviews are trustworthy, helpful, and relevant.
You may also lose Google reviews after recovering your Google Business Profile from a suspension. You can reach out to Google for assistance with lost reviews after a reinstatement.
Why can’t I find my Google Review after writing it?
If you’re an avid customer or brand advocate to your peers, your local business may appreciate you leaving a review. But after writing a long-form review, it may take longer than expected to appear on live on Google Maps.
Google claims this issue is common with newly merged business profiles and should be resolved within a few days—considering your review meets the guidelines and quality checks.
You may have also submitted the review under an outdated app or an older mobile operating system. Consider updating your app to the latest version or switching to a different device when writing your next review, as this may fix the problem.
Did a Google Business Profile 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.
Check for prohibited content
It’s easy to dismiss this factor as it’s usually easy to spot harmful content in Google Reviews. Still, Google included a comprehensive list of prohibited and restricted content you may want to see to confirm if your missing reviews actually fit into Google’s indicators.
Google wants business reviews and user contributions to reflect genuine experiences in local businesses. That said, Google frowns upon the following content and behaviours:
- Fake engagement
This portion is self-explanatory and is the major cause of most Google review deletions. You want your customer reviews to reflect your business, and a few too many unethical reviews and hate speech can drag your brand (and Google) down.
Here are inappropriate content that Google watches out for reviews:
- Hate speech and harassment
- Offensive content (profanity, obscenity, etc.)
- Personal information
- Adult-themed content/review
- Gore & violence
- Restricted & dangerous content
- Illegal content (terrorism, child safety violation, etc.)
- Advertising, solicitation, and repetitive content
- Off-topic, gibberish, and mischief
While it’s easy for readers and users to scroll away from these reviews, businesses should proactively clear their pages and Maps profiles from this content.
Take these indicators seriously, as Google will take manual action such as suspension and account termination if a Maps user and business holder is caught harming the community and the users.
Do Google Reviews expire?
To keep it short, no—Google reviews do not expire and will stay online (until Google or the business owner gets them removed).
In your Google Business Profile, under the Google Reviews section, you can scroll through all Google reviews of your business. We mean every single one of them.
While Google has no statements about how a review’s age determines its relevancy, other it’s safe to say that its date, length, and keywords all play a role in whether a business responds or if a review is positive or negative.
In short, you can sort the reviews by Most relevant, but the feedback nature and age don’t exclusively impact relevance.
Can I Hide Negative Google Reviews?
Yes! and no.
You can have Google remove unwanted reviews, but only if they violate Google’s review policies.
Genuine negative reviews cannot be hidden by Google or by business owners.
Requesting your users to delete their bad reviews may even hurt your brand further, especially if your customer sees it as bribery and wants to take the incident out to the public.
We recommend requesting your customers to delete or edit their reviews only if you have successfully addressed their issues and positively changed their thoughts about your business.
The best (and most practical) way to hide and/or bury your negative reviews is by investing in improving your products or services and customer experience and collecting more positive reviews. Besides, negative reviews will eventually lose their relevance, especially if there’s only 1 bad review in 100 positive ones.
Can I Recover Deleted Google Business Profile 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.
A few missing Google Business Profile reviews 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 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.