Help! My Google Reviews Disappeared
I had a quick question on Skype earlier this week…
“I just popped into my local listing. What happened? Most of my Google reviews disappeared!”
Unfortunately, Google reviews missing in action is a huge complaint at the moment. With all the changes going on:
- The change of review system to Zagat
- The change to Google+ Local
- Another change to the rating system earlier this month
It’s hardly surprising that Google reviews are experiencing glitches. But, the main reason for Google reviews disappearing is the tightening of the spam filter.
Review Spam Isn’t Always Spam
Many reviews are simply not making it through the filter. The consolidated thread over on the Google and Your Business Forum has been on-going since July. That doesn’t include all the posts on the forum every day about reviews not showing up.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Google are being as vague as usual over what it expects.
From various discussions and posts, what we do know is:
- Reviews that come in waves are likely to be flagged as spam – so several reviewers then nothing, then another batch. This often happens with mailshots and review promotions
- Onsite review stations were ok last year – now they’re likely to trigger the spam flag
- Links posted in the review are likely to cause the whole review to disappear
- Google reviewers need more “review trust”. Creating an G+ account, leaving 1 review for your business then never using it again is likely to be seen as spam
- Reviews that aren’t from “local” customers are likely to go MIA
Minimise The Chances Of Reviews Disappearing
There are no guarantees, so many businesses have had legitimate reviews simply not publish. So what can you do?
- It goes without saying, don’t try to game the system by buying reviews
- Don’t use a review service to enter reviews from surveys and review cards
- Don’t use on-site review stations
- Don’t encourage people to create a Google Plus account just to leave you a review
- Encourage reviews through a mobile device
- Keep asking for reviews on Google and other third-party sites such as Freeindex, Qype, Yelp and others
Google reviews disappearing isn’t a new phenomena, although it is crazy right now. It makes sense to work with your customers and accept reviews where they feel comfortable leaving them. These reviews are often seen by Google and a link displayed beneath your Google+ Local listing.
The advice? Keep asking for reviews and don’t rely on Google.
Over to you…
Have you had experience with reviews disappearing or missing in action? Leave your thoughts in the comments.